On the Eaves of Kon-do

Atop Kon-do Atop Kon-do

When facing Kon-do, if you look to the left and right corners of the roof, you will see these two figures. It is said that these figures depict Kosekiko (黄石公), the Yellow Stone Elder, riding on top of an ancient tortoise. In Japanese lore, the tortoise is believed to live for up to 10,000 years. These figures were added to the roof of Kon-do some time after it was moved to Ninna-ji and express the wish that Kon-do may stand for thousands of years just as the tortoise and Kosekiko have lived for thousands of years. You can see that the two tortoises have also taken on the role of agyō and ungyō, guardians with one mouth open for the sound “ah” and one closed making the sound “un.”