[dropcap]I[/dropcap]f you’ve watched Hawaii five-o or Magnum P.I. chances are you’ve caught a glimpse or two of the Byodo-In Temple! Curious to learn more, my family visited The Valley of the Temples Memorial Park.
What is it?
A small scale replica temple of the 950 year old original in Japan built on Oahu in 1968 to celebrate the first Japanese Immigrants. The temple is non-practicing, but welcomes all faiths to meditate, worship or reflect. It’s also a popular wedding spot.
Where is it?
Located on the windward side of Oahu in Kaneohe. Take H1 east, take exit 20a to merge on to HI63N/Kalihi St toward Likelike Highway/Bishop Museum. Continue to follow HI63N for 7 miles. Take the HI83 Kahekili Highway ramp, continue for about three miles and turn left on to Hui Iwa street. iPhone GPS took us directly to it, we just typed in 47-200 Kahekili Highway Kaneohe, HI 96744. Parking is free and there is plenty of it!
How much is it?
Admission prices are $3 adult, $2 kids and $1 senior citizen, CASH ONLY. Kama’aina and military discounts are not offered.
Here’s What We Did
We rang the prayer bell, also a replica of the original bell that resides in Japan. You pull back a log attached to a string say a prayer and let go. The sound of the bell is supposed to bring you peace and joy. We then made our way across the koi fish pond into the temple. You are required to remove shoes before entering so wearng flip flops/slippers would make that much easier than the Nikes I chose to wear. Inside the temple we lit incense with the incense sticks and matches provided. The temple is, of course, a place to be respectful as even though it is not an active temple people do still come to worship. My little one was so excited to feed the koi fish with the small bag of food a nice lady gave to her on her way out because the gift shop had already closed for the day. The koi were gorgeous colors and various sizes! Along the bank of the pond were gorgeous hibiscus in full bloom as well. There is a sign stating that the peacock are wild and not to disturb them but we unfortunately didn’t see any. However, much to our surprise a turtle also came up on the bank to say hello!
There’s also a meditation pavilion there that you could sit and relax on to enjoy the beautiful scenery. You’ll find a stream and waterfall where your kids can discover crawfish and baby crabs!
Here’s What You Should Know
The temple hours are from Monday through Saturday from 9am to 5 pm and Sunday from 10am to 5pm. Admission prices are $3.00 adult, $2.00 child and $1.00 senior citizen, cash only. I would recommend bug spray because the water attracts mosquitos and of course sun screen to protect little skin. There are porta-potties but not real bathrooms, so plan accordingly for a potty break. We definitely plan to return to the temple at an earlier time of day so we get to enjoy it more.
(Update: There are actual bathroom facilities on the grounds)
Though not something you could make an entire day of, Byodo-in Temple is an ideal spot for families looking to learn about different cultures while enjoying nature. It is simply beautiful!