If you are feeling overwhelmed and want to get away from the crowds of busy Waikiki make a trip to Byodo-In Temple. the temple is located in the Valley of the Temples Memorial Park at the base of the Ko-olau Mountains, this temple was established on June 7, 1968. It was created as a commemoration of the Japanese immigration to Hawaii to celebrate the 100th anniversary of this event. The Byodo-In may appear to be from Japan and with good reason. It is a replica of a temple in Kyoto that dates back 1,000 years.
In English, the temple meals Temple of Equality. It is a home to a carved Buddha that’s covered in gold and is referred to as Amida. The sculpture towers over the crowds at 18 feet tall and was created by Masuzo Inui, a Japanese artist. This is believed to be the largest carved Buddha outside of Japan.
Visitors to the temple may note that they’ve viewed it before. Fans of shows such as “Hawaii Five-O” and “Magnum, PI” will recognize the structure as it was filmed for the show. Additionally, the show “Lost” pictured the temple as being the home of Sun’s father.
When visiting the temple, you’ll be asked to make a donation to support its maintenance. After this, you can ring the three-ton bell known as a bon-sho. Ringing this is said to be the way to clear your mind of evil and temptation and prepares you to enter the temple. You should also be prepared to remove your shoes.
Although the serene temple is an attraction in and of itself, the grounds and gardens which surround it are also well worth viewing. Enjoy the local wildlife such as the koi in the surrounding ponds. Black swans, turtles, peacocks, wild doves, frogs, and sparrows are all seen around the area. You can purchase fish food from the gift shop to feed the koi, which is an activity kids especially enjoy. If you have a little patience you can feed the doves and sparrows from your hand. Don’t try this with the peacocks though as they can get testy!
Recommendations for Travelers
After feeding the fish, you’ll notice that your hands still smell like fish food. Make sure to bring a small bottle of an alcohol-based sanitizer as this will take care of the scent. Mosquitoes are also present so bring or purchase a good bug spray to be protected.
You can take public transportation to the temple but it will not drop you off at the entrance. You’ll have to walk uphill through the park if you decide on this option. You can also drive but avoid leaving any valuables in your car. Break-ins can happen so be prepared.