There are roughly 110, 000 Japanese natives living in Hawaii. With such a large presence, it is no surprise that Japanese culture is deeply ingrained into the Hawaiian way of life, to include traditions, cuisine and even architecture. There are actually several Japanese/Buddhist temples scattered across the islands (like the Jodo Temple and Daijingu) but the most prominent of them all is Byodo-In. 

Byodo-In is an authentic Japanese temple located in the mountains of Oahu, right next to a vast memorial site known as the Valley of the Temples. It is a replica of Kyoto’s Byodo-in Temple, and while it is not an active Buddhist site, it does attract visitors of many different denominations. In 1968, the temple was constructed to celebrate the 100 year anniversary of Japanese immigrants in Hawaii, and since then it has become a popular attraction for tourists and locals alike. 

The drive through the valley towards Byodo-In is super scenic; the strikingly red complex is nestled in the montains, giving it a truly otherworldly and exotic feel. While the grounds themselves are not that large, they do house an array of unique features. Standing at its center is a large bronze statue of Buddha that is adorned with offerings and personal mementos from visitors. Across the rock garden is a lake brimming with koi fish which you can feed (although you’ll have to buy feed from the temple site). Next to the lake is a small cafe that sells colorful drinks like pineapple smoothies and iced coconut concuctions. Lastly, you can memoralize your visit with various knick-knacks at the temple gift shop. 

Overall we had a very pleasant experience at Byodo-In — it reminded us of Japan and was definitely a pleasant surprie upon our arrival in Honolulu. For more information about Byodo-In, visit: https://byodo-in.com

Transportation: The site can be easily accessed by car, and I even spotted some tour buses nearby.

Price: Two-five dollars 

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