“Valley of the Temples Memorial Park”
If you're looking to escape the crowds and the sunburn, then head to Kaneohe's Valley of the Temples Memorial Park. Yes, it's technically a cemetery, but your average graveyard this ain't. "Meditation niches" can be found hidden throughout the lush landscaping, near small waterfalls, reflecting ponds, and native plants. Wild peacocks, black swans, and hundreds of koi (some of which can live to be 100 years old!) make you feel like you've traveled from the Hawaiian islands to the island of Japan. Of course, the temple does a lot to add to the feeling of being in Japan, too. It's a recreation of the almost-1,000-year-old Byodo-In Temple in Uji-- it's a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Hawaii's slightly-smaller replica is still impressive-- and it's history is just as meaningful. It was built in 1968 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the first Japanese immigrants to Hawaii, and even though it is a non-practicing Buddhist temple, it's still the best place for meditation and reflection in Hawaii. And if you think the exterior of the Temple is pretty, wait until you see what's inside. But before you enter, you should remove your shoes and ring the bon-sho, or sacred bell. The bell is five feet tall and weighs three tons... and like the Temple, is a recreation of a bell at the Uji Byodo-In-- the original is believed to be over 900 years old, and to have come from India. It has a distinctive shape as well as a distinctive tone which has been described as "calming". According to tradition, the sound cleanses the mind of evil and temptation and promotes peace, and ringing the bell is good luck: it brings happiness, blessings and long life. Once you've rung the bell, you can head inside the Byodo-In Temple to check out the massive Amida Buddha. Thought to be one of the largest carvings outside of Japan, it's over 9 feet of gold-laquered, gold-leafed beauty, carved by a famous Japanese sculptor. And if that wasn't impressive enough, around him are 52 unique Boddhisattvas, or Enlightened Beings, dancing and playing instruments. Take a moment to really appreciate the beauty all around you, and then head to the meditation pavilion for some reflection. There's also a tea house that has been turned into a gift shop, which sells some of the most unique findings in all of Hawaii: here, they sell all kinds of things, from mini temple bells and Buddha statues to Japanese wedding dresses and prints by local artists. You won't find a more special souvenir than one that will remind you of the time spent in this happy place. - Roadtrippers The Byodo-In Temple is located at the foot of the Ko'olau Mountains in Valley of the Temples Memorial Park. It was established on June 7, 1968, to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the first Japanese immigrants to Hawaii. The Byodo-In Temple in O'ahu is a smaller-scale replica of the over 950-year-old Byodo-in Temple, a United Nations World Heritage Site in Uji, Japan. The Byodo-In Temple is a non-practicing Buddhist temple which welcomes people of all faiths to worship, meditate or simply appreciate its beauty. The temple grounds are often used for wedding ceremonies for Hawaiians or visitors from Japan. The Temple grounds are a lushly landscaped paradise nestled in a cleft of the pali and are home to wild peacocks and hundreds of Japanese koi carp. The beautiful grounds include a large reflecting pond, meditation niches, and small waterfalls. Visitors describe this destination as beautiful, peaceful, and restful.
This is another "Not to be missed" site. Beautiful throughout!
What an amazing place! I would have never known it existed if it weren't for Roadtrippers. I was literally 2 miles away and had no idea that it was there. Thank you!
truly amazing and serene I would recommend this place to anyone and everyone... GO!
One of the most amazing places I have been in America. I will come back here every time I visit Hawaii. Could stay here forever.
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