As a tourist you do not think that there would be a hidden gem within a cemetery, but there is in the Valley of the Temples Memorial Park. The Memorial Park is located on Oahu in Kaneohe. Founded in 1963 by Paul Trousdale. A beautiful place with gardens, mountain views and plenty of bird life. The Ko’olau Mountains are breathtaking!
The hidden gem is called The Byodo-In Temple. The Temple was built in 1968 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants to Hawaii. The Temple is a non-practicing Buddhist temple that welcomes people of all faiths. You just want to soak up the beauty as well as the peacefulness and stillness of this place.
The Temple is open daily from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Admission is $3.00 for Adults, $2.00 for Senior Citizens and $1.00 for Children. Cash Only.
The Reflecting Pool (Photo by RSheridan)
The Artistry & Detail of the Meditation Hall (Photo by RSheridan)
As you explore the grounds it feels as though you stepped further into paradise and have a feeling of wanting to travel to Japan one day in the near future. I did not see any peacocks, but plenty of Japanese koi and a pair of black swans.
The Japanese koi (Photo by RSheridan)
The Pair of Black Swans (Photo by RSheridan)
The 1st stop was the Scared Bell House or Bon-sho. A 5 foot high, three ton brass bell – the scared bell. My other half decided to strike the bell with the wooden log (shu-moku) before heading to the Temple. The striking of the bell will bring you happiness, blessings and a long life. The tone of the bell was a unique experience and it helped me get to a place of calm and peace before entering the Temple. You want to cleanse your mind of temptation and evil.
The Scared Bell (Photo by RSheridan)
The 2nd stop was the Temple with the Amida Buddha who towers over 9 feet. The Buddha was created by the Japanese sculptor, Masuzo Inui. When in the Hoo-do or Phoenix Hall to see the Buddha take a look around and explore a bit. Also, look at the roof of the Temple where there are two Phoenix bird sculptures; ready to fly away. Remember to remove your shoes before entering the hall.
The Amida Buddha (Photo by RSheridan)
The Roof of the Temple with the Phoenix Sculpture (Photo by RSheridan)
Wide Shot of the Temple with Reflecting Pool (Photo by RSheridan)
Close Up Shot of the Temple (Photo by RSheridan)
Temple with Mountains (Photo by RSheridan)