Visiting the Byodo-In Temple in Oahu
Looking for a change in scenery while on your Hawaiian vacation? I know that might sound strange, but what if you wanted to switch it up from your regular beach day to a sightseeing day activity? The Byodo-In Temple is located in the lush Ko’olau Mountains and is the perfect change of pace giving you a relaxing place to unwind and take in the beauty around you. It is a non-practicing Buddhist temple which welcomes all faiths of people with just a small donation fee to enter (well worth it if you ask me). Scott and I found pictures online of the bright red temple nestled in the mountains and couldn’t resist not checking it out. With it’s lush environment, meditation spots, and giant pond this temple is an awesome place to experience and take pictures to show your friends and family what a sight it is!
How to get there
Entering the Byodo-In Temple in any search engine will pop up the directions but just to make things easier I’ll put the address here.. 47-200 Kahekili Hwy, Kaneohe, HI 96744
If you’re coming from Honolulu, expect a quick, scenic drive over to the east side of the island, which will lead you to a giant Hawaiian cemetery where the temple is located. You will have to talk with a guard letting them know that you plan on visiting the temple and he will gladly direct you to the parking area for the temple. Be prepared for lots of people during this outing. We noticed a lot of tour buses in the parking lot, so getting there right when it opens will ensure a more intimate experience at the temple. There is a small shack where you must pay to enter, pretty inexpensive, and all money goes towards maintaining the beautiful property. After you pay, all that’s left is crossing a beautiful bridge that leads you to the heart of the temple grounds.
What to expect
Being that we arrived about mid day, we were greeted by plenty of other tourists during this outing. We wanted to take some photos to document our travels, so getting solo shots of the temple was very hard to not have people in the background. Regardless, we still found some time alone to get some nice pictures here 🙂 The most prominent thing about the temple is the giant pond right in the middle of the grounds. There are many types of birds on the property and my favorite was the black swans gliding on the water. Another really interesting thing was the amount of koi fish in the pound, it seemed like hundreds and hundreds of them were swimming around trying to get some fish food that people were tossing into the water.
After checking out the pond areas, we wanted to take a peak inside the temple. The temple itself had huge doors that were propped open for people to come inside and pray to a giant Buddhist statue. I took sometime to light some incense and listen to the enchanting music playing in the background. It was a very enjoyable experience getting a taste of a culture I don’t know too much about. After exiting the temple, Scott and I walked around the grounds some more, admiring some of the solemn meditation lookouts and were intrigues by a giant gong that you could walk up and ring for yourself. I wanted to try it out for myself, so I went up and grabbed the rope and banged the gong proudly for everyone to hear 🙂
Our entire experience here was so delightful, I would definitely recommend this to someone who is visiting the island solo or with a family because there really is so much to see and experience on this calming property. Depending on the time of year and just the time of the day, there are lots of special events and workshops they offer as well, so double check online before coming so you don’t miss out on anything fun! Walking around and taking it all in took about an hour and if we wanted to stay longer we could have, but we had plans for lunch so we left about an hour in. Visiting this spot is super unique and something different to experience on the island of Oahu. Some advice we can share with you that might make the most out of your day is planning a trip here and then heading to the Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden afterwards. They are pretty close to each other, about 15 minutes apart, and make it easy to make the most out of your day exploring the eastern part of the island 🙂 We hope you enjoyed this blog post & stick around for more awesome spots while traveling to the beautiful island of Oahu.