Valley of the Temples Memorial Park is located on the Windward (eastern) side of Oʻahu at the foot of the Ko’olau Mountains. Thousands of people from several faiths including Buddhism, Shintoism, Protestantism, and Catholicism are buried here.
Byodo-in Temple is a United Nations World Heritage Site that is over 950 years old. It is located in Uji, Japan, but here at Valley of the Temples Memorial Park, you can visit a small scale replica.
Valley of the Temples Memorial Park was established on June 7, 1968 as a way of commemorating the 100-year anniversary of the first Japanese immigrants coming to Hawai’i. It is not only a Hawai’i State Landmark, but also home to a non-practicing Buddhist temple that welcomes people of all faiths to worship, meditate, or just come and appreciate its beauty. When you visit Byodo-In Temple, you are truly experiencing one of Hawai’i’s best kept secrets.
Amida, a one-of-a-kind golden Buddha, is housed in the sanctuary hall of the Byodo-In Temple. Amida is thought to be the largest Buddha figure carved outside of Japan. He is an original work of art created by famous Japanese sculptor Masuzo Inui, and sits more than 9 feet tall with 52 smaller sculptures around him. These smaller sculptures illustrate Bodhisattvas (enlightened beings) dancing, playing musical instruments, and floating on clouds.
The hall itself is known as Hoo-do, or the Phoenix Hall. The name came to be because of the birds perched on both ends of the roof with their wings spread and ready to fly. These birds, of Chinese origin, are legendary creatures of good omen.
Before entering the sanctuary, please remove your shoes as this is a place of worship for the local Buddhist population. It is also customary to ring the Sacred Bell hanging in the bell house before entering the sanctuary to cleanse the mind of evil and temptation.
The bon-sho (sacred bell) hangs from the peak of the Bell House, called kanetru-ki-do. It is a five-foot high, three ton brass bell that, with permission of the government of Japan, was cast in Osaka, Japan from a mixture of bronze and tin. It closely resembles the bell hanging in an identical Bell House at the Uji Byodo-In, and is admired for its distinctive shape. A soft wooden log called the “shu-moku” is used to strike it. The tone of the bell delivers a calming feeling of peace and its sound travels for some distance.
The bell is customarily rung before one enters the Temple to spread the eternal teachings of Buddha. It is said that ringing this bell will bring you blessings, happiness, and a long life. The deep, clear sound of the bon-sho creates an atmosphere of tranquility for meditation.
Up the hill behind the Temple you will find the meditation pavilion. This is a place one can go for inner peace; it’s a place of serenity and private thoughts. Something you can combine with an Oahu luau, which also illustrates the rich cultural heritage of the Hawaiian Islands.
Valley of the Temples Memorial Park has also had its brush with stardom when the TV series Hawaiʻi Five-O and Magnum, P.I. featured several episodes where the Temple was incorporated into the plot. In addition, the Temple and its gardens also appeared in an episode of the ABC series Lost, and in season one as the home of Sun’s father in House of the Rising Sun
Open daily from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Admission to the Byodo-In Temple grounds is $3.00 adult, $2.00 senior citizen, $1.00 child. CASH ONLY.
Mosquito repellant recommended.
This is a solemn, religious area. Please be respectful and quiet while in the Valley of the Temples. Please remove your shoes before entering the Byodo-In Temple.