If you find yourself on the island of Oahu in Hawaii, a visit to the Byodo-In Temple is a must-do experience. Nestled amidst lush surroundings, this serene temple offers a unique opportunity to introduce your kids to Japanese architecture, spirituality, and the importance of inner peace. From the awe-inspiring Buddha statue to the captivating gardens and interactive rituals, the Byodo-In Temple provides a perfect blend of education and tranquility that will captivate young minds and leave a lasting impression.
Visiting Byodo-In Temple
On our trip to Oahu Island in Hawaii, I wanted to incorporate learning along with fun. One of our stops was Byodo-In temple.
At this peaceful spot, you will be able to explore the temple, learn about Buddhist culture and Japanese culture, ring the sacred bell, meditate in the meditation pavilion, and see an abundance of wildlife.
Upon our arrival at the temple grounds, we walked across the bridge. Every one of us rang the prayer bell (also called the bon-sho which is customarily rung before entering a Buddhist temple) which is done by pulling back on the wooden log, saying a prayer, and then letting the log go to ring the bell. The tone of the bell sounds a message of deep calm and peace, cleansing the mind of evil and temptation. From there we made our way into the temple.
We explored the temple, and admired the beauty of the Buddha statue and other artifacts in the temple. Then made our way over to the fish pond and the gift store. In the gift store you can purchase fish food, which is not only great for feeding the fish but the birds as well. Just watch out for the peacocks, they are not friendly and there is a sign that warns you about them.
Inside the gift shop is also a box where you can purchase an Omikuji (A small strip of paper with written fortunes or predictions) and then following Japanese tradition tie it to the tree that is nearby.
We enjoyed the peacefulness of the property and then headed out for the rest of our day’s adventures.
What is the Byodo-In Temple?
The Byodo-In Temple is a popular landmark located on the island of Oahu in Hawaii. It is a non-practicing Buddhist temple that is a replica of the historic Byodo-In Temple in Uji, Japan. The temple in Oahu was built in 1968 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants to Hawaii.
While not an active place of worship this location serves as a serene and peaceful destination for visitors to experience the beauty of Japanese architecture and culture.
The temple is known for its stunning architecture, including its large wooden doors, curved roof, and intricate details. It is primarily made of concrete but is designed to replicate the traditional Buddhist temples found in Japan. The temple features a beautiful and ornate interior with a large golden Buddha statue, reflecting pools, and striking artwork.
The Buddha statue at the Byodo-In Temple is believed to be one of the largest sculptures created outside of Japan. Standing impressively at over 9 feet tall, this magnificent artwork is an original masterpiece crafted by the renowned Japanese sculptor, Masuzo Inui.
Surrounding the Buddha, there are 52 smaller sculptures depicting enlightened beings known as Bodhisattvas. These intricately carved figures are portrayed floating on ethereal clouds, engaging in graceful dances, and playing various musical instruments. They add to the overall artistic beauty of the temple and contribute to the serene and spiritual ambiance of the surroundings.
Where is the Byodo-In Temple?
The temple is situated bottom of the Ko’olau Mountains, in the Valley of the Temples Memorial Park. The exact address is 47-200 Kahekili Hwy, Kaneohe, HI 96744. It is about a 30-minute drive from downtown Honolulu and 40 minutes from Waikiki.
Is the Byodo-In Temple worth visiting?
Yes! If you are traveling with kids and they are used to go go go this is a great spot to add to your list of things to do in Oahu as it is perfect for the whole family. Not only is it a great spot to add some calm and relaxation to your trip but it is also a great place to have the kids learn about a different culture.
Will Kids enjoy visiting the Byodo-In Temple?
To be honest I did not expect my kids to find this spot to be overwhelmingly interesting. It is a small spot, that while beautiful and peaceful is not really filled with activities to do. Most of our travels are go go go, and this spot was a slow-down and enjoy the beauty around you type spot.
Aside from ringing the bell and then feeding the fish in the koi pond and the birds, the rest of the visit includes walking thru the temple and seeing the Buddha. However, all of the kids enjoyed the peacefulness of the temple and the temple grounds. They enjoyed walking around the temple and learning about the temple, and reading the signs that had information about the temple and its history.
Tips for Visiting
- Bring Bug spray. There is water and lots of plants which means there are bugs a plenty. You will want to keep the bugs at bay to avoid getting bug bites.
- Wear easy to take off shoes. You have to take off your shoes when you go into the temple. If you are going with young children I suggest having them wear shoes that are easy to get on and off.
- Explore the Grounds. Take your time to explore the temple grounds and the surrounding gardens.
- Participate in Rituals. Engage in the traditional rituals offered at the temple, such as ringing the large peace bell or lighting incense. These rituals can provide a deeper cultural experience and a sense of connection to the temple’s traditions.
- Arrival Time. Plan to arrive early in the day to avoid crowds and enjoy a more tranquil atmosphere. The temple is generally less crowded in the morning, allowing you to fully appreciate the serenity of the surroundings.
How much time do you need at the Byodo-In Temple?
We spent about an hour exploring the temple and the temple grounds. There are no time constraints on your visit during visiting hours.
Is there a dress code for the Byodo-In Temple?
There is no dress code when visiting the temple or the temple grounds. You do need to take off your shoes before entering the temple and the area where the Amida Buddha is located.
What is the admission fee for the Byodo-In Temple?
If you are looking for a budget-friendly attraction this is a great one. The entrance fees are $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, $2 for children 2-12, and free for children under 2.
What are the hours that the Temple is open?
The Temple Grounds are open 8:30 am – 4:30 pm daily. The last entrance to Temple Grounds is at 4:15 pm. The Temple Gift Shop is open 8:30 am – 4:30 pm daily.
How do you get to the temple?
When you arrive you will drive thru the temple cemetery and then down the road into the parking lot. Once in the Parking lot, you will see the admission booth. After getting your tickets for admission you will walk across the bridge.