The Byodo-In Temple nestled inside the Valley of the Temples Memorial Park looks like one of those things you see only in movies. The temple looks like it is straight out of a historical movie set, and at first glance, it seems like it is nothing but a model. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. The temple actually has quite a bit of history around it, and it remains one of Hawaii’s best-kept secrets.
Sitting at the back end of the Valley of the Temples Memorial Park, the Byodo-In Temple was originally established on June 7th, 1968 to commemorate the first Japanese immigrants to Hawaii. The Byodo-In Temple is actually a scale replica of a temple in Uji, Japan that was originally built over 900 years ago.
The Byodo-In Temple was built to represent the mythical phoenix, with its wings being held up by pillars of stone. Mythical folklore tells of the phoenix arising from the ashes to reflect the promises of hope and renewal.
The carved Buddha at the temple is thought to be the largest figure carved since the ancient times. With a height of more than 18-feet, the Buddha is quite a site to behold. The carving is an original piece done by the famous Japanese sculptor, Masuzo Inui.
The Phoenix Hall
Also popularly known as the Hoo-do, the Phoenix Hall contains a pair of legendary birds that represent good omen and Chinese origin. They can be seen perched on both ends of the roof, with their wings spread ready to fly away. The hall also reflects stability and beauty.
The Bell House, which is also called kanestsu-ki-do, contains a brass bell that is five feet tall and weighs an astonishing three tons (6,000 pounds). The Bell itself is called bon-sho, which simply means sacred bell. Originally cast in Osaka, Japan, the bell is a mixture of brass and tin. It resembles the bell that is hanging in an identical bell house at the Uji Byodo-In.
The original bell in Japan is said to be over 900 years old and to have surprisingly come from India. Ringing the bell is suppose to cleanse the mind of evil and temptation, as the sound of the bell is deeply calming and peaceful.
- The Byodo-In Temple was built without the use of any nails.
- Byodo-In Temple translates to “Temple of Equality – not to discriminate.”
- The Byodo-In is home to a golden Buddha.
- The carved Buddha has three applications of gold lacquer.
- Gold Leaf was later applied to the finished Buddha
- The bell is customarily rung before one enters the temple.
- There is a gift shop on the premises, as well as other vendors.
If you have not been able to see the Byodo-In Temple in Valley of the Temples Memorial Park, then you truly are missing out on one of the best kept secrets in all of Hawaii.
The temple has a ton of history, and you can take as many pictures as you want and walk all around the temple grounds. The temple grounds contain koi ponds, pathways and other little hidden treasures and secrets. Experience something you won’t soon forget by visiting the Byodo-In Temple at Valley of the Temples Memorial Park
Byodo-In Temple Info
- Where: Oahu, Hawaii. 47-200 Kahekili Highway, Kaneohe, HI 96744.
- Phone Number: (808) 239-8811
- Gift Shop: (808) 239-9844
- Cost: $2 per person.