While most sights on the island of Oahu are located in an urban setting, the Byodo-In temple is a Buddhist sanctuary backed by the Ko’olau Mountains. Located in Oahu’s “Valley of Temples”, the Byodo-In temple is only ten minutes from the town of Kaneohe and is a peaceful escape from the fast pace of city life.
Modeled after the 900-year old Boydo-In temple in the Kyoto prefecture of Japan, the temple on Oahu is a popular place for events and weddings where Buddhist communities from both Hawaii and Japan come to celebrate together. Although the Byodo-In temple is not a practicing temple, visitors are welcome to tour the grounds in exchange for a nominal fee.
More than just well-manicured grounds and a replica of Japanese architecture, the temple is also home to a golden Buddha which is believed to be the largest of its kind carved outside of Japan. Measuring over nine feet tall, the carving is covered in gold lacquer and is rung by 52 smaller Boddhisattvas who all celebrate around the base of the Buddha.
The temple is also home to a three-ton brass bell which was cast in Osaka, Japan, and it’s reputed to mirror the original bell which hangs in the original Japanese temple. Or, if you simply want to collect your thoughts, there is a meditation pavilion towards the back of the temple as well as a reflection pond which is stocked with hundreds of koi.
The Byodo-In temple a testament to the island’s Japanese community, and it’s a calming respite from the fast-pace of city life which grips Hawaii’s most populous island. Despite the fact the temple is mere minutes from a major town, a walk around the temple grounds still manages to feel like a journey to a different place and time.