From spectacular beaches to superb shopping and vibrant nightlife, there’s never a dull moment when vacationing in Hawaii. But if you are in the mood for something different then we recommend a trip to the Byodo-In Temple. To make your visit easier, we’ve compiled a definitive guide to this majestic and peaceful Buddhist temple.
Byodo-In Temple History
- The Byodo-In Temple is a Buddhist temple perched at the foot of the Ko’olau Mountains, in the Valley of the Temples Memorial Park.
- Inaugurated in 1968, it commemorates the centennial anniversary of the arrival of the first Japanese in Hawaii.
- The temple is a scaled-down replica of an 11th-century temple of the same name located in Uji, Japan.
- It’s a non-practicing Buddhist shrine and welcomes people of all faiths.
- The landmark has appeared in popular television series such as Hawaii Five-0, Magnum P.I. and Lost.
What to See and Do at the Temple
- At the entrance to the temple is the Bon-Sho (sacred bell). Take part in the Buddhist tradition of ringing the bell to purify the mind of evil spirits and temptation.
- Spend time admiring the 9-foot-tall golden Amida Buddha that dominates the main hall. And look for the two phoenixes perched on the hall's roof, which give it its name Hoo-do (or Phoenix Hall).
- Then count the 52 other statues of Bodhisattvas (enlightened beings). You’ll see them portrayed as dancing, playing music, and floating on clouds.
- Leave the temple to wander around the lush green, scenic and serene gardens. Not to be missed is the red-painted meditation pavilion, which epitomizes the tranquility of the grounds.
- A Shinji-ike ornamental pond filled with koi surrounds the temple building. You can purchase food from the gift shop and feed them. Black swans, frogs, peacocks, and turtles can also be spotted.
- Don’t forget to snap some Instagrammable and postcard-worthy shots of the temple and its magnificent backdrop of forest-clad hills.
Events at the Byodo-In Temple
- Concerts, art exhibitions, handicraft fairs, and book readings take place throughout the year.
- Ask for information at reception or check the website for the latest schedule.
Food Options at the Temple
- You’ll find two small stands that sell lunch items, snacks, and refreshments in addition to a smoothie stand.
Temple Location and How to Get Here
- The Byodo-In Temple is situated at 47-200 Kahekili Highway, on the island’s windward (east) coast and close to the town of Kaneohe.
- It’s about a 40-minute (18-mile) drive from the Waikiki Resort Hotel.
- Free parking is available at the entrance.
- TheBus public bus services run from Waikiki to the village of Ahuimanu, from where it’s roughly 15 minutes by foot to the temple.
Byodo-In Temple Entrance Fee
- General admission: $5 (ages 13-64), $4 (65+), $2 (2-12 years).
- Payment by debit and credit card only as of January 1, 2023.
- Guided tours are available upon prior request.
Opening Hours and Best Time to Visit
- Temple grounds are open daily from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm (last entrance at 4:15 pm).
- The gift shop opens daily from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, except on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. Reduced hours on Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day.
- Visit on a weekday to avoid local crowds. And try the mornings in the summer months before it gets too hot from midday onwards.
Good to Know About the Byodo-In Temple
- All visitors are required to remove their footwear when entering the temple.
- This is a place of worship, so be respectful of other visitors, especially when taking photos.
- Bring sunscreen and insect repellent.
- Service dogs meeting ADA requirements are allowed if wearing their service vests.
- Before making your way back to the Waikiki Resort Hotel, you might like to visit other attractions in the area like He'eia State Park and Ho'omaluhia Botanical Garden.