Located at the base of the Ko’olau Mountains, the Byodo-In Temple is a beautiful memorial to the first Japanese immigrants to arrive in Hawaii. The temple is a to scale replica of a nearly 1000 year old temple in Uji, Japan of the same name.
Visitors to Oahu who want to get immersed in the culture and ancient temples of the Hawaiian Islands will love spending time at the Byo-do In Temple. The Temple Is within Valley of the Temples Memorial Park and is part of a large columbarium and crematorium property. Byodo-Temple is a replica of a larger temple that is more than a millennia old and still stands in Japan.
Byodo-In Temple History
Byodo-In Temple was established in 1968 to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of when the first wave of Japanese immigrants arrived in Hawaii. The non-practicing Buddhist Temple is a smaller, to-scale replica of the nearly 1,000-year-old Byodo-In temple in Uji, Japan which is a United Nations World Heritage Site. No matter your faith, everyone is welcome to worship or meditate at the temple.
The grounds of the Byodo-In Temple are frequently used for wedding ceremonies and private events. Several episodes of the hit tv series, Hawaii Five-O and Magnum, P.I., were filmed at the temple or incorporated the temples and grounds in their plots. The temple also appeared in one episode of the TV series, Lost, during season 1.
Many visitors do not realize that the Byodo-In Temple is also a columbarium where cremated remains can be placed for eternal rest.
The Official Best of America television show awarded the temple the honor of “Best Memorial Temple in Hawaii,” two years in a row in 2017 and 2018, and in 2019 was featured by National Geographic as one of the top 20 most beautiful Buddhist Temples in the world.
In 2017, just ahead of the 50th anniversary of the temple’s construction, the temple underwent a restoration and is currently one of the Island’s most popular attractions bringing more than 300,000 visitors to the park annually. In 2020 the Byodo-In Temple was honored with being featured on a Priority Mail Stamp.
The temple is open from 8:30 am to 5 pm Daily and only closed for Christmas Day though hours are shortened on other major holidays.
Admission fees must be paid in cash only.
Byodo-In Temple Highlights
The Byodo-In Temple is the main attraction however there are several other areas of the grounds for visitors to spend time in Valley of the Temples Memorial Park.
Amida Buddha- The golden Buddha at Byodo-In Temple is the largest carved Buddha outside of Japan and stands more than nine feet tall. The statue was created by Masuzo Inui, a famous sculptor from Japan. The unique design was created by covering the statue in cloth then applying multiple coats of gold lacquer and then gold leaf as the final layer. There are 53 other smaller sculptures surrounding the Amida Buddha that depict Boddhisattvas. The statue is found in The Phoenix Hall.
Bon-Sho- The Sacred Bell is a brass bell weighing three tons that hands in The Bell House. The bell was cast in Osaka, Japan and resembles the bell that hands in the Uji Bodo-In Temple. Known for it’s unique shape and tone, the bell is said to be able to cleanse the mind of evil thoughts and temptation.
Meditation Pavilion- Found behind the Temple on the hillside, the Meditation Pavilion is a serene, outdoor pavilion that is meant for quiet reflection, prayer, or meditation in the natural elements.
Koi Pond- A Shinji-ike reflection pond filled with hundreds of koi fish surround the Byodo-In Temple. Visitors are welcome to purchase fish food in the giftshop to attract the fish to the surface. There are also peacocks, turtles, frogs, black swans, and other wildlife on the grounds that come and go from the Temple.
Tea House Gift Shop- Originally a Japanese Tea House, this building has been modified into a gift shop for the Temple and is located just left of the property. There are many unique items sold in the giftshop from ornamental items to miniature bells, Buddhas, Goddess of Mercy figures, and even Japanese wedding gowns, prints and artworks by local artists, and kimonos. Public restrooms are also located in the Tea House Gift Shop.
Byodo-In Temple Special Events
Before planning your trip to the Byodo-In Temple and Temples Memorial Park, make sure to check out their event’s page online. There are many special events that take place at the park throughout the year as well as daily events such as guided meditations, book signings, vendors, tea ceremonies, and more. Visitors should also know that funerals, burials, and memorials, are often held at the Temples Memorial Park and should be respectful of all people in the park. Weddings are also popular at the Temple.