The Byodo-In Temple is a non-practicing Buddhist temple which welcomes people of all faiths to worship, meditate or simply appreciate its beauty. Located at the foot of the lush Ko’olau Mountains in Valley of the Temples Memorial Park, it was built in 1968 to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the first Japanese immigrants to Hawaii. The Byodo-In Temple in O’ahu is a smaller-scale replica of the over 950-year-old Byodo-in Temple, a United Nations World Heritage Site in Uji, Japan.
The Bell House contains a five-foot-high, three-ton brass bell, called bon-sho (sacred bell), cast in Osaka, Japan. It closely resembles the bell hanging in an identical Bell House at the Uji Byodo-In. The original is said to be more than 900 years old and to have come from India. It’s customarily rung before entering the temple to bring the ringer happiness, blessings, and a long life.
The Temple is home to Amida, an immense 9-foot golden Buddha. This area is popularly known as Hoo-do, or the Phoenix Hall, because a pair of the legendary birds of good omen perched on both ends of the roof with their wings spread to symbolize stability and ready to fly away.
The meditation pavilion is located up the hill behind the Temple. It’s a good place to sit in the shade for private thoughts and inner peace away from the chaos of our world.
The Temple grounds are a lushly landscaped paradise nestled in a cleft of the pali and are home to black swans and hundreds of colorful koi fish. The beautiful grounds include a large reflecting pond, meditation niches, and small waterfalls. I would describe this Hawaiian landmark as beautiful, peaceful, serene and one of Hawaii’s best kept secrets.
The Byodo-In Temple, its grounds, and Valley of the Temples Memorial Park are privately owned property and photography on the premises requires the purchase of a photography permit. Also, the Temple currently undergoing a massive restoration, so I am sharing their photos.