Things to do in Oahu: A Travel Guide to Byodo-In Temple (Infographic)
If you ask people about their dream destinations, it would never be a surprise if you see Hawaii on their list. This paradise state is one of the tourists’ favorite spots for many reasons. From the delicious food, clean beaches, and friendly people to various activities you and your loved ones can enjoy, Hawaii got them for you.
Geographically, the state of Hawaii counts 137 islands in the Hawaiian chain. However, there are only eight major islands, namely Hawai’i (or the Big Island), Maui, Oahu, Kauai, Molokai, Lanai, Niihau, and Kahoolawe. Each of these islands has its specialties. Speaking of which, Oahu has Byodo-In Temple.
The island of Oahu is known as the central hub of the Hawaiian Islands, which is why it earned its nickname “The Gathering Place.” Oahu is also the site of Pearl Harbor and became the center of the US Pacific fleet in the 20th century. This historical and magnificent island takes pride in itself to offer you the best of both worlds– from the luxurious greeneries to spectacular nightlife. So if you ever feel the need to relax and get away from the demanding life of the city, Oahu’s Byodo-In Temple might be the best place for you.
The Byodo-In Temple
Tucked away in the windward side of the island and at the foot of the majestic Koʻolau Mountains, the Byodo-In Temple is one of the best-kept gems of Oahu. Although the temple is just a short drive from the bustling tourist spots of Oahu, entering the temple would still give you the feeling of entering a new world. The peace this temple brings can certainly give you the time to relax and unwind. It is also advised that it would be best to visit the temple during the morning as the sun rises and casts light along the valley.
Aside from the tranquil vibe of the place, one more reason why many people visit the temple is that it also gives you the feeling of history and culture. The temple was first established on June 7, 1968. It is built as a commemorative temple to honor the 100th anniversary of Hawaii’s first Japanese immigrants. Byodo-In is a smaller-scale replica of the 1023-year-old Byodo-In Buddhist Temple of Uji, Kyoto Prefecture in Japan. The version of the temple in Oahu is a non-practicing Buddhist temple, and anyone from any religion is welcome to visit and even do meditations.
With the lush greenery and beautiful landscape of the temple, no wonder it is a haven for a wide variety of birds such as peacocks and black swans. You can even see turtles, frogs, and colorful fish like the Japanese koi carp on the premises of the temple.
A Guide to Visiting the Byodo-In Temple
Apart from the healing time you can experience around the temple, there are also the top three spots that you can check out.
Ocean View Terrace
The first spot that you should check out is the ocean view terrace in the temple. Here you can see the heart-shaped memorial garden along with the most amazing scenery you can see in the valley of The Temples Memorial Park. This 10-acre hilltop oasis was carefully designed and even consulted with a Feng Shui master. The Ocean View Terrace also sports some of the best ocean views in every garden.
During your time in the temple, you have to make sure to visit and check the Amida Buddha. The Amida Buddha is a golden Buddha unique to the entire world. With a whopping 9 feet in height, the Amida Buddha is said to be the largest figure that has been carved outside Japan. This particular piece is a work created by the famous Japanese sculptor Masuzo Inui. When the sculpture was done, it was covered in cloth and painted with three gold lacquer applications. Surrounding the Buddha are 52 more miniature sculptures that depict Boddhisattvas or the enlightened beings floating n the clouds as they dance and play musical instruments.
Before entering this sanctuary, please remember that you have to take your shoes off to show respect, as this place is a sacred place of worship for the Buddhist population.
Bon-Sho or the Sacred Bell
The Bell House, called kanetsuki-do, is also a must-see place when you visit Byodo-In Temple. The main attraction of this spot is the 5-foot-tall, 3-ton brass bell called bon-sho or sacred bell. The bell was cast in Osaka, Japan, and was made out of a mixture of bronze and tin. This bell resembles the bell that is hung in an identical bell house at the Byodo-In in Uji, Japan. The original bell was noted to be at least 900 years old.
A soft wooden log called shu-moku is used to strike the bell, and the resonant sound of the bon-sho is believed to create a serene atmosphere for meditation. Customarily, the bell should also be rung before entering the temple. The purpose of this is to spread the eternal teachings of Buddha. Also, the ringing of the bon-sho is believed to purify one’s mind of evil spirits and temptation; and it can also bring you happiness, blessings, and long life.
Aside from these three, the temple also has a mortuary, a meditation pavilion, and a tea house guest shop. The Byodo-In Temple is also not just a perfect spot for relaxation, but also you can hold events such as weddings, funerals, or even concerts here.
Indeed, the Byodo-In Temple is such a nice place to consider visiting if you are in Oahu. And if you want your Aloha trip to be more memorable, you must seek help from a local tour operator like Go Hawaii Tours.
Go Hawaii Tours is your local tour operator that embodies the Aloha spirit everywhere we go. Specializing in Oahu Tours, we can take you around the island and introduce you to magnificent places like Byodo in Temple. So if you are planning to visit Hawaii, you may check our tours on our website at www.gohawaiitours.com.