Byodo-in Temple: An Oahu Must See
The Byodo-in Temple is located in the foothills of the Ko’olau Mountains on Oahu, in the Valley of the Temples Memorial Park. This non-denominational Buddhist temple was established in June 1968 to honor the 100-year anniversary of the first Japanese immigrants to Hawaii.
A smaller-scale reproduction of a 950-year-old temple located in Uji, Japan, Hawaii’s version is built entirely without nails. The Byodo-in Temple greets all to worship, meditate, and admire its splendor. Located just outside the temple entrance you’ll find the bell house that contains a three-ton Bon-sho (sacred bell), which was cast in Osaka, Japan of a mixture of bronze in tin, and is a replica of the bell hanging in the original temple, Uj Byodo-in in the city of Uji. The special tone of the bell is revered for peaceful and mind cleansing sound and can be heard throughout the valley.
Just inside the temple hall is the Amida golden Buddha statue. The sculpture is thought to be the largest hand carved Buddha outside of Japan. The immense figure, which towers more than 9 feet, is, the original work of Japanese sculptor Masuzo Inui. After its completion, it was covered with cloth and painted with gold lacquer. The great hall is also known as Hoo-do, or the Phoenix Hall, because of a pair of legendary birds perched on both ends of the roof. Their wings are spread and ready to fly away.
The original Byodo-In Temple was built-in 998 as a country villa for the most dominant members to the Fujiwara clan, a family of Japanese regents who found power during the Heian period. In 1052, the villa underwent a transformation to a Buddhist temple.
The Hawaiian Temple’s grounds are a lavish landscape, nestled in the mountains and home to Japanese Koi carp fish that swim through the rivers and ponds and wild peacocks that roam the grounds. Many weddings, meetings and worships take place at the temple, which sees a great number of visitors from around the world from all faiths participating in its traditions.
The Byodo-In Temple is a Hawaii State Landmark and has been described by visitors as a serene place of beauty, peace and tranquility. The most convenient way to visit the temple is to join a professionally organized tour of the Oahu island.