Saturday, March 3, 2012

Other Gardens: Byodo-In Temple in O'ahu

by aleks
3/1/2012 • Byodo-In Temple in O'ahu

Traveling or visiting  anywhere I'm naturally drawn to gardens, especially if they have some local or native characters;  among all the gardens the Japanese, Buddhist or Shinto  themes get my instant attention, so when my husband mentioned the Byodo-In Temple during our present visit to Hawaii Islands, I was ready to go in no time.

3/1/2012 • Gardens in Byodo-In Temple in O'ahu: Black swans and koi

The Byodo-In Temple in O'ahu is a replica of a 900-year-old Buddhist place of worship at Uji in Kyoto prefecture of Japan.  Surrounding the temple are large koi ponds that cover a total of two acres, and  around those ponds are lush Japanese gardens set against a backdrop of towering cliffs of the Ko'olau mountains.

From wiki: [...]
Byodo-In Temple is a half-size-scale replica of the Byodo-in Temple, a United Nations World Heritage Site near the ancient city of Kyoto, originally a monastery founded by Fujiwara no Yorimichi in 1052 of the Heian period. It was famous for its Dainichi Nyorai statue.. The statue was lost and replaced in 1053 with a large wooden statue of Amitabha (Amida Nyorai), a national treasure of the Empire carved by the Japanese artisan Jocho. Amida Buddha stands in the midst of the Phoenix Hall or Hoodo, an artistic reproduction of Amitabha Tathagata's Western Pure Land. It is called Phoenix Hall in reference to the two phoenixes stretching their wings upon the temple roof. 52 wooden images of Bodhisattvas surround the Amida Buddha, dancing and playing musical instruments on floating clouds.
Since 2001, Byodoin Temple has undergone restoration that will continue through 2007 in the spirit of preservation of Japan's ancient heritage.

3/1/2012 • Gardens in Byodo-In Temple in O'ahu: feral cat on the headsone

On the ponds we saw black swans and variety of local birds in the most serene surroundings.  There is a cemetery right outside of the temple,  and when we drove in we saw a feral cat (I understand cats are NOT pets in Hawaii), making himself completely comfortable on one of the headstones.
P.S. Sorry for this post being somewhat scarce and insufficient: the internet connection from the middle of the Pacific Ocean is intermittent and not quite reliable. Aloha.


  1. I love the photo of the black swan-such a color contrast with all the koi! Thanks for thinking of your readers while you're on vacation!

  2. mmm, I am green with jealous of you being in Hawaii in February with your loving husband. :P

    It seems that the Hatakeyama family has a magnificent grave. By the way, where did you hear that "cats are NOT pets in Hawaii"? According to the Hawaii Cat Foundation, Hawaii has a cat overpopulation problem but I doubt that people in Hawaii not considering cats as pets.

  3. hello, Lynnda - you have been here, i know; so did you see the temple? it wasn't on any 'must see' for tourists list, but then who puts cemeteries on such lists, even if cemeteries are 'inter-faith' they just don't make such lists... not sure how my husband learned about the temple, but i'm glad he did - it's a magnificent place with . Nat S., who is here visiting her family told us (over fancy drinks in waikiki) about a few other 'out of the way' wonders - oahu is a really such a treasure, i would never guess it from the standard write-up. i took some pics of honolulu airport - japanese and chinese gardens there! a post coming soon :)

    hello, Keiko - your sense of humor cracks me up, thanks!:). well, many years ago, when we visited kauai, we were told not to feed cats, for they are all wild and NOT pets (we fed them anyway). same seem to be true about oahu: cats everywhere, skittish, belonging to no one and tearing the garbage out at night. Hawaii Cat Foundation?!!! i better look this place up, sounds like my, out of the way system of touring...

    anyway, Unit 86 should have a field trip to the islands, soon, what do you, docents, think? i promise it would be educating, grin:) will take it up with Monzie of ed. committee.

  4. I am green with envy, it was too cold here for me to even attend the annual Shinto blessing yesterday! BTW the Hawaiian Islands are extremely isolated and a number of ground nesting birds evolved there in the absence of significant predators. Most of these species are endangered or already extinct due in part to the introduction of cats thus the current problem with pets and feral cats. Field trip yesssssss:)

  5. hi rpacht, yes, field trip might be necessary: i discovered a few more buddhist temples on the islands:)...

    read a fascinating article about nene geese reintroduced to hawaii from the near extinction 50 years ago, after 70 years of absence. the human activities nearly offed the nenes, so some british wildlife biologists bred them and sent back 35 british-borne birds, in care of british scouts who carried them in cardboard boxes up to haleakala crater in 1962. the scouts my be old now, but the geese are safe , almost 2000 of them today.

    it's a whale migration time on the islands now; while reading on the subject i accidently found out why the waters here are so clear and azure: it's because they are nearly nutrient-free, due to yes, extreme isolation, so the poor whales are 'on a diet' so to speak, while giving birth. news to me, but i'm sure you already knew that, Robert, dear marine biologist:).

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