One of the neat places to go in Oahu is Byodo-In Tempe. If you need an easy day with no big hikes or difficult swims, this is a relaxing place to go.
Now remember: It’s a Buddhist temple and many of the people who go there are devout Buddhists who are going to make offerings and pray. Therefore, you want to keep your voice down while you are on the temple grounds and be respectful, like you would in any church.
The temple is a replica of an ancient temple in Japan, and it was established on June 7th, 1986. The temple was commissioned to celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the first Japanese immigrants to come to Hawaii.
It’s $4 to enter, and like many places here on Oahu, you’ll need to bring cash. There are more than a few spots that don’t accept cards.
On the side of the temple you’ll often see vendors who set up and sell all sorts of beautiful works of art. If you need a souvenir for someone back home, this is a great place to get it! The temple shop also sells gorgeous art and Buddhist statues and prayer beads.
However, my favorite thing you can buy there costs $2, and it’s the Koi food. You can feed it to the swans, the koi, or the birds. The temple is a mecca of adorable life, and koi food is perfectly safe for it all.
The pair of black swans were a gift from the country of Australia. I’ve heard there is a peacock, but I’ve never seen it. Both are birds that can be dangerous though, so don’t try to chase or touch them. It’s best to throw the food to them if you want to feed them.
When no one is around and feeding them, I think the koi are fabulous to just sit and watch. They’re very peaceful fish.
Remember to keep your eyes peeled as you are walking around. The first time I was there I almost didn’t notice the turtles sunning themselves in the pond behind the temple, and I missed the frogs entirely.
Also, the flowers are different in every season and all of them are spectacular, so keep an eye out for them. There’s anthurums, hibiscus, irises, ginger, and so much more.
I recommend bringing coins to offer at the various shrines throughout the temple grounds. Even if you’re not Buddhist, it can never hurt to put some good karma into the world.
You may want to bring a few dollars for traditional offerings too like ringing the temple bell to ask the gods favor or making an offering of incense to the statue of Buddha inside the temple.
There are bathrooms behind the gift shop, so if you feed the birds, be sure to wash your hands afterwards. They are wild animals, and wild animals carry all kinds of diseases.
I let the little ones come fly into my hands because I wanted to be snow white, but that’s just me.
Byodo-In Temple in Temple valley is on the rainy side of the island with spectacular mountain views and the occasional rainbow on rainy days. There is very little parking, but in my experience you can find a spot even on a busy day. I’ve been on both a weekend and a week day, and the crowds were about the same.
As always, remember to wear sunscreen when walking around Oahu. It’s not on the equator, but the sun is harsh and you can get burned in only a few minutes.
I went with friends, but it’s definitely a place that I could see myself going alone as well. There plenty of spots to meditate and reflect a little. However if you have kids, maybe don’t bring them. A peaceful Buddhist temple is not a good place for children unless they are well-behaved. Remember: It is a church. You want to be respectful of the people who are there to worship in peace.