Activity Finds: Windward Oahu

1) Byodo-In Temple

If you're en route to O‘ahu's North Shore take a scenic pause at the Byodo-In Temple in Windward O‘ahu. Secreted away in Kane‘ohe's Valley of the Temples, this gold and lacquer palatial place of worship is set against of a backdrop of immaculate Japanese gardens, Ko‘olau's verdant peaks and glassy koi ponds.

Commissioned as a gift to celebrate the centennial anniversary of the arrival of the Japanese culture in Hawai‘i, the non-denominational temple was completed in 1968. For those who have seen the original, the Byodo-In Temple was designed as a replica of the famous Uji temple - a 900-year-old Buddhist temple in Kyoto.

Seen in scenes from Hawai‘i Five-0 to Lost, many families pay a visit to feed the koi, sparrows and bunnies and to ring the Byodo-In Temple's three-ton brass peace bell, whose gentle peals can often be heard echoing softly throughout Kane‘ohe.


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2) Ho'omaluhia Botanical Garden

Let your day blossom with a visit to the 400-acre Ho'omaluhia Botanical Garden. Known for its lush fields, this Windward Oahu sanctuary will put your mind at ease as you soak in the fresh island air and lush flora.

Thick with hidden trails nestled below the Koolau Mountains, there is always something "growing" on at this luxurious park. Fancy a picnic or a peaceful day with your head in the clouds; this city park lives up to its name, which means "Peaceful Refuge."

Stop fishing for something to do and swim on over to the Ho'omaluhia Botanical Garden on the weekend (available from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays) for catch-and-release fishing. They provide the bamboo poles with barbless hooks and you bring the bait (fresh bread does the trick). We promise after your first catch - typically a tilapia or midas cichlid - you'll be hooked! Other activities the gardens offer include feeding the ducks, guided nature walks and even camping on the weekends.

The gardens are home to botanical collections from regions around the world including the Philippines, Malaysia, India & Sri Lanka, Hawaii and Africa. Branch out and explore the vast area either on foot or from the comfort of your car. Entrance to the gardens is free to the public from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.


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