Nuuanu Pali Lookout
The Nuuanu Pali Lookout is a perennial favorite stop among visitors to Oahu. The panoramic views of the Windward side of the island from this expansive cliff will blow you away. Nuʻuanu Pali is a section of the windward cliff (pali in Hawaiian) of the Koʻolau mountain located at the head of Nuʻuanu Valley on the island of Oʻahu. Today, it offers one of the best panoramic views of the windward (northeast) coast of Oʻahu. A main highway (Hawaii State Highway 61) connecting Kailua/Kāneʻohe with downtown Honolulu runs through tunnels bored into the cliffside.
The Nuʻuanu Pali State Wayside is a lookout above the tunnels where visitors are treated to a panoramic view of the Oʻahu's windward side with sweeping views of Kāneʻohe, Kāneʻohe Bay, and Kailua. It is also well-known for strong Trade winds that blow through the pass, forming a sort of natural wind tunnel. It was here in 1795 that King Kamehameha and his warriors defeated the O'ahu armies by sending them over these steep, forested cliffs and claiming his victory and uniting the Hawaiian Islands. The breathtaking sight and the gruesome history of the battle fought here is enough to cause a chill to run up your spine.
From this vantage point you can see Kaneohe Bay, Chinaman's Hat, and Hawaii Pacific's Windward Campus.
* Open 9am-4pm daily, weather permitting
* Admission is Free
* Ample, free parking
* Remove hats and headgear due to gusty winds
* Hold children's hands due to gusty winds
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The sky begins to darken as storm clouds drift in from Kaneohe Bay. Just ahead lies the Byodo-In Buddhist Temple, a beautiful replica of the original 900 year old structure in Uji, Japan. Nestled against a backdrop of tall green cliffs and landscaped with traditional Japanese gardens, the temple is home to a variety of animal species, from regal peacocks, black swans and koi fish to cats, chickens and at least one plucky Mongoose. As we approach the temple an ornately cast three-ton brass bell beckons passers-by to sound a message of calm and peace...
In the midst of the main hall sits a nine foot tall Amida Buddha in a state of meditative repose. Gilt from head to toe in gold and lacquer, it is the largest wooden Buddha to have been carved in over 900 years. The hall itself is spectacular in it's own right. Known as the Phoenix Hall or "Hoodo" in reference to the pair of Phoenixes stretching their wings across the temple ceiling, it is an intricately carved and ornately painted interpretation of Amitabha Tathagata's heavenly palace in what was known as the Pure Land.
As I cross over a tiny bridge and back into the modern world, I take one last glance over my shoulder and find myself enlightened...
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Chinaman's Hat, also referred to as Mokolii ("little lizard"),is a tiny island off of Kaneohe Bay in Hawaii. It is a 12.5 acre, 206 foot tall basalt island one-third of a mile offshore of Kualoa Point. Geologically, it used to be connected to Oahu before erosion cut it off. It is also known as "Chinaman's Hat" for its likeness to the straw hats Chinese immigrants wore.
The island's eponymous profile is well-known from numerous vantage points on Oahu's windward coast, and its image graces many a calendar and coffee table picture book about Hawaii. But its real attractions are accessible only to those who take the trouble to visit it. By far the best way to get to Chinaman's Hat is by walking across the reef. The island sits a few hundred yards off the Kualoa Point State recreation Area, a popular park reachable by car or public transportation via the Kamehameha Highway, the main road circling Oahu.
Once you get to Chinaman's Hat, you have two basic options: circle around the island to the small beach, or climb the steep volcanic cone for an unmatched panorama of the windward coast and the Koolau mountains that form the spine of Oahu. Families with little children might forgo the climb and head around the island to the beach at the back, but nearly everyone else should make for the summit.
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Officially designated State Route 61, this scenic highway runs from Kailua to Honolulu.It is the main highway connecting downtown Honolulu, Hawaii with windward O‘ahu. From downtown, it traverses up Nu‘uanu Valley and the residential neighborhood of Nu‘uanu, passes through the Nu‘uanu Pali Tunnels, and descends to the major windward communities of Kāne‘ohe (reached by Kamehameha Highway, State Route 83) and Kailua.
The current Pali Highway is actually the third roadway to be built here. The original Pali "highway" went along much of the same route and portions of the old road still exist, although closed to vehicular traffic. When the current Pali Highway and its tunnels opened, the original roadway was closed and is now used by hikers. The Old Pali Highway, as it is now called, is noted in the popular culture of Hawai‘i for being a place with strong spiritual connections. Many "ghost stories" have settings along this old highway. The road is covered with nature tree tunnels and has many creeks flowing along side.
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Visit the Byodo-in Temple
The temple is situated at the Valley of the Temples Memorial Park which was established in 1968 to commemorate the first Japanese immigrants to Hawaii. The temple was built entirely without the use of nails. Supposed to be a scale replica of a temple at Uji, Japan that was constructed over 900 years ago. It is situated against a back-drop of tall cliffs and is landscaped with traditional lush Japanese gardens and koi ponds.The garden surrounding the temple, is believed to be the largest ever built outside of Japan.
Inside the Byodo-In Temple is a golden Buddha towering more than 18 feet. It is thought to be the largest figure carved since ancient times.
Beside the temple is a 5-foot high, three-ton brass bell called bon-sho (sacred bell). It is revered for its distinctive shape and the tone of the bell sounds a message of deep calm and peace. It creates an atmosphere of tranquility for meditation. A soft wooden log is used to strike the bell. It is customarily rung before one enters the temple.
* Open 8:30am - 4:30pm daily
* Admission to the Byodo-In Temple grounds is $2 per person
Geez! For a guy who is not a home and garden type of guy, i am sure starting to put a lot of garden tips on my pages. i am starting to scare myself.
Haiku Gardens could easily go on the OFF THE BEATEN PATH list, since it is really a place that few visit while in Hawaii. Especially since it is tucked away in small Kaneohe.
I grew up playing in Haiku Gardens since it is just up the street from my house. We use to play hide and seek in the gardens all the time. Anyways enough with the memories.
You really feel like you are in the middle of the jungle when you are in this botanical gardens. Its tucked right near the Koolau mountain range in a small valley which collects so much water that it makes the gardens lush and green.
Theres a beautiful pond that you can walk out over, and it also makes a great place for people getting married, since they do have the facilities.
For more info on the gardens, visit their wedding page. HAIKU GARDENS WEDDINGS
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Valley of the Temples
Granted, its a cemetery, but it has great views of the Koolau mountains and a cool Buddhist temple. Entrance to the main grounds is free, but for the buddhist temple there is a $3.00 fee.
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