Palaces / Temples, Oahu
Please don’t skip this place if you have 2 – 2,5 hours to spend on the Royal history of Hawaii. I found it really fascinating. This place is dedicated to the Kalakaua dynasty, King David Kalakaua and his sister, and the last monarch of Hawaii, Queen Liliuokalani.
The palace is well preserved with squeaky clean floors. Each visitor gets funny shoe covers which have two purposes, first keeping the floor clean, second polishing it daily by hundreds of tourists.
Once shoe-covered you’ll be given an audio set with a great story that will guide you through the rooms of the palace. These are not a boring set of facts and figures, standing in front of each and every room you’ll be hearing in your headset words like “Imagine you’ve been invited by the King to one of his famous festivities…” before you know you’ll be standing in front of another royal hall imagining what it was like when the palace was inhabited by royalty.
And, speaking of facts and figures, Iolani palace claims lots of “first to” or “the only” lines. King Kalakaua is the first monarch to travel around the world. Iolani is the only Royal Palace in the USA, it got electricity years before the White House and even the Buckingham.
Liliuokalani, successor of Kalakaua, was imprisoned in this palace for almost a year and the exhibition tells a great story about the event.
In the basement there’s a small museum featuring jewelry, coats of arms, royal clothes, furniture, and even tableware.
I won’t continue spoiling the fun, if you’re in Honolulu go and see it yourself.
This is not just another church, this is the very first church of Hawaii! It’s located right across the street from the Mission Houses so it’s not hard to guess who built this church.
There are quite a few unique facts about the building and the area around it. Well, first it was built entirely of coral blocks that were brought from the ocean.
Second, look at the fountain on the King Street’s side of the building. It was a spa once and was used by Royalty for both bathing and baptism.
Next to the church there’s a small mausoleum, it’s a burial place of the first elected king of Hawaii.
The main entrance is usually closed, but the back door is always open and you can explore the interior, decorated with portraits of royal families’ members.
The cemetery on the back yard is a significant historic place as well, since missionaries and their family members are buried there.
Names that are mentioned during the tour of the Mission Houses are found on many of the tombstones.
And on Sundays, if you’re interested, you can attend a service in Hawaiian language, another unique experience.
What a great place, going there I knew that it supposed to be very special, but I didn’t expect it to be so peaceful, inviting, and relaxing.
Byodo-in is a replica of an almost century old Temple in Kyoto area, Japan.
The only thing that may “disturb” you unexpectedly is the huge, bronze bell which is hit 3 times with a massive hammer, by almost every visitor. It’s a tradition that people make Buddah hear them before entering the Temple. The Lotus Buddha inside is very impressive; who would believe it’s made of wood! When going inside please take your shoes off, to respect the sacred place.
Definitely walk around; the coy ponds are the funniest thing. You should see the fish swimming one on top of another creating an orange-red mass that is begging for food. No need to feed them, by the way, when you’ll see the size of some of them you’ll understand that they eat better than some human beings. Everything seems to be in perfect harmony is this place. If the described above wasn’t enough imagine huge green mountains as a background, they look almost like giant fingers that run all the way down to the valley. Remember Jurassic Park? This is exactly what you’ll see.
A structure outside the Iolani Palace is not just a lovely terrace; it is actually the coronation pavilion for both Kalakaua and Liliuikalani.
Ironically, King Kalakaua had his official coronation 8 years after he was elected Hawaiian monarch.
It was placed by the palace in 1920, after removing it from its plrevious place where it was facing the King’s street. The King Street got its name at the time of Missionaries’ arrival to the island. While mission houses and the church were built king Kamheamhea used to pass by in his carriage to show his presence to the newcomers.
There’s so much interesting history to this island. 3 weeks weren’t enough to learn it all.
Queen Emma's Summer Palace is ideally located at the top of a mountain where the tradewinds blow through open windows, cooling the structure from one end to the other.
This 3,000 square foot home was actually purchased by John G. Lewis, then sold to Queen Emma's uncle, John Young II. It was prefabricated in Boston and placed on the property in 1848. When Queen Emma inherited it, this two bedroom home was the family getaway. (Emma was King Kamehameha the IV's wife).
A guide conducts you through rooms which are spacious and airy, highlighting special family pieces, such as Prince Albert's canoe-shaped cradle. The royal family must have found relief from their responsibilities in the peace and quiet of this mountain top.
This structure was rescued by The Daughters of Hawaii in 1913 before it was demolished. After renovations, it was opened for public viewing in 1915.
In the yard, huge monkey pod trees offer shade and mango trees drop their fruit outside the door. A gift shop and rest rooms are located on the premises.
Open daily from 9am-4pm; the cost $6.00 less for children. No pictures were permitted inside the palace. The palace was once called Hanaiakamalama.
This temple is a replica of one in Kyoto Japan. The grounds are lovely with peacocks, koi in the pond, a large temple bell, a Buddha, gift shop, and restrooms. It is a really nice stop.
You will have to pay to enter the Memorial Park, but the fee is not much.
If you choose to take a day away from the sun and beach and haven't been to Japan, it might be interesting for you to visit Oahu's Valley of the Temples, the highlight of which is the Byodo-In. The Valley of the Temples is essentially a cemetary that allows the burial of people from many diverse religious traditions -- not a surprise given that Hawaii probably has the greatest religious diversity of any state and certainly the most Buddhists. One nice thing about this is that intolerant religious zealots have a hard time winning converts here. Another good thing is the presence of temples like Byodo-In, which is the replica of a similar temple in Uji, Japan (well, almost a replica -- the Oahu version is constructed mostly of concrete vice wood in deference to the Windward Side's rainfall). Just like in Japan, the Byodo-In has a raked sand garden and carp pools. But if you've been to Kyoto, you might not find this place very exciting. And, despite it's location, it's not off the beaten path -- several tour busses disgorged passengers during my visit with my local friend Ray, who claims that the temple's peacocks often show up in his brother's back yard!
P.S. If misquitoes like you, you may want to bring some repellent!
The Byodo-In Temple is a replica of a 900 year old temple in Uji Japan and it was built to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants to the island. The temple was built to resemble a phoenix which symbolizes hope and renewal.
The main room is known as the Ho-o-do which houses the image of Amida, the Budha of the Western Paradise. The Amida was carved by a Japanese artist and is the largest carved in over 900 years. He is seated on a lotus flower and measures over 18ft. It is quite an impressive Budha.
You will also find a sacred bell which weighs three tons and is said that "ringing the bell will cleanse the mind of all evil tempations through its listening tones". There are a few wonderful ponds with plenty of Kois and plenty of birds as well.
You will feel an inner peace and tranquility while you are visiting the temple, take your time to savor the beauty and serenity.
When the Iolani Palacer was completed in 1882, it was the 'architectural marvel' of its period.
Not only did it cost the vast sum of $360,000, but it boasted all of the modern conveniences of the day--indoor plumbing, telephones, electric lights and hot and cold running water--amenties the U.S. White House didn't have!
The palace was home to the last two Hawaiian monarchs, King Kalakaua and Queen Liliuokalani. When the monarchy was overthrown in 1893 it was used as the capitol. In 1963, when Hawaii became a state and after a new capitol was constructed, restoration began on the Iolani Palace.
Docent, Richard McWilliams, conducted us through the palace on our 10:15 am tour. He noted the main stairway, created of Koa Wood and brought back to it's original beauty.
I was impressed with the Throne Room, whose upholstered thrones, though somewhat faded still bear their original covering. They were considered sacred once the royalty sat upon them!
The basement held the kitchen and an interesting display of royal artifacts, such as Kahili (royal feathered standards), ceremonial hair necklaces, vintage photos and the state China service.
pic #2 Guard barracks (1870), now ticket office, restrooms, etc.
pic #3 Children's Polynesian dance group
pic #4 The Royal Hawaiian Band
FYI: The Royal Hawaiian Band performs on the grounds each Friday from 12N-1:00 p.m. and on Sundays at 2:00 p.m. Bandmaster Michael Nakasone is the conductor of this 35 member band. The Royal Hawaiian Band was founded by King Kamehameha III in 1836.
Reservations are recommended. No photography is allowed inside the Palace.
Iolani Palace is definitely worth a couple hours of your time. Not only is it the only royal palace on U.S. soil, but it offers a fascinating glimpse into a tumultuous time in Hawaiian history (though the glimpse has a monarchical tilt to it).
Iolani Palace was bulit in 1883 by King Kalakaua, in hopes that a show of grandeur might ease the imperialist pressures his government was feeling. And, though not palacial in size, Iolani palace had cutting edge technology that made it a world marvel, such as running water and electric lighting (this was before even the White House or Buckingham Palace had it. It was so early in the history of electricity, in fact, that he didn't have light switches -- power was tirned off by a royal memo sent to the generator people). Here in this palace occurred the last intrigues of the Hawaiian monarchical period, which eventually resulted in a business community coup and, finally, annexation by the United States. It's quite probable that the opulence of this palace accelerated the monarchy's decline due to the strain it put on the kingdom's treasury.
If you get to the palace in the morning, you can get a docent to lead you on a tour. I ended up with a recorded tour because I showed up later, and this was adequate, though I would have prefered the interaction I could have had with a docent.
Valley of the Temples is located on the Windward side of Oahu, tucked away against the Koolau Mountain's in Temple Valley.
The temple is a replica of the 900 year old Byodo Temple in Uji, Japan. Surrounding the temple are beautiful Japanese gardens, and giant Koi ponds.
Inside the temple you will find the Lotus Buddha, which is said to be the largest wooden carved Buddha in the last 1,000 years. It is covered in Gold and Laquer.
Also at the temple, is a 3.5 ton brass Peace Bell. Anyone is free to ring it, it rings symbolizing calm and peace.
8:30am - 4:30pm
$2 per person
Historically, this is one of the most important and interesting places in Hawaii. In the beginning this spot was planned to be the burial site of King Kamehameha IV and Queen Emma’s son, Prince Albert who died at the age of 4 and was their only son. Then, a year and a half later the king himself dies of asthma. It was decided to bury him beside his son, at the Mauna ‘Ala.
Later Mauna ‘Ala became Royal Mausoleum and all the Hawaiian Monarchs were brought here for their final rest. Only two kings are not buried here: Lunalilo who insisted to be buried at the Kawaiahao Church (right by the Mission Houses) and Kamehameha the Great whose burial place is unknown, following the local tradition of Hawaiian royalty his body was hidden and no one knows where.
From our guide at the Queen Emma’s Palace I have learned that Mauna ‘Ala is the only piece of land in the Hawaiian islands that does not belong to the United States. This is why only the Hawaiian flag is present at the Royal Mausoleum, while anywhere else you’ll always find the American flag as well.
It will take you no more than half an hour to see all the tombs. Once entered, on your left you will find the Kamehameha dynasty tombs and the entrance to the underground crypt will be on the right, hidden. The crypt belongs to the Kalakaua dynasty, its gate is always closed but you can see the site through the iron bars decorated with golden coats of arms.
Getting there is quite easy, if you don’t have a car just take bus #4 from Honolulu downtown and get off at “Nuuanu & Kawananakoa Place”.
IOLANI PALACE WAS THE HOME OF OUR LAST RULING KING AND QUEEN OF HAWAII.
QUEEN LILI' UOKALANI WAS OVER THROWN ON JAN 17TH. 1893 BY THE UNITED STATES GOVERMENT.
THE PALACE WAS RESTORED IN 1969 AND NOW SERVES AS A TREASURED LANDMARK AND MUSEUM.
TUESDAY THRU SATURDAY
830AM TIL 330PM
SELF GUIDED ADULT TOUR $6GRAND TOUR ADULT $20
FOR MORE INFO VISIT THEIR WEBISTE IOLANI PALACE
Iolani Palace is the seat of Hawaii's old government. It was built in 1882 for King Kalakaua. This is the only restored royal palace in the United States. This palace was restored for about $7.5 milliion and the government of Hawaii tried to recover its old furnitures 4,000 pieces!
Entering the magnificent hallway of the palace gives me a regal feeling - like I was a royalty!The floor swere made of koa wood and all the furnitures were hand-carved Hawaiian woods!
The palace is so protected that we had to remove our shoes and put on covers for our feet! Not socks, but booties, a protection, so we will not scratch the floors! We were not allowed to touch anything in the palace! We were not allowed to bring drinks, candy or gum. They even doesn't allow any visitor to bring ballpoints, cell phones, beepers and cameras!
The Byodo Temple is located in the Valley of the Temples. The Byodo Temple is a Japanese temple whose names translates as “Temple of Equality.” The temple was dedicated in 1968 as a centennial commemoration of the first Japanese immigrants in Hawaii. The sacred bell; bon-sho is heard ringing as visitors ring the bell for happiness and longevity. Inside the temple is an 18 foot tall golden Buddha for guests to pray and light incense.
There are gardens surrounding the temple as well as fishponds full of koi and gravesites of the departed.