With the culturally diverse population in Hawaii, there are a number of temples that are open to the public for viewing. While all of these temples are worth seeing at one point or another, we are going to keep this day trip a bit shorter by focusing on the two you simply must see while you are here o Oahu, Hawaii.
The first is the Valley of the Temples in Kaneohe and the second is the Mormon temple on the North Shore in Laie. There’s plenty to see and do along the way which could make your day trip as long as you’d like. We’ll give a few stops we’d definitely see, but first…
You will want to start your day trip off with a delicious breakfast. You really have several choices here, all of which will be excellent. You may choose to grab a quick bite in or around the hotel you are staying at, however if you are looking for something that is more satisfying, then why not try Eggs ‘n Things in Waikiki
This place is a classic Waikiki breakfast spot sure to cure any hangover, or fill your stomach for the upcoming ride.
You will begin your trip by getting onto the Pali Highway, most likely from H1 following Kalakaua Avenue out of Waikiki. This will give you an excellent opportunity to make a quick stop and view the world famous Pali Lookout.
The Pali Lookout is famous for being windy, and it offer a beautiful view of the entire Windward Side of the island. If you are a non-resident then you can expect to pay a $2 fee, but the money is well worth it.
Valley of the Temples
Your next stop (first temple stop) will be the Valley of the Temples. Continue over the Pali Highway until you reach Kamehameha Highway, there – at the light (first one as you head down the Pali), you will take a left and follow Kamehameha Highway until you see Kahekili Highway. When you see the sign for Kahekili Highway, get on it and follow it out to the Valley of the Temples. It will be on our left, you can’t miss it.
There is plenty of rich history regarding the Valley of the Temples, and there are a number of things that you have to make sure and see while you are there. The area is located at the Ko’olau Mountains in beautiful Kaneohe, HI.
The main attraction is the Byodo-In Temple. The Byodo-In Temple was built in the 1960′s to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the first Japanese immigrant workers in Hawaii who came to work in the sugar plantation fields. It is a replica of the 950-year-old Byodoin Temple located in Uji, Japan on the southern outskirts of Kyoto. In the past few years the temple has gained even more popularity because of the hit television show Lost, which featured it numerous times throughout it 6-year run.
Other things to make sure and see while in the Valley of the Temples include.
- Entrance and Wooden Bridge
- The Peace Bell
- Explore the Temple Grounds
- Meditation Pavilion
- Koi Ponds
- Temple Building
- Amida or Lotus Buddha
Snacks and Chinaman’s Hat
From here you will keep heading out towards the North Shore on Kahekili Highway, which will turn into Kamehameha Highway. You may be hungry by now so stop at one of the local snack places and grab yourself something to eat. There are numerous little stands on the side of the road that sell fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as other local favorites.
After you fill you belly you will want to make another stop before you head out to the second temple site. The famous Mokoliʻi or as it is commonly known Chinaman’s Hat is always a popular site to see when you are heading out to this part of the island. You’ll see it as you come upon Kualoa Beach Park. Here is a little background on the name…
Chinaman’s Hat - it used to be connected to Oahu before erosion cut it off. It’s known as “Chinaman’s Hat” for its likeness to the straw hats Chinese immigrants wore. Wedge-tailed Shearwaters are the only species of bird that nests here; previously there were a few. It is open to the public from dawn to dusk and is accessible by kayak or swimming, as the water is only around 4-feet deep.
Hawaii Temple Visitor’s Center
Once you are done checking out Chinaman’s Hat, head back out to Kamehameha Highway and drive down to the Hawaii Temple Visitor’s Center. Here you will have access to all the temples and surrounding area’s that the Mormons call their own piece of paradise in Laie, Oahu. This is a fascinating place with a ton of religious tradition.
The Mormon religion is pretty big in Hawaii, and all the land up in this area is owned and run by people of Mormon faith. BYU Hawaii is also located here and is a popular college for students near and far.
Fumi’s Kahuku Shrimp Wagon
After you have finished your site seeing then it will be time for you to start heading back to Waikiki. One final stop to make will be Fumi’s Kahuku Shrimp Wagon. Here you can enjoy a late lunch. You will get hot, fresh shrimp that is served to you in a lunch style way. You peel and eat them, they are delicious and the Kahuku Lunch Wagon is very popular in Hawaii.
Famous for their garlic shrimp plucked right from the surrounding ponds, you won’t be disappointed when you bring your appetite. There are several around, we just like Fumi’s for no particular reason besides it’s delicious. If you like different one, let us know.
Getting Back to Waikiki
Now if you came from Waikiki you have two ways to get back, depending on the time of day, on may be quicker than the other. You can take a drive back the way you came from, down the east side of the island then over H3, LikeLike or the Pali Highways, which is fine. Or you can continue along Kamehameha Highway towards the north shore and then back down to H2 and H1 then back into Waikiki.
If you’re later in the day the North Shore route may be quicker as the traffic from the North Shore beaches will have subsided. However, if you’re early afternoon or even mid-afternoon, the east side trip may be your best. Be adventurous and enjoy!