On our last day in Oahu, we didn’t have to catch the plane until late, so we had most of the day to kill. There were a couple of places that were only going to take an hour or so to see that we hadn’t had a chance to visit yet (or else it had been raining), so this seemed like the perfect opportunity.
The Valley of the Temples is an interdenominational cemetery that is home to the famous Byodo-In Temple, a replica of a 900 year old Buddhist temple in Uji, Japan. The cemetery has many beautiful and elaborate crypts, and is nestled below the beautiful green mountains of central Oahu. It really is a pretty place. We found it hard to believe that it was a cemetery. But it is the Byodo-In temple that is the centerpiece of this place that everyone comes to see.
The Byodo-In temple was built entirely without nails, and was established to commemorate the first Japanese immigrants to Hawaii. Inside the temple is a 9 foot Buddha, covered with gold leaf. Outside, peacocks, swans and ducks roam the grounds which include a large carp pond, gardens and curved bridges. The bell house
contains a five foot high, three ton brass bell which can be rung by swinging a large wooden log suspended from the ceiling. Ringing the bell is said to bring peace and good fortune to anyone who rings it, so of course we both did. The sound is deep and resonant, and is supposed to bring an atmosphere of tranquility and send a message of deep calm and peace. The bell is customarily rung before entering the temple to spread the teachings of Buddha. I don’t know about that, but I’ll take the peace and good fortune! I think we already have that, but a little insurance can never hurt.
It seems that every island we have visited has a valley called Waimea valley. The one in Oahu is a small park run by native Hawaiian people. Paved pathways allow you to walk through the tropical tranquility of the park, and even to swim at the base of the 60 foot waterfall. Somewhere around 600 plant species dwell here, many flowering, and most are marked with their names and some information about them. They even have a small replica of buildings that early Hawaiians lived in. A couple of
hours is enough to see Waimea Valley, but it was a pretty place and well worth the time (and entrance fee).
Sadly, this is the end of our Hawaii vacation. However, I know that we will be back.
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