A Place of Peace & Serenity: Byodo-In Temple

Byodo-In Temple

Located in the Valley of the Temples, at the base of the 2,000 foot Ko'olau mountain range, is the replica of a 950-year-old Buddhist temple in Uji, Japan. The Byodo-In Temple was constructed, without the use of a single nail, in the 1960's to commemorate the first Japanese immigrants who came to Hawaii to work in the sugar plantations.

Buddah Statue

Byodo-In is the quintessence of tranquility and I was fortunate enough to experience this place solely. The only other people around were the groundskeepers, but they don't count.

Stone Path

Before entering the temple it is customary to ring the Bon-Sho (sacred bell) by striking it with the shu-moku (a wooden log). The five foot high, three ton brass bell creates a deep resonant gong, sending out a wave of calm said to cleanse the mind of evil and temptation. One can't help but be overcome with an extreme sense of peacefulness while roaming the grounds.

Remove Shoes

The most intense feelings I exhibited were upon entering the temple and getting my first glimpse of Amida, a golden Buddah, carved out of wood that towered more than 18 feet tall.

Golden Buddah (Amida)

As I stood there gawking at this immense figure, I began to weep. I had no clue as to why either. All I know is that I was filled with an overwhelming array of complex emotions that I couldn't begin to decipher. I just went with it, especially since I was alone and could do so without prying eyes.

Bell Detail

I walked along every inch of these grounds as slowly as I possibly could so I wouldn't miss a single detail. Took a peek in the gift shop and picked up a few mementos (post cards and incense). I also bought a bag of fish food so that I could sit at the edge of the expansive koi pond and feed the eager fishies. Little did I know that every species of wildlife here at Byodo-In would be attracted to the scanty handout.

I was surrounded on all sides by feisty fish, curious swans, a tenacious turtle and a flock of swift birdies. I thought that must be what it felt like to be Snow White! It was too much fun dispensing those goodies, I had to go back and get a second bag. And I was probably stalling, too, because I hated to leave this lovely place. Can you blame me?! Alas, I had other sights to see.

Byodo-In with Bridge

By the time I came full-circle (2 hours later) there were groups of people entering by the dozen! I ate my lunch of leftover sushi (how fitting) in the parking lot before making my way to Highway 83 for a leisurely stop-and-go drive up to the North Shore of Oahu. I had a few hours to kill prior to the evening event we planned to attend for my birthday. If you missed it, we went to Germaine's Luau, which you can read about here.


As I left with thankfulness on my mind, I thought that having this magnificent place all to myself was my birthday gift from the universe. What a great birthday I had (Sept 29)! Lucky, I am :D

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  1. Honestly, this may be my favorite post of yours ever. I feel renewed after reading, looking, and viewing. The "vimeo" is more special than special. Makes my heart soar.
    I love all this!

  2. beautiful!
    Hey is your birthday sept 29? Mine just one day before yours then, another coincidence??

  3. Wow...it's lovely. Was that a black swan? Beautiful ferns.

  4. what a series of beautiful places ~ thank you for sharing this ...hope your weekend is really wonderful in every way

  5. @Lydia: When I realized that the video had the sound of the bell in the background, I was ecstatic! It was a special place :D

    @JH: Yup, that was my birthday! Another crazy coincidence :D

    @Marfa: I am pretty certain that it was a swan, but then again I am no expert!

    @elk: I hope yours is wonderful in every way as well. Thank you :D

  6. wow...that's amazing. It was really built w/o nails? What beautiful architecture!

  7. What a magnificent post! Did I hear the gong (someone entered?) during your video? I felt as if I were there. Beautiful photos too.

  8. what an amazing and beautiful place. how very special that you were there.

    gorgeous shots...they made me feel as if i was there in the solitude with you.

  9. How amazing that the building was built without nails. Such a beautiful peaceful place and great shots.

    Happy PSF!

  10. Wonderful post. What a place for reflection, conscious or subconscious. I loved it.

  11. it makes me so happy that you are the wayfaring wanderer. you deserve that title more than any of us. these are great. and happy belated.

  12. Beautiful photos and narration. Makes me feel like I'm there. I spent a summer in Japan (1993) and remember visiting many similar places.

    thanks for sharing!

  13. Awesome, WW. I'm so glad you were so moved. :)

    (And for your camera skillz. :D)

  14. How's it going?

    I like your site. A lot of useful travel information on here. I was wondering if you wanted to do a link exchange with my site, ThatVACATIONfeeling.com. We are a new site trying to spread the word so we can build a useful website for all.

    Please let me know if this is possible.


  15. Sounds like the perfect way to celebrate your birthday. What a wonderful experience you had!!

  16. Wow, nice pictures, I want to live there!

  17. Great Photos...seems like you just
    visited Japan on your vacation.

  18. It is a beautiful place and it certainly looks peaceful especially since you had it to yourself!

  19. you're in hawaii?? that's so awesome!!

  20. Oh wow, this place is so beautiful it doesn't even look real!