Hawaii’s Byodo-In

After breakfast at the Sheraton Waikiki, we went out to have lunch and picked up a rental car at the International Market Place. We then drove to visit Byodo-in, a replica Japanese temple at the Valley of the Temples. After walking through the grounds, we drove around area a bit before heading to get poke from Tamura’s. We spent some time at Kailua Beach Park before attending a wedding in the evening.


The Sheraton Waikiki offers a minimal complimentary breakfast for Platinum and above members of the Marriott Bonvoy program. We have had some of the other menu items here before but generally find the cost premium over the complimentary breakfast isn’t worth it, particularly here in Waikiki where good food is plentiful.

The complimentary continental breakfast includes a beverage, a pastry, which changes daily, a croissant, yogurt with granola, and some typically mediocre fruit.

We were treated to the view of a tiny rainbow from our lanai after breakfast.

We went to see if we could get our rental car early from the Avis at the International Market Place. Unfortunately, they didn’t have anything ready at the time. So, we decided to get an early lunch at Marugame Udon. Before the pandemic, Marugame was open for breakfast in the morning, at 7am. It was a great place for a delicious and comparatively cheap meal and there was never a line at that hour. Unfortunately, they don’t open that early anymore and there is typically a queue, though it isn’t that bad at 10:30am!

We had Marugame already once this trip but this time, we got the nikutama curry along with the deep fried chicken cutlets and a piece of sweet potato tempura. The chicken definitely needed flavoring from sauce, or in this case, curry!

Our next stop was Sam’s Kitchen for garlic shrimp. It was good but seems to be more expensive than we remembered from the last time we were here, though that is a general trend everywhere these days.

And of course, we had to get a shave ice from Island Vintage!

Valley of the Temples

After picking up our car at Avis, we drove over to the Valley of the Temples. It is to the north of Waikiki, on the eastern shore of Oahu. The valley is actually a cemetery, the park-like kind that are called memorial parks.

After entering, we drove to Byodo-in. The small parking lot was full but we didn’t have to wait long to get a spot.

The Byodo-in here is a replica of the original in Uji, Japan, the town near Kyoto most famous for green tea production. We visited in December, 2019, right before the pandemic.

The copy here is actually pretty realistic in appearance, though unfortunately the pond in front of the temple was drained.

We walked up a little hill on the temple’s left side to find another drained pond.

We turned around to visit the actual temple building.

There is a large Buddha statue in the middle of the temple. This temple is not a practicing temple and thus there are no monks here.

The view looking out from the middle of the temple.

We continued on to the other side of the temple. But, we couldn’t exit in that direction as we didn’t have our shoes! Like actual temples in Japan, shoes must be taken off before entering the building. We had to return to where we entered to get our shoes.

This replica was created to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the first Japanese immigrants to arrive in Hawaii. It was dedicated in 1968, with the first immigrants arriving in 1867.

We passed by the front of the temple again to reach the other side. It is possible to go from one side to the other without needing to take off shoes by walking around the center area.

This pond off to the side seems to be where they are keeping the koi which likely normally inhabit the big pond in front of the main temple building.

It is definitely in a nice tranquil location. The landscape is very different from the original though!

After returning to our car, we kept driving to reach what is labelled on Google Maps as the Ocean View Terrace Memorial. This seems to be the highest elevation within the memorial park. It is a nice spot and quite picturesque. The park was somewhat active with people visiting and what seemed like new interrments.

We enjoyed the view for a bit before moving on.

We noticed an interesting marker on Google Maps – The Tomb of General Chang Hsueh Liang and Edith Chao Chang. He did here in Hawaii at the age of 101 back in 2001. A description of his life is best left to other sources. The Guardian has a short obituary that provides an introduction.

The actual tomb is up on a hill. The general and his second wife, who is also buried here, converted to Christianity in Taiwan.

The site offers a nice view due to its elevated location.

Byodo-in is visible from the path leading up to the tomb.

The site as it appears from the road below.

There are various structures scattered around the memorial park.

There is a chapel up on this hill with a small parking lot, though we did not enter. We briefly enjoyed the view before moving on.

Kailua Beach Park

We had planned on driving north a bit long the eastern shore of Oahu. However, we encountered a huge traffic jam which effected travel in both directions. We decided instead to turn around and go south as we didn’t want to get stuck on the other side.

We went to Tamura’s, a liquor store. This particular Hawaiian chain also sells fresh poke, some of the best in Hawaii. We visited the Aikahi location in Kailua and ate at one of the shaded tables out front.

We then drove over to Kailua Beach Park. It was a beautiful afternoon, though extremely windy. We found a nice spot in the shade atop a hill to sit. We did occasionally get blasted by sand though! The windsurfers and kiteboarders seemed to be really enjoying the weather. We also saw people kayaking to the small island offshore.

After leaving the beach, we navigated around a closed road and detour to visit Island Snow‘s second location in Kailua. Island Snow is famous for having President Obama as a long time customer.

The shop is interesting as they serve traditional Hawaiian shave ice and also sell clothing. They have two shops in Kailua and also own the Stüssy store at the Royal Hawaiian Center in Waikiki. We’ve seen long queues every day while walking by that Stüssy store. We found it surprising as my memory of Stüssy is of a skateboarding apparel store and not exactly mainstream, though the brand apparently originated as a surfing brand in California.


Afterwards, we headed to our friends’ wedding nearby.

We won’t write about it here other than that we enjoyed being at the Switzerland table, one of our favorite destinations worldwide, and we enjoyed the shave ice! It was a fantastic celebration that we were happy to be able to attend!

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