No matter your religious affiliation, these places of worship offer a unique opportunity to experience the history and diverse culture of Hawaii. Enjoy the serenity of a Buddhist Temple, see the first Christian church raised in Oahu by missionaries, and pay respects to the Hawaiian culture at a heiau.
Byodo-In – This Buddhist temple is non-denominational and invites people of all faiths to worship, meditate, or simply enjoy the beauty of the temple and its surroundings. Stand in awe of Amida, a nine-foot-tall golden Buddha housed at the temple or tour the peaceful gardens where you will see koi, peacocks, or black swans. Admission to the Byodo-In grounds is $3 (general); $2(seniors); $1(children).
Kawaiahao Church – The first Christian church to be built on Oahu, Kawaiahao Church is made of pink coral. Each slab of coral weighs more than 1,000 pounds and was quarried underwater in depths of 10 to 20 feet. The church was completed in 1842. Visitors can attend services conducted in both Hawaiian and English.
Keaiwa Heiau – Located inside the entrance to Keaiwa Heiau State Park, Keaiwa Heiau may look like a collection of loosely jumbled lava rocks at first glance. But this heiau, or temple, was a medical center and school in Old Hawaii. Plan to bring a picnic lunch and explore all the park has to offer once you’ve spent time at the heiau. Please remember that this is a sacred site. Do not remove anything from the site, and do not climb or walk on the rock walls and platforms.
All three of these locations are easy driving distance from the heart of Waikiki, and budget lodging like the Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel or Park Shore Hawaii Waikiki.
–Kris Bordessa of Honolulu On The Cheap and Big Island On The Cheap
[Photo Credit: Flickr/lovejanine]