Gardens & Temples...

We began our day at one of the five botanical gardens on O'ahu- Ho'omaluhia.

This 400-acre park side lives up to its name which means Peaceful refuge and is the island's largest botanical garden.
Plants at Ho'omaluhia include palms and aroids, heliconias, native Hawaiian plants, and a variety of ethnobotany exhibits (yes, we don't know what those words mean either but they were beautiful, all of them).
And this sweet face belongs to a mongoose. Here in Hawaii, the pest of choice has been the this guy. The 1800s were big for sugar cane. The sugar cane attracted rats, and the rats caused serious crop destruction and loss. In 1883, the plantation owners brought 72 mongooses to the Big Island. These were carefully raised and their offspring were shipped to plantations on other islands. It didn’t take long for the mongooses to take over. The experiment didn’t exactly work for two reasons: 1. Mongooses consider rats just an okay thing to eat, 2. Rats are nocturnal and mongoose aren't. BUT they certainly are cute and everywhere!

We couldn't think of a better place to spend our last day on O'ahu... until the torrential rains came and sent us home to change into dry clothes.
We concluded our day at the Byodo-In Temple, established in 1968 to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the first Japanese immigrants to Hawaii. This peaceful place is a smaller-scale replica of the over 950-year-old Byodo-in Temple, a United Nations World Heritage Site, in Uji, Japan.
Before entering the temple, it is customary to ring the bon-sho (sacred bell). It is said that this helps to spread the eternal teachings of Buddha and that it will purify the mind of evil spirits and temptation. It is also said that doing so will bring you happiness, blessings, and a long life. Oh man, it can't hurt!

Once we entered the temple, we were greeted by Amida, a golden Buddha. It  is thought to be the largest of these figures carved outside of Japan. Towering more than 9 feet, the immense figure is an original work of art carved by the famous Japanese sculptor, Masuzo Inui. So very cool.

“Coming to Hawai'i is like
going from black and white to color.”
― John Richard Stephens

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