We visited an unusual place and you can easily pass it by without realizing what's tucked away.
This is the entrance. I had to snap a shot of the stop sign - Greg thought it was neat being in blue.
We drove into the Valley of the Temple, with rolling hills and then the scenery opened to the mountain view. At the base of the two thousand foot high Ko'olau mountains was the temple. The temple was ornate and red and adorned by a lake. It made me feel as if I had been transported somehow to Japan. I knew about the Valley of the Temple from watching the TV show, Lost. If you're a Lost fan, you might remember the scene where the "Suns" were married.
The first place that we stopped was the bell house. There is a 5 foot tall sacred bell called the Bonsho. It's an authentic Japanese creation, shipped in from Osaka. It is believed that hearing the sound of the bell ringing will cleanse the mind of evil.
The temple was built in the 1960s to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the first Japan immigrant workers to arrive in Hawaii.
The main building is supposed to represent a Phoenix with it's wings spread. Byodo In is a replica of a temple of the same name in Uji, near Kyoto. The centerpiece is the "Lotus Buddha," the largest wooden Buddha hand carved in the last 900 years. It looks solid gold from the layer of gold paint and gold leaf coating.
I enjoyed the lake, with black swans, ducks and Koi fish. Greg bought some food to feed the fish and ending up attracting the feathered friends too.
There is a small gift shop and in it, I read the legend of the cat with a waving paw:
"The Temple Cat: This story goes that a wealthy feudal lord was taking shelter under a tree near Gotoku-ji temple (in Western Tokyo) during a thunderstorm. The lord saw the temple priest's cat beckoning to him and followed; a moment later the tree was struck by lightning. The wealthy man became friends with the poor priest and the temple became prosperous. When the cat died, supposedly the first Maneki Neko was made in his honor.
The cat, Maneki Neko, known also as "Beckoning Cat" and Welcoming Cat, Lucky Cat, Money Cat or Fortune Cat is supposed to bring good luck to the home that it is in and yes.. I bought one.