Entrance to the Valley of the Temples near Kane'ohe
Well I finally figured out the bus schedule and made it to Kane'ohe. I checked out the town and went to a grocery store. Prices seemed high but not exhorbitant. The people seem really friendly. I went to the mall, seemed like a typical mall you would see just about anywhere in the U.S. Asked for directions to the Valley of the Temples and decided to walk it. This side of the island gets a lot of rain and the clouds look a little threatening so I tried to buy a poncho: no dice, they're all out. So of course it started pouring. I hid under a tree for a while and then started hiking. After a good long walk (probably and hour and a half or so) I made it to the valley and had a plate lunch across the street from the Valley of the Temples.
Cemetary in The Valley of the Temples
The scenery here is gorgeous! The cemetary and Byodo-in temple lie just at the foot of the mountains. Everything is so lush and green! Crossing the bridge to the temple grounds is like taking a time machine back to feudal Japan. Birds are chirping, water is falling and Buddhist monks are walking around in their bright orange and yellow robes. Occasionally someone will ring the giant peace bell next to the koi ponds. Wooden flute music can be heard faintly drifting across the grounds. Flowers are in bloom everywhere (though I find this is pretty typical in Hawaii
.) I could get used to this. Everything is so peaceful and serene.
Byodo In Temple
After some pictures I removed my shoes and entered the main hall of the temple where a 9 foot wooden lotus Buddha sits, covered in gold and lacquer. The archetecture is amazing, as not a single nail was used in the construction of this beautiful building. I watched some of the patrons feeding the giant koi (12-18 inches each I'd say.) Until now I had never seen a black swan, and now I've seen two! They're beautiful and walk like a lot of the birds in Hawaii do: with a swagger that suggests that they know how cool they are and how laid back life in Hawaii is. It's getting late in the afternoon and I don't want to leave, but supposedly there is a bus stop right across the street that I'll be able to catch any minute now and there probably won't be another for quite some time. If this temple is any indication of what I'll see when I visit Kyoto someday... well, I'll be in heaven.