Religious Buildings of Honolulu Self-Guided Tour, Honolulu (Self Guided)

Religion in Hawaii is a mix of Christianity, Buddhism and native religions. This is the reason why diverse religious structures, such as shrines or catholic churches can be seen everywhere in Honolulu. Since 1820, the Christian missionaries and Chinese began to popularize their religion and traditions. Nowadays, the ancient Hawaiian religions have almost disappeared. Take this walking tour and enjoy the religious sights of Honolulu, both modern and historic.
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Religious Buildings of Honolulu Self-Guided Tour Map

Guide Name: Religious Buildings of Honolulu Self-Guided Tour
Guide Location: USA » Honolulu (See other walking tours in Honolulu)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 7
Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.3 km
Author: helenp
Kawaiahao Church

1) Kawaiahao Church

Kawaiahao Church is known as Hawaii's Westminster Abbey. It was, at one point, the national church of the Kingdom of Hawaii, and the personal chapel for the Hawaiian royal family. It is Hawaii's oldest standing Christian religious building, even though the current building is not the original structure. Four smaller, thatched churches stood on the site of the current Kawaiahao Church, which is built of coral rock.

The name “Kawaiahao” comes from a Hawaiian phrase meaning “the water of Hao.” This refers to the fact that the site was originally a spring and small freshwater pool, which was under the care of High Chiefess Hao.

Kawaiahao Church was commissioned during the reigns of Kings Kamehameha II and III. It was designed by Reverend Hiram Bingham, to mimic the style of Hawaiian missionaries. The coral rock used in its construction has to be quarried by hand, a process which required highly trained divers to dive up to 18 feet below sea level to cut out the stone slabs by hand. The slabs then had to be transported from under the sea to the shore, then to the site of the church.

It was at Kawaiahao Church that King Kamehameha III said the phrase “The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness,” which became Hawaii's official motto.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Saint Andrew's Cathedral

2) Saint Andrew's Cathedral

Saint Andrew's Cathedral is an Episcopal Cathedral that originally served as the seat of the Anglican Church of Hawaii.

During the Victorian Era, King Kamehameha IV and his Queen Consort, Emma, were members of the Anglican Church led by Queen Victoria. In fact, the royal couple was so close to the British Queen, she was named the godmother of their son, Albert. Kamehameha IV was inspired to build an Anglican place of worship in his own country, so he commissioned Saint Andrew's Cathedral, and donated part of the Royal Garden as the site. Unfortunately, the king passed away before the ground-breaking could commence, leaving his brother, Kamehameha V, to take over the project. The Queen traveled to England to purchase building materials, commission architects, and handle the practical matters of building the church.

The building itself was created from several pre-fabricated pieces shipped from England. It was built in the French Gothic stye, and features some very unique stained glass work. One window features an image of Jesus on a surfboard, as well as images of European explorers that visited Hawaii. Another features the Hawaiian King and Queen, Sanford B. Dole (a lawyer and jurist in Hawaii, as well as a friend of the royal family), and Bishop Thomas N. Staley.
Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace

3) Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace

The Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace is one of the few cathedrals in Hawaii. It is the Mother Church of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Honolulu, and was build during Hawaii's missionary era. It was completed in August, 1843. When Libert Boeynaems inherited the church, he envisioned it as a grand Gothic cathedral, akin to those in Europe. Under his auspices, the church's first renovation occurred. An elaborate porch was build on the facade, the wooden spire was stripped down and a concrete bell tower put up in its place. These changes didn't last, however, and Stephen Alencastre stripped the Gothic accoutrements as soon as he assumed the episcopacy in 1926. He was the one who established the church's current style.

The ground-breaking for the Cathedral didn't come easily. For many years, the Roman Catholics on Hawaii were persecuted by powerful Congregational and Presbyterian ministers who were close to the royal family. Finally, the Hawaiian government issues an Edict of Toleration, and King Kamehameha III gave the Roman Catholic missionaries a parcel of land to build on. The building is a Romanesque cathedral, built out of blocks of coral stone, and adorned with acacia koa, marble, plaster, and terra cotta. There are seventeen stained glass designs, statues of saints, and many pieces of religious art worth seeing, for Catholics and non-Catholics alike.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Izumo Taishakyo Mission

4) Izumo Taishakyo Mission

The site of the Izumo Taishakyo Mission has been a Shinto shrine since the early 1900s. Unfortunately, anti-Japanese sentiment during World War II led to a serious crackdown on Shintoism. As a result, the mission was seized by the city of Honolulu during the war, and was not allowed to reopen until 1968.

Today, the Izumo Taishakyo Mission is one of the few Shinto shrines operating in the United States. The A-frame building was inspired by the design of the Taisha Machi, a classical Japanese Shrine located in Shimane Prefecture, Japan.

The primary deity, or kami, of this shrine is Okuninushi-no Mikoto (which literally translates to “Great Land Master”), the kami of happiness, medicine, farming, marriage, and agriculture. Visitors must wash their hands at the edge of the temple grounds, and sound a brass bell to let the spirits know they are there. Then, at the entrance, visitors should bow twice, clap twice, bow again, and make an offering of coins to the collection box on the ground. The mission is also the site of a traditional New Year's Day pilgrimage by Shinto Buddhists. As many as ten thousand visitors, both Buddhists and non-Buddhists, arrive at the mission for that day.
Harris United Methodist Church

5) Harris United Methodist Church

Harris United Methodist Church was built in 1888. It was founded by the Japanese community for its members. Formerly, the community had a church on River Street. Until 1888 it was moved several times to different locations in the downtown area. However, during this time, the congregation grew larger and, nowadays, Japanese-speaking people and other ethnic groups all pray at Harris United Methodist Church.
Hawaii Chinese Buddhist Society

6) Hawaii Chinese Buddhist Society

The Hawaii Chinese Buddhist Society is located near the Consulate-General of Japan in Honolulu. It represents a true Buddhist temple, having an extremely elaborate design with many embellishments. For the Chinese Buddhist society in Honolulu it is the ultimate place to pray.
Honpa Hongwanji Mission

7) Honpa Hongwanji Mission

The Honpa Hongwanji Mission is a district of Jodo Shinshu Buddhism, which was established in Hawaii with the immigration of Japanese workers to Hawaii's sugarcane plantations. This is a school of Mahayana Pure Land Buddhism, which originated in India. Mahayana Buddhism is the larger of two major Buddhist traditions, though its origins are not well-documented or completely understood. The Jodo Shinshu school was created by Shinran Shonin, a Japanese Buddhist monk who lived from 1173 to 1263.

The first Hongwanji temple was dedicated as early as 1889. Eight years later, Japan began sending ministers to establish more temples for Japanese people living in Hawaii and the remainder of the United States. Honpa Hongwanji Betsuin is located in Honolulu, on Pali Highway. It features a large, gilded central altar with an image of Amida Buddha. Amida Buddha is dedicated to liberating all sentient beings, so that they may attain enlightenment. The Buddha is depicted as standing, to show that he is actively working towards the goal of helping all living things reach enlightenment.

In 1976, Paul Yamanaka and the Mission created a program called “Living Treasures of Hawaii,” which is dedicated to recognizing people who have reached high standards of achievement in their particular fields, and have made significant humanitarian contributions.

Walking Tours in Honolulu, Hawaii

Create Your Own Walk in Honolulu

Create Your Own Walk in Honolulu

Creating your own self-guided walk in Honolulu is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Honolulu's Harbor and Coastline Tour

Honolulu's Harbor and Coastline Tour

Honolulu's Harbor is the main historic seaport of Hawaii. It is called Kulolia or Ke Awa O Kou, by native Hawaiians. It is situated on Mamala Bay and was the area that contributed most to the urbanization of the island. This self-guided tour will take you all the way down from Honolulu's Harbor to the Ala Moana Beach, and along Honolulu's beautiful coastline.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.4 km
The Capitol District Tour in Honolulu

The Capitol District Tour in Honolulu

The Capitol District represents a historic area in downtown Honolulu. This civic center includes the biggest majority of governmental buildings at federal, state and city levels. The district is situated among Richards Street, Ward Avenue, Vineyard Boulevard and Nimitz Highway. Some of the largest buildings in the city are located here. Take this walking tour and enjoy the treasures of historic...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.4 km
Pearl Harbor Tour

Pearl Harbor Tour

Pearl Harbor, a US deep-water naval base in Honolulu, made history in 1941 when came under attack by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service prompting the United States' entering World War II. Since 1964, Pearl Harbor has been declared a National Historic Landmark, featuring a number of military objects and installations turned-monuments. This self-guided tour invites you to pay tribute to the...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 7.0 km
Waikiki Beach Walk in Honolulu

Waikiki Beach Walk in Honolulu

Waikiki or Waikiki Beach is a beachfront area of Honolulu famed for its long rolling ocean break, ideal for boarding and surfing. Waikiki is also home to public places, such as Kapiolani Park, high-end resort hotels (Royal Hawaiian), and abundance of luxury brand stores concentrated on Kalakaua Avenue, the neighborhood's main thoroughfare. Once the playground of Hawaiian aristocracy, today...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.1 km
Hickam Air Force Base Tour

Hickam Air Force Base Tour

Hickham Air Force Base was opened in 1935 and named after Lieutenant Colonel Horace Meek Hickam. The air force base began operations three years later and in 1941 the first bombers arrived there. In 1980, this site was declared a National Historic Landmark for its high importance during World War II. Today, it is of huge importance in the history of the U.S. Take the Hickam Air Force Base Tour and...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.6 km
Business District Self-Guided Tour in Honolulu

Business District Self-Guided Tour in Honolulu

The Central Business District is situated in Honolulu's downtown, between Bishop Street and Fort Street Mall. This area holds most of the subsidiaries of local companies. Also, it's Honolulu's skyscraper district. You can see popular sites, such as Cathedral Church of Saint Andrew and First Hawaiian Center. We invite you to take this self-guided tour and admire the Business District...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.6 km

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip

16 Hawaiian Products To Bring Home from Honolulu

16 Hawaiian Products To Bring Home from Honolulu

Pineapples, surfing, flower garlands and colorful shirts are the most distinct things coming to mind in association with Hawaii. Still, when it's time to go leisurely-pleasurely in the remotest part of the United States, it is good to know what is there exactly worth picking up in Honolulu, as...

Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Honolulu for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Honolulu has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Taking Care of Your Feet

To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Honolulu, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device

Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.