Japanese gardens in Hilo, Hawaii

The Japanese have certainly left their mark on Hawaii.  We all know of how the Japanese Imperial Forces left an indelible impression upon Pearl Harbour; but they have also left an economic imprint on Hawaii, as the Hawaiian Islands are one of the most popular international destination for Japanese tourists.  In order to enjoy a more serene vision of Japanese culture, you should travel to Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii to visit Liliuokalani Gardens, an authentic Japanese garden park.

The gardens are named after Hawaii’s last reigning Monarch, and are located along Banyan Drive on the bay of the Waiakea Peninsula in Hilo.  Built on 30 acres of land, Queen Liliuokalani Gardens, as it is also known, were built in 1917 and dedicated to Japanese immigrants to the Big Island who had left Japan to work in Hawaii’s sugar cane plantations.

Authentically Japanese the garden is beautifully landscaped, and features many of the essentials that are normally found in Japanese gardens, such as arched bridges which span fishponds filled with koi; rock gardens and pagodas; stone lanterns and even a teahouse.    

As well as strolling around the enchanting gardens, visitors can sit and enjoy the magnificent views of Hilo Bay and Coconut Island.  You will find a variety of plant life in the park, from beautiful flowering shrubs and plants to stately trees including the expansive banyan tree. Local plant life is also in abundance in the garden including many palms, bananas, hibiscus, and gingers. You can often find ducks and other water and ocean birds frequenting the ponds for a bite to eat or a quick bath – and the playful mongoose and noisy mynah birds are always plentiful.

There is no entrance fee to the gardens so it is a safe, free, and very beautiful and peaceful place to spend some time. Given that Hawaii does get quite a heavy rainfall, meaning that it is often cloudy, if you are lucky to be at the gardens on a clear and sunny day you should also get a splendid view of the volcano Mauna Kea, which rises majestically behind downtown Hilo on the other side of the bay.

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