Hawaii January 09, 2019
You’ve Probably Never Heard Of This 100-Year-Old Temple Overlooking The Ocean In Hawaii
The Hawaiian Islands are a true melting pot: with no true ethnic majority, you will find countless different cultures and religions on display throughout the Aloha State — from
stunning churches that look like works of art to hidden monasteries most people have never heard of. Of course, you will also find a variety of stunning Buddhist temples, including this stunning little mission in Paia that overlooks the ocean.
Nestled overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Paia, the Mantokuji Soto Zen Mission is a place of absolute magic for those who practice Buddhism, and even for those who simply appreciate the intricacies of eastern architecture and beauty.
Founded more than a century ago by a community of Japanese immigrants, this small Buddhist temple was constructed in 1921
and is steeped in history — from the establishment of a women’s school in 1935 and the detainment of Rev. Sokan Ueoka and Rev. Kanzen Ito during World War II to the installation of Japanese gardens and more.
The Mantokuji Soto Zen Mission is not only incredibly peaceful, serene, and beautiful, but it is the only Soto Zen Buddhist temple on Maui.
Here, you will find a beautiful temple structure that has been placed on the national and state historic registry, a cemetery and columbarium, bell tower, and a Japanese garden.
This incredible bell tower dates back to 1912 and serves as a monument to honor of the deceased soldiers of the Sino-Japanese War and Russo-Japanese War.
Unfortunately, due to the temple’s close proximity to the coastline, the land eroding at an alarming pace. As of December 2017, several acres of land and close to a hundred graves have been out into the shore break as these souls are reclaimed by Mother Nature. The community is hoping to mitigate the effects of erosion if possible, though it is difficult.
If you choose to visit, you can stroll through the grounds and take a few photographs, though please be respectful at all times: this is an active temple, not a tourist site, though it’s serene, understated beauty is hard to deny.
The Paia Mantokuji Soto Zen Mission is located at 253 Hana Hwy., Paia, HI 96779, and you can learn more about the mission and its history
here. Have you ever heard of — or visited — this Buddhist temple in Hawaii? If so, share your experience and opinions in the comments below.