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Established in 1854 by some of the original Hawaiian settlers, this magnificent edifice stands out among the high rises and condos of Waikiki. It is obviously a building with a history—you can tell even before reading the placard above the entryway. If the church is imposing and majestic from the outside, it is awe-inspiring from the inside. Full-length stained glass windows and a tiered ceiling ornament the vast interior. Behind the church is the Father Damien museum and a group center for disadvantaged Tongan youth.
Built by Christian missionaries in the 1830s and 1840s, this church has always been frequented by Hawaiian royalty. The handsome gray edifice, listed on the National Register of Historic Buildings, was constructed of 14000 coral blocks. The upper gallery houses a collection of portraits of Hawaiian monarchs. Traditional Hawaiian-language services are held here every Sunday. The pews at the rear are still reserved for descendants of Hawaii's royalty.
This mausoleum was built in 1865 by Queen Emma and King Kamehameha IV, the final resting-place of their young son who died tragically at the age of four. Spread over three acres beside a tiny chapel, the mausoleum was later thought a more fitting burial ground for the deceased royalty of Hawaii, and several bodies were shifted from their previous graves to Mauna'ala. Locals consider this one of the most sacred grounds on the island, so be sure to conduct yourself appropriately when visiting.
At the base of the Ko'olau Mountains stands a replica of a 900-year-old Buddhist temple from Uji, Japan. The graceful vermilion complex is surrounded by the largest Japanese garden outside Japan. At the temple entrance hangs a sobering three-ton bronze bell—ring it before entering the sanctuary to purify the mind of evil and temptation, then meditate to to the nine-foot-tall statue of the Buddha. More than 10,000 carp live in a two-acre reflecting pool and wild peacocks stroll the grounds freely.