Let’s be honest, sometimes you don’t always have the cash on hand to go out to fancy brunches, lunches, or dinners. Especially in Hawaii where the living’s easy — if you’ve got deep pockets.
Luckily Hawaii isn’t short on beautiful sights — and those are free. Sometimes you’ll find yourself hit hard with that rent and car payment on the same paycheck (!), but don’t fret. There are still ways you can enjoy yourself that don’t include spending your hard-earned money on overpriced beers.
If you live in Hawaii you’ve probably heard of the Byodo-In Temple in Kaneohe. Little did I know there was another temple on the island, this one a lot less-touched by the tourist industry.
The Mu Ryang Sa Temple is a quiet Korean place of worship that you’ll find in Palolo Valley — a narrow neighborhood no tour bus wants to venture. The temple’s name means “broken ridge Buddhist temple,” aptly named because on your drive up you may have noticed that the top of the temple’s ridge is in fact, broken.
We parked along the street and were greeted by these towering statues and a burst of color as we entered the first building on the temple’s premises. It’s here where you’ll find a sign that suggests a donation of $3.
It’s fine to take pictures while you’re outside around the grounds, but there are signs up reminding you not to take pictures if you head inside. The same signs indicate there’s quiet meditation usually in progress, so it’s best to keep the noise down while you visit.
While there is a Korean service every Sunday from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m., there are also a number of activities and classes that go on here — all you’ve gotta do is sign up (and pay)! There’s meditation, Korean dance and drum, Korean language, painting, and yoga. You can find all the info at the temple’s website here.
The colors that surround you here are beautiful. I personally don’t have a religious affiliation and am open to all theories — but in my experience, places of worship are never quite so colorful.
My favorite spot around the temple grounds was in the corner all the way in the back and to the right — I actually missed it on my first go-around. There’s a wall of these little Buddha statues, all engraved with names. Most are in Korean, but here and there you can spot some English ones. You can get to the landing they sit on from a small staircase.
There are so many things to look at as you wander around — artwork, sculptures, architecture, and colors. I could’ve stayed taking photos for a long, long time. But eventually, we got hungry.
It just goes to show what you can find when you just make an effort to look!