Island of Hawaii Week: Liliuokalani Park and Gardens


KHON2’s Wake Up 2day and Living808 present a special series from the Island of Hawaii. Trini Kaopuiki went exploring and found the joys of a staycation on Hawaii’s largest island.

Liliʻuokalani Park and Gardens is a 24.5-acre landscaped park featuring traditional Japanese bridges over fishponds, rock gardens, pagodas, and excellent views of Hilo Bay and Moku Ola (Coconut Island), the site of a temple dedicated to healing in ancient times.

Named after Hawaii’s last reigning monarch, Queen Lili‘uokalani, this authentic Japanese garden was dedicated in 1917 as a tribute to Hawaii’s first Japanese immigrants. Throughout the park are stone lanterns, sculptures and torii gates that recall the workers who came from Japan beginning in 1868 to work on sugar plantations. Camellia, azalea and black pine—species that flourish in Japan—are among the abundant greenery. The garden is also notable for its traditional teahouse named Shoroan (“Pine Ocean Breeze”).

Lili‘uokalani Park and Gardens is home to the annual Queen Lili‘uokalani Festival which takes place in September. The free event, which celebrates the monarch’s birthday, features music, arts, crafts, food, demonstrations, games for children and cultural activities. Last year’s special activities and demonstrations included a Japanese Tea Ceremony, a jumping castle, water slide, nose flute making, coconut weaving, Hawaiian printing and stamp pads, Portuguese horse shoe, Konani game, Hawaiian herbs and Lomi Lomi. Click here for details about the Queen Lili‘uokalani Festival centennial, which will be observed through 2019.

Locals enjoy the garden for exercise, walking, meditation, painting and socializing. It is a must-see for visitors to the Island of Hawaii. The park is open year-round, and admission is free.

Lili‘uokalani Park and Gardens is located on Banyan Drive in Hilo on the Island of Hawaii.

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