Japanese Buddhist Temples in Hawaiʻi from by George Tanabe and Willa Jane Tanabe (University of Hawaii Press, 2012) is a comprehensive guide to the Buddhist temples and culture in the islands. It’s ideal for visitors and locals alike as a guide to finding and appreciating these sacred spaces.

The book begins with an informative overview of the different schools of Buddhism and how they came to Hawaii. The  rest of the book is divided by island. With an interesting focus on architecture, each temple is accompanied by a color photo of the building, including when it was established and built, and the name of the architect. Each temple has a write up about its history, architecture characteristics, and more. There are even photos included of important artifacts or unique features for each place.  This book is very useful in describing what you can expect to see and do at each location and since many of these missions and temples can be difficult to find, especially those in heavily urban areas and residential neighborhoods, they’ve included address and contact information for each.

My favorite part of the book is the middle section that goes into wonderful detail about the different building and statuary types that can be found across the state and the meaning of various motifs and symbols used in the building decor and furnishings. Learning about significant emblems and objects makes visiting the temples more engaging, and really helps you appreciate the differences in each location. It also provides a deeper understanding of the Buddhist culture.

If Asian art, architecture and religious history are of interest to you, I highly recommend this book. Again, it’s a great guide for locals and visitors alike. Through the book’s informative and educational content, these historic and beautiful places in Hawaii become more accessible.

Japanese Buddhist Temples in Hawaiʻi
by George and Willa Jane Tanabe
University of Hawaii Press, 2012
256 pages, softcover

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Event Info: Come out today, Sunday, November 18, to Barnes & Noble Ala Moana at 2PM for a special book event with authors George and Willa Jane Tanabe. Enjoy the opportunity to talk with them about Japanese Buddhist Temples in Hawaiʻi and get your book signed.