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Soto Zen Temple

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1952, Fuchino and Katsuyoshi. 1708 Nuuanu Ave.
  • (Photograph by Augie Salbosa)

The Soto Zen Temple presents a striking combination of traditional forms and modern materials. Its focal point, a seventy-foot-high, stainless steel, four-sided pyramidal tower, was inspired by the Great Tower of Bodh Gaya Temple in Bihar, India, the site of Buddha's enlightenment. Octagonal brick wings capped by shorter metal towers frame the central entrance, with its elbow-bracketed columns, clay-tile floor, and cusped-arched portal. The cusped arch is repeated in the doorway to the sanctuary. Sliding doors cross ventilate the nave and access cantilevered lanai which run along the sides of the building. The naijin (chancel) with carved elephant-head beam ends and the ramma (transoms) depicting the life of Buddha are of high quality. A fine level of detail and craftsmanship is evident throughout the building, from the wood and glass-block wall of the foyer to the exterior brickwork of the wings. The magnificent twenty-foot-high gold statue of the eleven-faced Kannon dates from 1933.

Writing Credits

Don J. Hibbard


What's Nearby


Don J. Hibbard, "Soto Zen Temple", [Honolulu, Hawaii], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Hawaii

Buildings of Hawaii, Don J. Hibbard. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2011, 123-123.

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