Kawaiaha'o Church: One Honolulu Hawaii Church to go see

A picture of the Kawaiaha'o Church taken from across the street
A picture of the Kawaiaha'o Church taken from across the street
A markerKawaiahao Church -
Kawaiahao Church, Honolulu, HI 96813, USA
[get directions]

No visit to Honolulu, Hawaii is complete without visiting an Old Hawaii church. One Hawaii Church that definitely should be on your “to see” list while in Honolulu, Hawaii is the Kawaiaha’o Church. The name Kawaiaha’o in Hawaiian means the location of a fresh spring to care for a woman chief by the name of Ha’o. To really grasp a flavour of Hawaiian culture, you must go to the Sunday 9 am service as this service is spoken in the native Hawaiian language. As the Kawaiaha’o Church is centrally located to other rich historical Hawaii treasures like the Iolani Palace, you can literally make a full day of it sightseeing and learning about Oahu, Hawaii’s glorious past. We have included a sample itinerary near the end of this hub that you may wish to use.

Kawaiaha’o Church is located at 957 Punchbowl Street and 553 South King Street in Honolulu, Hawaii. Getting to the Kawaiaha’o Church is easy by bus and only costs $2.50 each way per person. To plan a trip using Honolulu, Hawaii’s bus system, simply go to the bus web site, type in your current location and your destination address and it will tell you which bus number to take, where your closest bus stop is located, which bus to transfer to and which bus stop number to get off at. The Bus also offers visual displays accompanied by verbal stop locations to make travel on the bus easy for any visitor. One suggestion is to bring a laptop with you so you can plot your trips by bus. There are plenty of free Wi-Fi locations throughout Honolulu Hawaii’s coffee shops and fast food restaurants so you don’t need to go far to gain free Internet access.

 

Brief History of Kawaiaha’o Church

The Kawaiaha’o Church was commissioned by Kamehameha II and Kamehameha III. The church was to be the Kingdom’s main church (but not the only one) where Hawaiian Royalty conducted coronations, christenings and funerals. This Hawaii Church was built with an English flavour between 1836 and 1842. The name Kawaiaha’o was not given to this Hawaii Church until 1853. Upon completion, the Kawaiaha’o Church was frequented by various Hawaiian chiefs and other high ranking Royal officials. When you go into this Hawaii Church, you will see various portraits of the Hawaiian Royalty who worshipped there. In 1966, Kawaiaha’o Church was included in the National Register of Historic Places.

The Eternal Foundation in front of King Lunalilo's Mausoleum. The grounds are gorgeous!
The Eternal Foundation in front of King Lunalilo's Mausoleum. The grounds are gorgeous!

 

King Lunalilo’s Mausoleum

King Lunalilio is the only Royal family member with a Mausoleum on the Kawaiaha’o Church grounds. I understand he was the only King who specifically wanted his Mausoleum to remain at Kawaiaha’o Church. The vast majority of the other Royal family members are buried at The Royal Mausoleum at Mauna 'Ala.  King Lunalilo’s Mausoleum is certainly worth a look. The gardens surrounding his Mausoleum are well-kept and beautiful!

A Memorial of Hiram Bingham, a prominant player in shaping Hawaii's history.
A Memorial of Hiram Bingham, a prominant player in shaping Hawaii's history.

 Grave Sites on Kawaiaha’o Church grounds

There is a small cemetery on the Kawaiaha’o Church grounds that are definitely interesting. One can roam through the cemetery reading the tombstones and gain vast amounts of information on various key community players that helped impact Hawaii’s move to becoming a U.S. State. Many of the people buried there are Protestant missionaries who were instrumental in establishing Christian beliefs on the Hawaiian Islands too.

Iolani Palace is located across the street from Kawaiaha'o Church
Iolani Palace is located across the street from Kawaiaha'o Church
This Hot Dog Vendor is frequently located across the street from the Iolani Palace if you are looking for a quick bite to eat.
This Hot Dog Vendor is frequently located across the street from the Iolani Palace if you are looking for a quick bite to eat.
King Kamehameha's Statue located at the Judiciary Building located next door from Kawaiaha'o Church and the Iolani Palace.
King Kamehameha's Statue located at the Judiciary Building located next door from Kawaiaha'o Church and the Iolani Palace.
P99 Coffee Shop in China Town. Great place to get Pho.
P99 Coffee Shop in China Town. Great place to get Pho.

 A sample full day Itinerary taking in the sites around Kawaiaha’o Church

You can literally make a full day of sightseeing within walking distance of Kawaiaha’o Church. Here is a sample itinerary you may wish to use to maximize your visit. I would recommend you plan to visit the Kawaiaha’o Church on Sunday as you can take in the service in the Hawaiian Language. Also, you will be able to see inside the Church.

·         9 am to Noon: Go to the Kawaiaha’o Church. If you can, join the Hawaiian Language Service at 9 am. Then, roam the Missionary grounds, the cemetery and King Lunalilo’s Mausoleum.

·         Noon to 1 pm: Walk through the Iolani Palace Grounds and have a picnic lunch. The Iolani Palace is closed on Sundays. So, if you want to go into the Palace, you would need to go between 9 am to 5 pm Monday through Saturday. However, the grounds are a perfect place to have a Picnic. There is a Hot Dog vendor usually located across the street and a Safeway store is also nearby.

·         1 pm to 1:30 pm: Walk across the street and visit the Historic Judiciary Building. The Hawaiian name for the Judiciary Building is  Ali’iolani Hale. This building is another historical site and has housed the Courts in Hawaii during Kamehameha’s rule. Be sure to take your picture in front of the famous Kamehameha Statue.

·         1:30 to 3:30 pm: China Town is located about 8 blocks away. If you find this too long a walk, you can always hop the bus and be there in about 5 minutes. China Town is certainly worth a look. It is the place to buy fresh fruit and vegetables at a bargain price. Also, there are numerous shops selling souvenirs at bargain basement prices. If you like Vietnamese Food, be sure to visit 99 Cafe for a wonderful bowl of Pho.

·         4 pm to 6 pm: Take the bus and visit the Royal Mausoleum at Mauna 'Ala. This is wonderful stop to top off your Hawaiian historical sightseeing adventure. This is where most of the Hawaiian Royal family is buried.

·         6 pm: Time to head back to your hotel.

Other Good Hub tips when visiting Hawaii

 

Here are some good hubs I have found you may wish to look at:

 

1.       Best Beaches in Oahu:  This hub offers great advice on good beaches in Hawaii. This hub is especially attractive for those of you who are sun bathing enthusiasts.

2.       Go see the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii: Getting to the North Shore in Oahu is cheap and easy if you use The Bus. The North Shore is definitely worth a visit. The beaches are beautiful, the people are friendly and the area is not crowded. The sites are too numerous to mention here, but I would definitely recommend going to the Dole Plantation and Waimea Valley.

3.       Shop in Laie: This hub gives you tips on the shopping opportunities in Laie. Getting to Laie is easy and cheap when you go by bus.

4.       Queen Emma Summer Palace: Located in the Nuuanu Valley, this little gem is easy to get to by bus and is operated by the Daughters of Hawaii. The Daughters of Hawaii spend time with you and explain the history of the place in detail. Their personalized attention is worth the price of admission alone.

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