The largest authentic Japanese gardens outside of Japan, Liliuokalani Gardens present Japanese culture set on Hawaii’s Hilo Bay. Arched stone bridges, moats, stone lanterns, pagodas, and a tea house make up the gardens, which were named after Hawaii's last reigning monarch and dedicated to the immigrants who worked in the sugar fields.
Stroll with locals on the extensive trails in the garden’s 30-acre (12-hectare) park, or join a traditional ceremony at the tea house. Many guided tours of Hilo include a visit to the gardens, alongside stops at Big Island highlights such as Volcanoes National Park and Rainbow Falls. If you are visiting on a cruise ship shore excursion or visiting on a tour from another island, look for a guided day trip that includes Liliuokalani Gardens.Things to Know Before You Go
How to Get There
- A must-see for Japanese culture enthusiasts.
- The gardens are free and open 24 hours a day.
- The garden’s extensive trails are popular among local joggers.
- A footbridge connects the gardens to Moku Ola Island (Coconut Island).
- Paved walkways make much of the gardens wheelchair and stroller accessible.
Liliuokalani Gardens are located less than 3 miles (5 kilometers) from Hilo International Airport and near Hilo’s main street, Kamehameha Avenue. If you are staying in Hilo you can reach the garden on foot, by bicycle, or by car. The gardens also can be visited on tours from cruise ships or other islands.When to Get There
Average temperatures in Hawaii’s temperate climate typically remain stable year-round, rising to highs of about 85°F (29°C), making it a great spot to visit in any season. Wake up early and visit the gardens in the predawn quiet to watch the sunrise over the ocean. The gardens—open 24 hours—stay busy throughout the day.
Shoroan Tea House in Liliuokalani Gardens
The Shoroan Tea House holds traditional Japanese tea ceremonies free of charge. Take part in this Zen Buddhism ritual (known as Chado) in which bowls of tea are prepared in a traditional way and served to guests. There are also Japanese and English classes offered at the tea house. You can view the class schedule online.