Honoka‘a Hongwanji Buddhist Temple

45-516 Lehua Street Honoka'a, HI 96727
(808) 775-7232 

Honokaa Hongwanji was established in 1904 with Rev. Joei Abe of Papaaloa ministering in various temporary temples.

In October 1905, the first temple was erected and it was originally known as Hamakua Hongwanji because it served the entire Hamakua district.

In 1913, Paauilo and Kukaiau separated from Honokaa because transportation was difficult and the population of Japanese immigrants was rapidly growing. Hamakua Hongwanji was renamed Honokaa Hongwanji at this time.

In 1929, Rev. Kobun Araki became the seventh resident minister and constructed a judo hall that same year. Rev. Araki’s replacement, the eighth minister Rev. Giko Tsuge, would go on to serve for 25 years, four of which were spent interned during World War II. The Hongwanji closed during the war and all related activities came to a halt. Rev. Tsuge returned after the war in December 1945 and oversaw many notable achievements. The judo hall was remodeled and enlarged, a dining hall constructed, 23,000 square feet of land was purchased for $2,721, and the combined gymnasium and social hall were built by 1950.

In 1951, the second temple structure and minister’s residence were constructed.

In January 1966, Rev. Toshimasa Nakanishi became the tenth resident minister, and during his nine years of service, Honokaa Sugar Company graciously donated the 10,000 square feet of land where the judo hall stood. The judo hall and Japanese school building were both replaced with modern two-story structures and were completed in time for the 65th anniversary in October 1970.

In May 2021, Rev. Masanari Yamagishi is assigned 4 temples in Hawaii District that includes the Honoka'a Hongwanji Mission. We look forward to learning from, and with, Rev. Yamagishi under the guidance of Amida Buddha’s Wisdom and Compassion.

Meet Rev. Masanari Yamagishi, newly assigned to Hawaii Betsuin!

Read the announcement from Honpa Hongwanji Hawaii Betsuin

Reverend Yamagishi

Hello, everyone!

Nice to meet you!  I am Reverend Masanari Yamagishi.

I am happy to be assigned 4 temples in Hawaii District.  This is my first assignment in Hawaii.  I hope to see you all members at the church and online as soon as possible.  We have some difficult due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  However, I believe we are always connecting each other with the teaching of the Nembutsu.  I would like to spend a wonderful time with all of members at the temple service and fundraising event, and recite the Nembutsu together under the guidance of Amida Buddha’s Wisdom and Compassion.


I am from Toyama prefecture in Japan and am the third son of a temple family.  I received Tokudo ordination at the age of 18.  After I graduated from Ryukoku University in Kyoto, I worked as an office worker in a company in Toyama.   However, after I experienced the loss of family members, I changed my mind and the incident led me to a period of trying to find myself and to understand what was happening in my life.  It was at that point that I returned to a life of studying, and I decided to become a minister.

In 2018, I got my first assignment, which was to be a resident minister of Buddhist Church of Lodi and a supervising minister of Walnut Grove Buddhist Church in California.  I transferred from BCA to Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii in February 2020.  I completed the training program at Hawaii Betsuin until the end of July, and I was under HQ, and now I am assigned to Kamuela Hongwanji, Honokaa Hongwanji, Kohala Hongwanji and Paauilo Hongwanji from May 1, 2021.

See you soon! Thank you.

In Gassho,

Reverend Masanari Yamagishi

Statement on the Right to Reproductive Freedom


We deeply lament the recent decision by the United States Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, curtailing the ability of individuals especially women to make reproductive healthcare decisions for themselves.  Continue reading by clicking the link below.

A statement from the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii