Honoka‘a Hongwanji Buddhist Temple

45-5016 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.