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Our History

For over 110 years, the Wahiawa Hongwanji has been providing the citizens of Wahiawa access to Buddha's teachings and a Grateful outlook on life.

From humble beginnings the Wahiawa Hongwanji Mission was built by men and women of diversified religious beliefs and backgrounds.  They toiled the land long hours, worked hard and gave much of their time and earnings to build the mission.

The family religion of many of the Issei leaders and followers was not necessarily Shin Buddhism (Jodo Shinshu).  But realizing that they could not all have a place of their own to worship due to a lack in numbers, they banded together to help build the mission. 


Only through such spirit of camaraderie and dedication to attain a common goal was the building of the Mission made possible to impart the teachings of the Buddha dharma.  In the process, it enabled members the opportunity to further pursue their life ambitions on educating their children both in the Japanese language and in the principles vital to their culture, such as loyalty and perseverance.  The sacrifices made and the teachings imparted to their children paid off in immense dividends over the years as attested by the progressive and outstanding performances of the generations that followed. 

  • 1908Shin Buddhist temple established in Wahiawa as part of Honpa Hongwanji Mission.

  • 1911Wahiawa Hongwanji becomes an independent temple.  Affiliated organizations were soon formed.

  • 1927 - Current 2 acre temple grounds were purchased for over $20,000.

  • 1939 - YBA Hall was enlarged and a playground was built in the gulch.

  • 1941 - Plans for a new temple were put in abeyance because of World War II.

  • 1942 - Property seized by US government and used by public schools for two years.

  • 1945 - Property was returned to temple.

  • 1946 - Rev. Ryugen Matsuda initiated early Japanese Service (Oasaji).

  • 1949 - Present temple completed.

  • 1951 - Fire destroys BYA Hall and portions of the Japanese school house.  Plans were made to immediately reconstruct a new hall and classrooms.

  • 1954 - Ground-breaking ceremony for new BWA Hall (Social Hall) and classrooms.

  • 1957 - After nearly three years of volunteer help, the Social Hall and classrooms were opened.

  • 1958 - Tengai (Heavenly Canopy) and Tsuri Toro (Suspended Lantern) were donated and installed in the temple altar.

  • 1962 - Front portion of temple was built for a cost of ~$10,000.

  • 1966 - Construction of Columbarium begun.

  • 1967Columbarium completed at a cost of $56,000.

  • 1968 - Japanese rock garden was built as a memorial.

  • 1978 - Five year capital improvement began; the goal of this plan was to build: the Minister's residence, a new kitchen, renovation of restrooms, re-flooring of the YBA Hall, and the perimeter fence.  All projects were completed for a cost of $293,000.

  • 1983 - Wahiawa Hongwanji Mission 75th Anniversary Celebration.

  • 1988 - The onaijin (alter) was renovated.  Shinran Shonin Statue (pictured in Web page banner) donated by Terao Family to commemorate the Temple's 80th anniversary.

  • 1990 - The Bonsho (large bell) and Shoro (canopy) were donated by Terao Family.

  • 1994 - After 86 years of service the Hongwanji Gakuen (Japanese Language School) was closed in June.

  • 1997 - Hoala School, a nonsectarian school, began using the Temple's classrooms.

  • 2006 - Wahiawa Hongwanji Mission begins making a concerted effort to be more visible in the community by particpating in parades, festivals, and service projects.

  • 2008 - Wahiawa Hongwanji Mission Celebrates its 100th Anniversary of practicing Shin Buddhism in Central Oahu!

  • 2012-2013 - Major campus renovations completed to include upgrading the kitchen and reroofing of the Japanese school and Social Hall.

  • 2017 - Parking lot repaved.

  • 2018 - Celebrated 110 years in Wahiawa.

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