• Our thoughts are with the victims and families affected by the Boston Marathon atrocity

    Our thoughts are with the victims and families affected by the Boston Marathon atrocity on April 15, 2013. Words fall short of expressing our sorrow to those who lost their lives and those who were injured.

    Valley of the Temples is hosting a book of condolences for the public to write messages to the victims and their families. We hope this small gesture will bring together our own community to offer encouragement and strength to all who have been affected. The book will be available to the public from April 16 – May 1 from 10am – 5pm daily and will be shared with the families and victims.

  • Understanding Japanese Funeral Traditions

    Small flower

    Cemetery arrangements and funerals are a way to show love and respect to the deceased. Different cultures celebrate past lives in various ways, but they all seek to honor the memory of the deceased loved one. Cemetery arrangements are also a first step toward healing. Although traditional Japanese funerals vary in their specifics, they have a few general aspects in common.

    Preparation of the Deceased In the past, the family would wash the body of the loved one; these days, this practice is generally conducted by the hospital. Once the body is cleaned, it’s dressed in either a suit or a kimono, depending if the deceased is a man or a woman. Just as with funerals from many other cultures, makeup is applied to preserve the deceased’s appearance.

    Preparation of the Casket Dry ice is placed at the bottom of the casket and the deceased is placed on top. A white kimono, sandals, and six coins are placed in the casket for the journey in the afterlife. Family members also commonly place treasured personal possessions of the deceased in the casket. The head of the casket is positioned so it faces the north or west while on top of the altar.

    Guests at the Funeral Guests who attend the funeral are expected to wear black. Men typically wear suits, and women wear either dresses or kimonos. The guests might also carry a juzu, a Buddhist prayer bead. Each guest brings a special black and silver envelope, which contains condolence money for the survivors.

    The Cemetery Arrangement Typically, the funeral service is conducted on the day following the wake. The deceased will receive a new Buddhist name in accordance with the belief that the deceased may return if his or her name is uttered. Flowers might be placed in the casket before it is sealed and transported to the cemetery. Cemetery arrangements typically include a stone monument with areas for flowers, incense, and water.

    When you make cemetery arrangements, consider how you and your family would like to celebrate the life of your loved one. The compassionate and culturally sensitive staff at the Valley of the Temples Memorial Park in Oahu can help you with the cemetery arrangements. We also offer funeral pre-planning services. Contact us today at (808) 239-8811 or visit our website to learn more.

  • A Guide to Your Options for Honoring Your Loved One’s Life

    Hawaiian Gardens

    Each person grieves the loss of a loved one in his or her unique way. There is never any right or wrong way to cherish the memories of your loved one. Let your intuition and remembrance of your loved one guide you as you make decisions regarding the cemetery arrangements. The staff at the cemetery can help you explore your options for memorials, which may include the following:

    Memorial Items Consider having personalized memorial items printed in remembrance of your loved one. The staff at the cemetery will walk you through your options, which might include service programs and prayer cards. Consider including a personal tribute to your loved one on these items, such as a photo or a poem that your loved one cherished. These memorial items will give the funeral guests a means of remembering their lost loved one for years to come.

    Tribute Videos Tribute videos are a touching addition to a funeral service. Provide the cemetery personnel with family photographs, which can be combined with thoughtful music to produce a cinematic remembrance of your loved one.

    Memorial Websites Over the years, your family members and the friends of your lost loved one may have moved away. Memorial websites provide a personal connection to all mourners, no matter where they may be. You can upload your family photos and videos to the website and invite fellow mourners to do the same.

    Live Webcasts It can sometimes be difficult for all mourners to attend the cemetery service if they live far away and are unable to travel. Still, many find that a funeral service is an integral part of the mourning process; it allows family and friends to share memories of the loved one and say a final goodbye. For mourners who cannot physically attend the service, a live webcast could be the answer.

    Receive the guidance you need to plan a touching tribute to your loved one. Contact the compassionate staff of the Valley of the Temples Memorial Park to discuss cemetery arrangements. You can reach our Oahu office at (808) 239-8811.

  • The History of the Byodo-In Temple

    yellow protea

    Like many other cultures, Japanese culture places history and tradition in high regard. Understanding the significance of cherished cultural icons can bring you one step closer to understanding Japan’s people and values. One of Japan’s beloved cultural fixtures is the Byodo-In Temple. Keep reading to learn about the history of this temple and its place in Japanese culture.

    Building and Conversion The Byodo-In Temple was built in 998 A.D. in Uji, Kyoto. This date falls in the Heian period, which was characterized by its many developments in art and literature. Just like many other Japanese temples, the Byodo-In Temple was initially built to be a private residence; in this case for Fujiwara no Yorimichi, Chief Advisor to the Emperor. Another member of the Fujiwara family converted the residence into a temple in 1052.

    Temple Complex Originally, the complex of the Byodo-In Temple was quite large, with numerous buildings and a pond whose beach touched the banks of the Uji River. The complex had been expanded in 1053 with the addition of the Phoenix Hall. Unfortunately, the complex suffered significant damage in a fire during a civil war in 1336. The Phoenix Hall remains, however, and to this day it contains the Amida Buddha, a prized nine-foot statue. The Amida Buddha and the Phoenix Hall are classified as Japanese National Treasures.

    Temple Replica The Byodo-In Temple is so revered in Japanese culture that a replica was built in the 1960’s. This temple is located near the scenic Ko’olau Mountains on Oahu, Hawaii. The newer Byodo-In Temple is a non-practicing Buddhist temple that welcomes visitors who wish to reflect on the storied history of the complex.

    You can admire the beauty of the Byodo-In Temple replica by visiting the Valley of the Temples Memorial Park in Oahu, Hawaii. Contact us at (808) 239-8811 or visit our website to learn more about us. We also offer compassionate cemetery services and funeral arrangements.

  • The Basics of Grief and How Our Funeral Home Can Help


    It’s natural to feel grief after losing a loved one. Grief is a highly personal emotion, and everybody experiences it in different ways. Throughout the grieving process, which may last for months or years, it is normal to experience different emotions. The five stages of grief are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. However, it’s not unusual to experience these stages in different patterns. Although you will always cherish the memories of the departed, with time comes healing. Gradually, the pain of grief will diminish, and it will be easier to cope with the loss. Throughout the mourning process, reach out to your other loved ones for mutual support. Talking to others at the cemetery can help you cope with the loss and share memories of your loved one. Many people also find comfort in consulting a professional counselor.

    When it’s time to say goodbye to your loved one, the compassionate staff of the Valley of the Temples Memorial Park can help guide you through the funeral process. Contact our Oahu, Hawaii office today at (808) 239-8811 to discuss cemetery arrangements. You may also find solace in our Byodo-In Temple.