Our History

For over 100 years, the Wahiawa Hongwanji has been providing the citizens of Wahiawa access to Buddha's teachings.

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. 

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

1911
Wahiawa 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.

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

1968
Japanese rock garden was build 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!   

Mi© Wahiawa Hongwanji Mission 2017