Enjoy a visit to Lili’uokalani garden in Hilo, Hawaii
Exploring Lili’uokalani Garden in Hilo’s Banyan Drive area is one of the most scenic areas fronting Hilo bay and town. It is a fantastic park to explore and walk around the beautiful gardens, sweet bridges and lush plantings in a Japanese styled garden with gorgeous views of the area.
History of Lili’uokalani Gardens
Named after Queen Lili’uokalani who in 1907 donated five acres next to Hilo bay for a public park and this was later expanded to 17 acres by the legislative committee that increased the grounds to create a bigger park setting. The Queen died in 1917, the same month that the grounds were started for the garden which were named in honor of the Queen.
Under leadership of Mrs. T. Machada, the main mission of the garden board was to beautify the park grounds and add more Japanese features like a tea house, stone lanterns, sculptures, pagodas and a tori gate entrance for interest in exploring the park. The group planted Japanese shrubs, perennials and trees including bamboo, azaleas and pine trees to help to create a Japanese inspired themed garden. Eventually the garden started to include more ornate features like a stone arch bridge, a brightly painted red bridge, pavilions and additional tori gates around the entrances to the park.
Commemorated in memory of the late queen in 1919, the park also pays honor to the Japanese immigrant farmers that worked in the plantation farms around the island and helped build it’s agricultural heritage on the island.
The planning of the tea house was detailed and well planned with replicating a beautiful and typical styled tea house named Shoroan from a Kyoto styled structure. The tea house is used for primarily special services and events and to have tea tastings at the tea house for the public to experience.
The gardens today
Today, the gardens are mature and sits on a total of 24.5 acres with a series of tidepool lagoons filled with koi and tropical fish. You’ll find more rock formations and original lava rock patterns, beautiful stone lanterns and other Japanese garden features that are placed around the garden for interest and details to enjoy when walking through the various paths and elevated bridges.
The garden is a very popular spot with locals exercising, walking around the garden perimeter, doing yoga and Tai Chi in the morning. It is also used for doing family portraits and wedding photographs or even ceremonies.
Even the postal service loves Lili’uokalani gardens with a postal stamp created of the park grounds and red bridge.
For more details about current events and happenings around the gardens, check their Facebook page here for the latest news and calendar of events.
Directions on how to get to Lili’uokalani Gardens
Follow the Kamehameha Avenue from downtown Hilo and make a left on Manono street and follow until you reach the park on the right-hand side with parking on the street.
Address Banyan Dr, Hilo, HI 96720
Things to see a close to Lili’uokalani gardens
There are a variety of attractions that are an easy walk from the park to this section on Banyan drive where the hotels are mostly located for Hilo.
Banyan Drive – a street that is covered with mature banyan trees and planted by historic government and popular figures that visited the park. The trees are mature and create a beautiful canopy on the street where hotels for Hilo accommodations are plentiful
Coconut Island – close to Lili’uokalani gardens and a short walk through a bridge is this island that used to be a place of refuge in ancient times and is now a popular family-oriented park with two small bridges, a lava tower and gorgeous views looking out on the bay and Hilo town.
Suisan Fish market – a popular market for local seafood that is caught in the area. There is a deli counter for take out fish orders and different kinds of poke bowls and other prepared foods for sale including different kinds of seafood.
Public walkway to Hilo – you can follow the walkway that travels right next to Hilo bay all the way to downtown Hilo. This is a great way to enjoy the bay and scenery when you want to just walk to town and enjoy the outdoors here
Canoe club buildings – On Hilo bay, you can check out competing canoe clubs from the area practicing daily after hours and launching into Hilo Bay and doing their drills and other practice techniques for competition meetups around the island and state.
Reeds Bay – a larger bay located on the other side of Banyan drive past the hotels with nice grass areas and beach areas that are family friendly. The water is shallow at this beach which makes it a perfect place for sup paddling and kayaking the surrounding areas of the protected Hilo bay.
Other things to enjoy in the surrounding area of Hilo
Explore the Kaumana Caves State Park above Hilo downtown
Have you been to Lili’uokalani park in Hilo?
Please share your thoughts and other recommendations in the comments below with your recommendations.
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