Our Guests

We are blessed to have many visitors stop by Hamakua Jodo Mission from all over the world. Many of them have become fast friends and have stayed in touch with us! This page features photos taken of some of our visitors along with some photos taken by them, too.

If you want to arrange a tour of our historic temple, or submit photos, please feel free to send an email to: contact@hamakuajodomission.org

Dr. Erika Hori is an accomplished professor at Nagoya University in Japan who has done extensive research on Katsu Goto and teaches about him to her students. She has visited HJM several times and in 2017, conducted informative lectures and presentations on Mr. Goto at the Honokaa Hongwanji and Lyman Museum.

Hamakua Jodo Mission is a symbol of peace and friendship between Hawaii and Japan. As a historian from Japan, I am working on my book on Katsu Goto to keep his legacy alive.” – Dr. Erika Hori

World renowed taiko drum master Kenny Endo and his ensemble stopped by for a tour in July 2019 . We were fortunate to have Kenny demonstrate his talent with our vintage HJM taiko drum.

“We enjoyed the visit to the temple and learned a lot about the history of the area. We were shocked to hear about the story of Mr Goto and that he was lynched.  His story should be told more widely to prevent this type of racism.” – Chizuko and Kenny Endo, Taiko Center of the Pacific, Honolulu, HI 96816

Ron Takata, a retired Honolulu Community College chemistry professor frequents HJM often to bring many visitors for a tour. He has introduced us to many contacts, including international researchers and professors. Ron has a great wealth of knowledge about Hawaii sugar plantations and has become a good friend of HJM. Ron took the photo on the left of Katsu Goto’s gravesite. Mahalo Ron for your enthusiasm, humor and giving our temple much needed exposure!

“Hamakua Jodo Mission is a magnificent historical and cultural gem of Hawaii’s plantation era.  The temple, people, and history remind us of the arduous and sometimes tragic path to the present.  The magnificent, carved koa altar, Katsu Goto’s grave, and the current members are very special representatives of country values and life.” – Ron Takata

Kona architect John Hetherington and his lovely wife, Marie Luise visited HJM in February 2020. He helped us with drawings that were needed to determine occupancy limits for our temple and dining hall required by the fire marshal. John graciously did the work pro bono and took a genuine interest in the history of HJM. We appreciate his generosity and willingness to help us. Much aloha and respect goes out to John & Marie Luise!

“I was fortunate enough to be asked to do an Architectural site visit at the Hamakua Jodo Mission. My wife and I both love the area so we went together on a day trip. We were both welcomed to the grounds with loving open arms and enjoyed every minute of the time we spent with Sandy and Masa, feeling their care and respect for the both the living spirit and the history of the temple and the land. The architecture and the craftsmanship of the temple and the altar area are classic and inspirational. The grounds and temple are an amazing treasure on the Big Island.” – John Hetherington

Jim Waddington, a retired Hawaii Pacific University accounting professor and his wife Cindy visited HJM in September 2020 and took a tour of our grounds. The photo on the left is just one of the photos he took that captures our temple’s uniqueness. Jim is an active part of the North Hawaii Bon Dance Club and can be seen at bon dances throughout the island, including ours.

“It’s really inspirational to spend time at the Hamakua Jodo Mission.  The beautifully maintained historic buildings in a serene rural setting provide the perfect atmosphere for peaceful contemplation.  As the oldest sanctioned Buddhist temple in Hawaii, it is truly worth a visit!” – Jim Waddington

This fun couple from Japan stopped by in the fall of 2019 while our cottage was being renovated. They visited HJM previously and always make it a point to visit our temple when traveling to the Big Island.

Dr. Yoshinori Kato was a guest visitor in 2017. He is an academic scholar and researcher from Oiso, Japan, which is also the hometown of Katsu Goto. Dr. Kato has done extensive fact finding about Mr. Goto’s life and has been collaborating with Patsy Iwasaki, as a local investigator and mediator in Oiso for her upcoming documentary film on Mr. Goto. Dr. Kato continues to educate people about Mr. Goto’s life via his academic expertise. He took several photos of Katsu Goto’s gravesite during his recent visit.

“I visited the temple and presented a talk ‘Deciphering the Stone: Revealing The Footprints of Katsu Goto Through a Gravestone Inscription’. I am showing those pictures to audiences in Japan to indicate the Goto’s gravesite in Hawaii.” – Dr. Yoshinori Kato

Derek Kurisu, Executive Vice President of KTA Super Stores and host of the popular television show “Seniors Living in Paradise” took a tour of HJM in February 2020. He also managed to do an impromptu interview with HJM President Masa Nishimori & HJM member Sandy Takahashi for a segment on his show.

Rev. Kogan Ekuan’s family stopped by in March 2020. His daughter, Yoshiko Dacanay and his son, Gorden Ekuan visited with some of our elder members and shared many memories of growing up at HJM. A good time was had by all reminiscing about the past.

I visited Hamakua Jodo Mission, HJM, in March of 2020. I have fond memories of HJM. This is a must place for me to visit.

My visit last year was wonderful. I was able to meet the 4 dedicated members of HJM who are doing all the upkeep. I am very thankful to the following people I met during my visit. Sandy Takahashi, Nadao Honda, Masa Nishimori, and Sueichi Kawashima.

The HJM sits on an incredibly beautiful and peaceful surrounding. The buildings, lawn and graveyard are very well kept. We are all hoping HJM will become a historical place. The architecture of the temple is similar to the building techniques used in Japan using no nails.

There is a huge 2-piece carving of 2 dragons facing each other made of koa wood that is placed above the alter. This carving was made by a Japanese carpenter nearly 120 years ago.” – Gorden Ekuan

Vickie & Ernest, visiting from Gary, Indiana took a tour of our temple & cemetery. They took the time to ask questions about HJM’s history and showed great interest in the temple’s architecture. They also expressed deep respect for the practices, customs and traditions of Buddhism. We hope to have them visit us again on their next trip to Hawaii!

“Beauty beyond words!” – Vickie & Ernest

Photographer Sarah Anderson did a photo shoot of HJM in the spring of 2019. Her gorgeous photos have been used on our websites and publicity projects. If you ever need professional photography services, give Sarah a call!

“Living within walking distance of the temple is quite amazing. I hear the voices of the ancestors blowing through the ironwood pines as my little dog chases scents around the buildings. The temple stands solid in the bright tradewinds, bowing to history.” – Sarah Anderson

Photo © 2019 Sarah Anderson

East coast visitor John Arsenault stopped by HJM several times during one of his Big Island vacations. He took some aerial shots and video of our property using a drone. John graciously shared them with us, such as the photo on the left. His video of our temple can be seen on our “VIDEOS” section of this website.

Photo © 2020 John Arsenault

Jim Kohl, a retired MIT professor dropped by HJM in search of finding the gravesite of Katsu Goto. He has since visited us several times and have expressed interest in helping us find ways to preserve our historic temple.

“I recently discovered this historic Buddhist temple while searching the Honoka’a environs for the gravesite of Katsu Goto, the Big Island’s first labor leader. Both the temple and Katsu Goto rest high upon a hill, their history largely unknown. This is unfortunate. The temple is an architectural masterpiece, constructed over a century ago by Japanese immigrant laborers–after their day’s work on a sugar plantation. Surprisingly, the temple is omitted from the numerous Honoka’a buildings designated as “National Historic Places” worthy of preservation.

I found Katsu Goto’s grave behind the temple in a dilapidated graveyard. He deserves better. Hanged on a telephone pole crossbar in 1889 by a local businessman and a plantation foreman because of his advocacy of the human rights of Japanese workers, Katsu Goto’s death would in today’s world be considered a hate crime. His grave and hundreds of others, eroded by rain, cracked and distorted by earthquakes, are in need of preservation, as is the iconic Jodo Buddhist temple overlooking the ocean–crossed over a century ago by Japanese immigrants in search of a new life.” – Jim Kohl

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