Temple History:

Since 1914 the Daifukuji Soto Mission has stood along Mamalahoa Highway at the gateway to mauka Kona on the island of Hawai'i.

The temple, which holds tremendous significance as one of the oldest existing structures in the area, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has recently received recognition as a Kona Heritage Building by the non-profit organization Pulama Ia Kona.

In 1914 the Reverend Kaiseki Kodama arrived in Kona and held services at the former Hanato Store which was located across the street from the present temple location.

Wearing an old pair of shoes and carrying a black umbrella, he walked around the entire island twice in order to collect the donations needed to build a temple. In 1915, the first temple, a small structure made of the simplest materials, was built a few hundred yards above and to the north of the present site and officially named Hakuhozan Daifukuji (Temple of Great Happiness on White Mountain Peak) by the Zen abbots of the head temples Eiheiji and Sojiji in Japan. In 1920 construction of a new temple at its present location was begun and on May 27, 1921 the main hall was dedicated and a Buddha image enshrined. The temple is an eclectic blend of Western and traditional Japanese forms and building methods. It was designed by Kona Issei Yoshisuke Sasaki and constructed by head carpenter Teruyoshi Ikenouchi and others.

This Soto Zen temple sits in the coffee and macadamia nut farming community of Honalo in the district of Kona. It served to help the Japanese immigrants retain the faith and culture of their homeland during a time when they suffered great hardship in adapting to life in a new country. Here, far from home, the immigrants were able to gather and pray, attend marriage and funerary rites, and pay respects to their ancestors. The temple was the hub of the Japanese immigrant community and a source of great comfort and stability. Throughout its history the ministers and their spouses have served their community in significant ways as teachers of Zen Buddhism, and Japanese language and culture.

Today the Daifukuji membership is multicultural, multiethnic, and multigenerational. The young work alongside their elders in cleaning and maintaining this beautiful temple which is home to various temple groups. In addition to providing Buddhist services, meditation, and study, the temple hosts two taiko groups, an orchid club, a women's spirituality circle, and an ukulele group. It is a gathering place for those who wish to deepen their spiritual and social lives together with friends on the Path.

  updated 06-09-12