UH Manoa Japanese gardens and campus
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The Japanese gardens near the East-West Center (building designed by I. M. Pei) at UH Manoa are a sanctuary of green lawns, pretty plants, tiny stone spirit houses, and a pond filled with koi. There is a Pink Cassia tree that was planted by the Prince and Princess of Japan in 1961. The garden is sunken, and often you are the only person there, which adds to the peaceful atmosphere. Above the Japanese garden is a magical Plumeria tree grove, and on a hill above it is a golden gazebo gifted to the university by Thailand.
Walk further uphill on East-West Road and you will get to the Center for Korean Studies, a colorful building built in 1972. Walk back down East-West Rd a little and cross the street. Walk through the campus (The Mall) under a canopy of monkeypod trees. You can stop for a snack at Plantation Cafe. Look between the buildings to Maile Way to see the beautiful mountains that tower over the campus. Continue walking along The Mall. When you pass the huge black sculpture you can look down the hill at a giant- I mean GIANT- Baobab Tree outside the Art building. You will arrive at a circular drive. Continue on- Hawaii Hall with its lovely columns and regal palms will be on your right. The Campus Center will be on your left and you can pick up a "rare trees on campus" brochure from the tickets window. You can also walk downstairs in the middle of Campus Center to check out the bookstore which has some great books about Hawaii and souvenirs such a Japanese snacks. Or you can eat upstairs at Campus Center in the dining hall, enjoying incredible views of Diamond Head.
Behind Hawaii Hall, find a large green lawn surrounded on all sides by some lovely colonial-style Hawaiian buildings.
Between Campus Center and the library is Manoa Gardens, an eatery currently supplied by Bale Sandwiches. On Thursday nights during the school year they have live bands playing, and graduate students drink beer at the outside tables. It's a lively scene.
Explore the beautiful town of Manoa while you're here. Surrounded by high mountain ridges and gifted with huge rainbows that span the entire sky nearly every afternoon, Manoa is a magical place with Victorian houses, large shade trees, natural foods grocery stores, and a strong sense of place. There are two delightful parks with playgrounds: the mystical-feeling University Avenue Park and Manoa Valley Park which has stunning mountain views. You could also take a muddy slippery hike to the stunning Manoa Falls. Also nearby is the high school President Barack Obama attended for seven years, Punahou School.
For another wonderful and inexpensive garden check out Foster Botanical Garden. When you leave the islands, be sure to enjoy the cultural gardens at the airport, accessible from the main terminal!
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To get to the Japanese gardens, exit the H1 freeway at University Ave. Turn right onto University Ave. Turn right again onto Dole St. Turn left at East West Rd. There will be a pay booth just up the road. Pay $3 for parking and ask them where to park. The Japanese gardens are behind the Hawaii Imim International Conference Center, the large building on the right just up from the pay booth.
This is an interactive map, you can zoom and move it.
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