Daifukuji Soto Mission: A part of Kona history


Editor’s note: West Hawaii Today, in conjuction with the Kona Historical Society, is pleased to present readers a weekly feature compiled by the society called “A Guide to Old Kona.” These articles and accompanying photographs have been compiled and provided by Kona Historical Society and were published in a book of the same title.

Daifukuji Soto Mission

This Buddhist temple was dedicated on May 27, 1921, fulfilling the dream of the Reverend Kaiseki Kodama, founder of the first Kona Soto Mission in 1914. Before its construction, Kodama held services in nearby Hanato Store and other temporary quarters. The present temple was designed and built in part by Yoshisuke Sasaki, the owner of Keauhou Store. Over the years a social hall, minister’s living quarters, and rooms for a Japanese School enlarged the 1921 structure.

In 1926, the Kealakekua Japanese Language School was opened here under Reverend Hosokawa. She also assisted at the Napoopoo Japanese Language School several miles south of Honalo. Japanese school at night helped to promote education for women. Although this language school was closed during World War II, it was the first school to be reopened after the war in 1948.

In July, the Obon Festival, featuring traditional Japanese folk dances and singing, is held at the temple. Visitors are welcome.