Kona Hongwanji Mission
In 1897, Buddhists of the Shin sect in Kona built their first temple in Hookena, South Kona. Two years later, the mission was moved to Kainaliu and moved again in 1906 to its present site in central Kona. The original temple at this site was dedicated in 1907. It underwent several renovations in the years that followed until it was replaced in 1980 by the temple seen today. The stone arch fronting the temple, facing Mamalahoa Highway, was built in 1915. Another item of interest is the sculpted image of Amida Buddha on the main altar, carved in sandalwood and consecrated in 1933.
The mission has served Kona’s Shin Buddhist community over the past century by first meeting the needs of the immigrant issei (first generation), then of the nisei (second generation), and today of the sansei and yonsei (third and fourth generations). Important as a spiritual center, it has also provided many social, cultural, educational and even economic resources for a population which, particularly in the early days, sometimes spoke little or no English.
Copyright 1998 Kona Historical Society. Reprinted by permission.