By Molly Goad
Hawaii’s Byodo-In Temple has inspired a special pictorial postmark honoring the state’s rich history with Japan.
Now celebrating 50 years, the temple was built in 1968 for the 100-year anniversary of the first Japanese immigration to Hawaii. It represents a smaller version of the more than 950-year-old Byodo-In Temple in Uji, Japan. The original is a United Nations World Heritage Site.
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The Hawaiian replica is located on the eastern side of the island of Oahu near the town of Kaneohe inside Valley of the Temples Memorial Park (the postmark’s sponsor).
The postmark features two koi carp symbolizing the hundreds of Japanese fish living in the large reflective pond located on temple grounds. The landscaped area is also home to wild peacocks, black swans, meditation niches and waterfalls.
The United States Postal Service issued a $6.70 stamp featuring the temple on Jan. 21. The stamp is available in panes of four and fulfills the new rate for Priority Mail in the regular flat-rate envelope. A black pictorial first-day cancel consisting of text within a temple outline is also being offered.
The stamp was issued without a first-day ceremony; however, the Postal Service held a free dedication event at the temple on Jan. 23.
Dennis Boser Jr., area general manager for Valley of the Temples, and Kanani Alos, Kaneohe postmaster, were scheduled to speak before unveiling the stamp. Attendees could receive a free hand cancellation with the special pictorial postmark.
The nonpracticing Buddhist temple welcomes people of all faiths to worship, reflect and meditate. The grounds are often used for weddings for Hawaiians or visitors from Japan. A 9-foot statue of Amida Buddha perched on a gold leaf greets visitors inside the temple. The temple has been incorporated into several TV series, including Hawaii Five-O, Magnum, P.I. and Lost.
Located at the foot of the Ko’olau Mountains, Valley of the Temples Memorial Park was founded in 1963 and encompasses 240 acres of land, including about 40 acres of undeveloped beauty. The grounds house large statues, crypts and mausoleums.
To obtain the postmark, address your request to:
VALLEY OF THE TEMPLES Station, Marketing Office, 3600 Aolele St., No. 106, Honolulu, HI 96820-9998, Jan. 23.