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North Manoa Valley

We found centuries of history tucked in Manoa Valley.


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1 Manoa Chinese Cemetery
This cemetery is the oldest (155 years old) and largest (34 acres) Chinese cemetery in the state. Look for the Grand Ancestor’s Tomb overlooking the cemetery; around it marches the Chinese Zodiac, a gift from the Taiwanese government. Another notable feature is the Tomb of the Unknown Chinese Soldiers. In the late 1940s, the remains of seven Chinese World War II soldiers were shipped to Hawaii by accident. The Army buried them here. 3225 Pakanu St.

A gazebo welcomes weary visitors at the Lyon Arboretum.

2 Harold L. Lyon Arboretum
Harold Lyon wrote that “at least 100 acres would be required” to create a botanical garden. Founded in 1918, the 194-acre arboretum that bears his name more than meets his acreage requirement. Today, you can hike trails that take you through 10 valleys. Interesting points include a native Hawaiian garden and Aihualama Falls. “We have our own falls that have nothing to do with Manoa Falls,” says Toki Murakami, the arboretum’s secretary. Sign in at the welcome center and get a free map of the area. 3860 Manoa Road, 988-0456.

3 Waioli Tea Room and Chapel
“Don’t let the song go out of your life,” reads the memorial to George Wilcox, who helped establish the Salvation Army Children’s Home in 1922. It has since been converted into a tea room. “One of our popular items is the Waioli Curry Chicken,” says Shawn Ito, who greets visitors at the door. “Our eggs Benedict is also really good. We make our own hollandaise sauce.” It’s sure to keep the song in your life. 2950 Manoa Road, 988-5800.

Margo Vitarelli shows off some of the native plants found at the Manoa Heritage Center.

4 Manoa Heritage Center
“There used to be about 12 heiau in the valley, but ours is the only one left,” says Margo Vitarelli, the center’s education director. The rest were destroyed as Manoa was developed. After visiting the sacred Hawaiian site, you can peruse a garden of rare native plants and a historic house that hails from 1911. All three attractions can be found at the Manoa Heritage Center, making it—like its heiau—a one-of-a-kind destination. Reservations are required. 2859 Manoa Rd., 988-1287.

5 Island Manapua Factory
Second-century Chinese strategist Zhuge Liang supposedly invented bao, or what we call manapua. It’s a bun with filling, and Island Manapua has been making lots of it since 1983. You can get ordinary pork manapua, or fancier versions such as baked Peking duck: duck, celery, onions, mushrooms and hoisin sauce wrapped in a semi-sweet bun. Best of all, most sell for less than a dollar. 2752 Woodlawn Drive #5-113, 988-5441.

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Honolulu Magazine November 2018
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