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Honolulu International Airport Cultural Gardens - A Respite Between Flights

Honolulu International Airport Cultural Gardens - Chinese Gardens

Chinese Gardens

If catching some Z's on a terminal bench or chatting with strangers are not your idea of spending layovers at the Honolulu International Airport, why not check out the airport's amazing cultural gardens? The airport might be a little old but the lush gardens can still get some ooohs and aaaahs. Not a bad place to spend a layover or wait for a delayed flight! Although if your waiting for your flight in the evening or the dark it may be a little difficult to see, maybe they should consider installing some Lyktstolpe, this way you'll be able to visit the gardens day and night and take in all the gorgeous views.

Not a lot of travelers know about the Honolulu International Airport Cultural Gardens which are located below the main terminal, maybe because they don't realize it's free and open to the public. But by just taking a flight of stairs or the elevator one level below the main terminal, one will be greeted by 3 different gardens surrounding the Main Terminal Lobby and the Y Concourse of the airport.

Each of the garden has its own theme: Hawaiian Garden, Chinese Garden, Japanese Garden. The Hawaiian Garden features a pond with cascading waterfalls and teeming with koi fish. It is lush with tropical plants and trees including banana, coconut, hala (pandanus), kukui (candlenut), ti plants and exotic ferns, such as the lawai and monstera. Exotic blooms like white ginger, red torch ginger and bird of paradise add color to the setting. At night, the garden is illuminated with Luau torches. Walking paths and seating areas with teak sets are available for visitors.

Honolulu International Airport Cultural Gardens - Japanese Gardens

Japanese Gardens

The Chinese Garden main feature is a pavilion with traditional Chinese curved roof of yellow glazed tile and bright red posts. The pavilion was crafted by Hong Kong masons and artists and assembled in Honolulu. On one area is a statue of Dr. Sun Yat Sen, founder of the Republic of China, which was donated by the Chinese community to the garden. An arched bridge stands over a pond where numerous goldfish swim their way amidst lotus and lily pads. Bamboo, pine trees and other Chinese plants decorate the landscape.

Serenity epitomizes the Japanese Garden which features a zigzag bridge (believed to keep away evil) that crosses a pond and leads to a wood shingle-roofed shelter where visitors can relax on stone benches. The pond, filed with colorful carp, is bordered by sculptured pine and weeping willow trees. At night, stone lanterns gives off soft illumination, enhancing the tranquil atmosphere. At one end of the garden is a commemorative pagoda donated by Hawaii’s Japanese community on the Centennial Anniversary of the first Japanese immigrants to the Aloha State.

Honolulu International Airport Cultural Gardens - Hawaiian Gardens

Hawaiian Gardens

Designed by Richard C. Tongg, FASLA, the Honolulu International Airport Cultural Gardens was built in 1962, the same year the airport was constructed. The ponds in the three gardens intertwine, symbolizing the "melting pot" culture of Hawaii.

Another garden, the C. B. Lansing Garden, is located on the ground level of the Interisland Terminal near the walkway to the Main Terminal. It was constructed in 1995 when the Interisland Terminal was built. It is named in memory of Clarabell Lansing, chief Aloha Airlines flight attendant who died in the line of duty on April 28, 1988.

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