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A Stroll through Japan in Hawaii: Liliuokalani Gardens

When you walk through Hawaii you may expect to see the Polynesian culture that Hollywood has fed to you: leis, hula, and beautiful serene beaches. And you would not be wrong. Hawaii has also been known for its large Japanese population and heritage so it might not be a surprise that nestled in Hilo is said to be the largest Edo style garden outside the island nation of Japan.UP3A6341

The park itself is on the end of Banyan Tree Drive which is a fun spot on its own. Each Banyan tree planted there was planted there by a famous celebrities from former president, then senator, Richard Nixon, to baseball legend Babe Ruth.

The gardens contain Waihou Pond, bridges, koi ponds, pagodas, statues, torii (those Japanese arches), and a Japanese tea house.

UP3A6418When I was there the Tea House was not open but I do hear that it is only open for special occasions anyway. If you are looking for a place to take a quiet walk or just relax this is a great place to do it. Admission is free which is always a perk I tend to pursue. Plus, in the bay you may even spot some turtles that like to feed there!

UP3A6410Attached by a foot bridge is the small island of Mokuola, or Coconut island. I did not see any coconuts while I was there so I’m not quite sure where the name comes from. The Hawaiian name for the island, Moku ok, translates to “island of healing” and was previously the location of an ancient temple dedicated to healing.

UP3A6313While there is not much medicinal healing going on there anymore it offers a nice swimming area and a picnic pavilions to make a swell afternoon. There is even an old tower, from a now nonexistent bridge, that many people jump off of into the water. I’d say it’s about 10 feet high. So a normal high dive.

UP3A6328The island offers great views of Hilo Bayfront, Downtown Hilo and the rest of Hilo Bay. To the east you can see the massive breakwater of Hilo Bay.

UP3A6321If you are coming from the port the walk is pretty easy but that is coming from someone who walks everywhere. The Hoppa On Hoppa Off bus there makes one of its stops there.


My Travel Itinerary for the Remainder of 2017: Hawaii, USA

Hello there friends. How are we today?

Unlike many travel bloggers I’ve come across they pick their locations very carefully, budgeting for months where they are going, planning the seconds they are in each destination.
Well I can’t exactly do that. I work on cruise ships after all and once that ship leaves port I have to be on it. The cool part of my job is that I’m pretty much assigned where I’m going to be for 6 months at a time. I’m not chained to one location.
And for the remainder of this year I am contracted to be sailing in the beautiful islands of Hawaii. With stops in Oahu, Maui, Hawaii (Big Island), and Kauai. I am very excited about what the Aloha state has to offer.


My previous co-worker gave me a master list of things to do and see while I’m here so I broke it down by Island:


  • Kapaeleele Trail
  • Ala Moana Beach
  • Diamond Head Trail
  • Haiku Steps/Stairway to Heaven
  • Hanauma Bay
  • Judd Trail
  • Ka’au Crater
  • Koko Arch
  • Lanipo Trail
    Olomana Trail
  • Mo’ole Valley Falls
  • Lulumahu Falls
  • Makiki Valley Trail
  • Waahila Trail
  • Waikiki


  • Waihee Ridge Trail
  • 13 Crossings
  • Bamboo Forest (Pipiwai Trail)
  • Iao Valley
  • Jaws
  • Kula Forest Reserve
  • Chutes and Ladders
  • Haleakala
  • Ho’okipa
  • Kahana Beach
  • King’s Trail
  • Lahaina (Pali Trail)
  • Maui Ocean Center
  • Road to Hana
  • Paia
  • Stable Road Beach
  • Twin Falls
  • Waihou Spring Trail

Hawaii (Big Island)

  • Akaka Falls
  • Ahalanui Warm Ponds
  • Captain Cook Hike
  • Hilo Falls
  • Honolii Beach Park
  • Kahalu’u Beach
  • Carlsmith Beach
  • End of the World
  • Rainbow Falls
  • Liliuokalani Park & Japanese Gardens
  • Volcanoes National Park
  • Kiholo Bay
  • Lapakahi State Historical Park
  • Pineapple Park
  • Pololu Valley
  • Pu’u Wa’awa’a
  • Leleiwi Park
  • Mauna Kea
  • Onomea Bay
  • Panaewa Zoo
  • Shipman’s Beach (Puna Trail & Haena Beach)
  • Waiale Falls


  • Kalalau Trail (Hanakapiai Beach & Falls)
  • Na Pali Coast
  • Jurassic Gates
    • Manawaiopuna Falls (Jurassic Park Waterfall)
  • Kalapaki Beach
  • Green Sand Beach
  • Hanalei
  • Hanapepe
  • Hideaway Beach
  • Kapaa
  • Larsen’s BEach
  • Milolii Ridge Trail
  • Holihale State Park
  • Powerline Trail
  • Sleeping Giant (Nounou)
  • Lihue
  • Mahaulepu Beach (Gillin’s Beach, Kawailoa, & Ha’ula Beach)
  • Menehune Fish Pond
  • Poipu
  • Rock Quarry Beach
  • Salt Pond Beach Park
  • Secret Tunnel Hike (Kaapoko Tunnels)
  • Sea Lodge Beach (Kaweonui Beach)
  • Turtle Cove
  • Wahiawa Beach
  • Wai Koa Trail
  • Waimea Canyon
    • Kuikui Trail
  • Wyllie Beach

As you can tell he was an avid hiker so there are quite a lot of trails but what better way to see the beauty of these islands? Unlike my colleague I am a certified SCUBA diver so I plan on hitting the sea floor as well, especially in Kailua-Kona, where the visibility is incredible.

If you have any recommendations or advice please feel free to comment below as I explore each island as thoroughly as possible. Or if you heard of a place that you are curious about and can’t get down here yourself maybe I’ll try it one of these days.

The Quiet Country Side: Lidice & Terezin, Czech Republic

There are many towns in the Czech Republic that are worth the day trip. A trip to Lidice and Terezin will bring you to the WWII section of Czech’s history.

About 30 minutes outside the city of Prague is Lidice, or at least, where Lidice used to be.

The Nazis leveled the town to nothing, killing almost all of the inhabitants and sending Aryan looking children to SS families in Germany. This town was not Jewish if that’s what you are thinking. It was Christian.

11070962_10206384471197691_1437589520490169913_n.jpgIt was punished for hiding the assassins that took down the Protectorate Reinhardt Heydrich, the mastermind behind the “great extermination” and Hitler’s right hand man.

Lidice is now a grass valley filled with memorials. Talk a walk down the path and you will find a collection of child statues. It is for the 88 children of Lidice that were sent to Poland and gassed. At the foot of the bronze statues of children are stuffed animals and candles that people have brought in remembrance.

To say it is powerful would be an understatement. An entire community completely obliterated for selflessly all to keep their hero keep out of reach of the enemy.

Continuing onward, Terezin is about an hour from Lidice. We arrived at the ghetto museum. Terezin is a normal town, unlike what I had seen in my previous visit to Krakow’s ghetto. So it may catch you by surprise on how different it looks from other ghettos. This is because this ghetto was the beautified by the Germans to trick the Red Cross delegation to think that the ghettos were nice places for people to be kept. The Germans succeeded.

Many artists and well known and respected figures were kept here. People who would be missed if they simply vanished like many families and neighbors did during this time. After the delegation left more than half of the population was sent to Auschwitz.1900048_10206384475757805_1280837162194926976_n.jpg

The small fortress itself was interesting and worth the tour. Again different from the Auschwitz I had seen as Terezin was built in the 18th century.

It has tunnels and a sturdy foundation (If you are claustrophobic avoid the tunnels). In the cell block you may come across a wreath in remembrance of the assassin who started WWI. He is regarded as a national hero to this day in certain parts of the world.

Take your time. Take it in. If this is your first concentration camp be respectful. I always tell people I am with to picture themselves walking through a cemetery or a museum to help frame their mindset.