The Lawai International Center is a not-for-profit project of the community. The center for healing and learning is a cultural and archaeological treasure as well. The Lawai Center is situated within a scenic valley that has long been thought of as a sanctuary for healing.


The first generation of immigrants from Japan built eighty-eight shrines in the year 1904 as a replication of the ancient pilgrimage of eighty-eight temples in Shikoku in Japan. The Lawai International Center is the only site of its kind today that exists outside of the country of Japan, and is also the site of one of the country’s oldest Buddhist temples. Volunteers are working hard to bring the valley and the shrines back to their original prominence as a place for cultural understanding, education, and compassion for the international community.

The first phase of the community project of the Lawai International Center is focused on restoring the thirty-two acres situated within the Lawai Valley. This land was the site at one time of a Buddhist temple, a Shinto shrine, a Taoist temple, and the Hawaiian heiau. The property today still possesses the eighty-eight Buddhist shrines, which the likes of cannot be found anywhere else outside the country of Japan. Once completed, the Lawai International Center will be made up of multiple phases that fit together with the next, resulting in a space that remembers and honors the unique collective spirit and history of the Lawai Valley.

The Lawai International Center’s initial phase consists of the property, the reconstruction, and the restoration of the numerous existing shrines, along with the construction of the Pavilion of Compassion and the information center. The second phase of the project will include the construction of a gathering pavilion, a facility for parking, and landscaping. The gathering pavilion will contain an educational exhibit about the distinctive religious and historical role of the Valley. The plan for the pavilion is also for it offer an appropriate setting for dramatic, artistic, musical, and educational activities that will help educate,inspire, and instruct both visitors and locals alike.

The Lawai International Center is open to visitors on the second Sunday of every month and the last Sunday of each month. Tour of the property are offered at ten in the morning, noon, and two in the afternoon, as well as by appointment for a private tour. Those interested in reserving a tour can call the center. It’s advised that visitors wear comfortable shoes for walking or hiking shoes to fully enjoy the outdoor experience of the Lawai Center. Donations are very much appreciated.

Since before the Lawai International Center had its name, the property was defined and built by grace. Grace is what sparked the first first glimmer of hope in the immigrants and that native Hawaiians who constructed the shrines. It was also grace that guided Grandma Nonaka to bring the Lawai Valley, a place that had been long forgotten, back to life. Grandma Nonaka footsteps have paved the way for the rediscovery if the Lawai Valley’s spiritual and historical significance.

3381 Wawae Road, Kalaheo, Hawaii, Phone: 808-212-1349

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