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Hawaii Historical Sights to Visit-- Queen Emma Summer Palace, Pali Lookout, Valley of the Temples

Updated: Apr 19, 2023

Occasionally, Reid and I enjoy playing "tourist" and visiting sights around Oahu. Recently, we did a drive around the island and visited Queen Emma Summer

Palace, Nu'uanu Pali Lookout, and Byodo-In Temple at the Valley of the


Unlike the Pali Lookout and the Byodo-In Temple which we both visited many years ago separately, we both have never visited Queen Emma Summer Palace before so it was definitely exciting to learn new things about Hawaii's history and the land that we grew up on.

Our first stop was Queen Emma Summer Palace, which is tucked away in the lush green trees of Nu'uanu. The home itself was originally built in 1847 and was the home of Queen Emma, her husband King Kamehameha IV and their son Prince Albert Edward from 1857-1885. (

For the self-guided tour (which is what we purchased) general admission is $14. They also offer Kama'aina, military and children discounts.

The palace itself is intimate so 30-40 minutes was enough time for us to visit. I really enjoyed seeing so many of Queen Emma's original belongings, antiques, and royal regalia.

From our visit, I learned that Queen Emma was quite a pillar in helping to shape the Hawaii we know of today. She helped to establish Queen's Hospital, which is now called Queen's Medical Center. She also founded St. Andrew's Cathedral and St. Andrew's Priory.

At the end of our self-guided tour, we walked around the house which is covered in greenery and found ourselves sitting in a quaint and quiet courtyard. My family and I took used this backdrop as a good opportunity to take beautiful photos of our daughter and of our family.

We also visited a small gift shop that sold books by local authors and souvenirs of Hawaii. It is a beautiful place to visit.

After our visit to Queen Emma Summer Palace, we drove up the Pali to the Nu'uanu Pali Lookout.

Many visitors drive up to the Pali Lookout for its breathtaking view of Kaneohe and Kailua. However, there is much Hawaiian history here as well. Back in 1795, King Kamehameha I conquered the island of O'ahu and the final battle took place here. It was known to be the bloodiest battle in Hawaiian history. In 1845 the first roads were build in this area to connect Windward Oahu to Honolulu. In 1898 when this road was developed into a highway, 800 human skulls were found which are believed to be the remains of the warriors who lost their life during the final battle. (ʻuanu_Pali)

As a little kid, my family and I would visit the Pali Lookout occasionally and the one thing I always remembered was how windy that it was! And on the day that we went, it was just as windy as I remembered.

We had our 3 month daughter with us and at first we thought that she would be fine riding up in the stroller to the viewpoint. However, it was way too windy for her so my husband quickly turned around and headed back down.

Make sure to hold on to your hats and sunglasses! The wind is real. Parking at the lookout is $7 and walking up to the lookout is free.

After the Pali lookout, we continued to head north-east to the Byodo-In Temple located at the Valley of the Temples.

Byodo-In Temple was founded in 1968 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the first Japanese immigrants to come to Hawaii. This is a replica to scale of the Byodo-In Temple in Uji, Japan. Byodo-In translates to the "Temple of Equality."

General admission is $5. They also have discounted prices for children and kama'aina.

The beautiful landscape of the temple in front of the Ko'olau mountains is quite breathtaking. As we walked along the bridge, I couldn't help but feel a sense of calmness and overwhelming gratitude to be able to go to such a peaceful and serene place.

At some points, it did feel like a tourist attraction seeing the coconut drinks and "Hawaii-esque" toys and souvenirs being sold. However, I did enjoy just the immense amount of calmness that is felt while being there.

Growing up Buddhist and having the opportunity to visit many temples in Kyoto, Japan over the years, I have a strong appreciation for the religion and the overall culture. While we were walking next to the pond, I heard the beautiful sounds of the bell which represent happiness, peace and long life.

When we entered the temple, we were welcomed by a beautiful gold statue of the Buddha. I was able to show my gratitude and appreciation by offering incense and a small monetary donation. This is a wonderful place to visit for people of all backgrounds and religions. I believe places like this encourage people to live with peace and tranquility.

We were starting to get very hungry so we stopped off at one of our favorite places on the east side, Waiahole Poi Factory.

Waiahole Poi Factory is a very popular food spot which offers authentic Hawaiian food and hand pounded poi.

On this day I ordered the laulau plate and Reid ordered the Kalua Pig plate. Each plate came with poi (or you can get rice), lomi salmon, and haupia.

My favorite is the hand pounded poi. It tastes so fresh and the texture is nice and smooth. The food here is a must if you're on this side of the island.

Our last stop was Ted's Bakery for some delicious pie. We were heading to my parents house for dinner that night and wanted to bring a pie back to share. Ted's Bakery is known for the classic Chocolate Haupia Pie but on this day, I wanted to try something different.

I chose the Strawberry Guava pie which was so delicious! I would recommend this pie if you love these flavors. It was so creamy but not too sweet or overpowering. My family also loved this pie as well!

This concludes our day around the island seeing some of Hawaii's historical sights. Check out the full vlog here:

Equipment used to film this video:

Iphone 14 Pro Max

DJI OM 5 Smartphone Gimbal Stabilizer:

Information about the places we visited:

Queen Emma Summer Palace:

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***Some of the links above are affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission if anyone purchases through them. This helps support my channel so I can continue to create more blogs for Hawaii Food and Family!

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