Tucked between two bustling roadways of urban Moiliili, a peculiarly-shaped structure is often overlooked by those on their daily commute. It hovers over the cars below at nearly 50-feet tall and easily blends in with surrounding city buildings and trees.
This structure can be found between King and Beretania Streets.
It’s a symbolic structure called a torii gate, built in recognition of the 100th anniversary of the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii (JCCH) in 2001. You can find similar structures like this throughout parts of Asia, all of which mark the entrance to a sacred space. Most times, it leads into a temple or place of worship.
This torii, however, is a replica of the grand torii in front of the Itsukushima Shrine in Hiroshima, Japan. The original torii stands in a shallow inlet of the Seto Inland Sea and is said to be one of the three most beautiful sights in Japan. The Honolulu torii replica was a gift from Hiroshima to the city. It’s made of stainless-steel and titanium and is oriented towards Hiroshima to symbolize the cultural exchange between two cities and regions.
You don’t have to be a history buff to appreciate seeing this structure. It’s a symbol of east meets west in the islands. You could learn more about the torii at the JCCH across the street or spend time at the small triangle park; after all, it’s meant to be a place of serenity and peace.
TORII AT JCCH • Structure symbolizing an entrance to a sacred space • 2517 S. Beretania St., Honolulu, HI 96826
Posted by: Bruce Fisher