The Rodeo Drive of Hawaii

Kahala Avenue has often been called the Rodeo Drive of Hawaii, where haute couture fashion of Beverly Hills gets replaced with multimillion-dollar mansions and priceless oceanfront views. This 1.5-mile strip is one of the most expensive in the state.

You’ll see more than perfectly-trimmed lawns and hedges here, too. With Diamond Head crater in the scenic backdrop, beautiful water fountains and intricate marble statues decorate the homes – both inside and outside; even gates to driveways fall into the category of elaborate art pieces. The gate’s fine detail and colorful hues not only brighten up the street but add to its high-class personality as well.

You might have heard about Hawaii’s Rodeo Drive in recent news reports. Japanese billionaire Genshiro Kawamoto owns 27 Kahala homes, all worth more than $150-million and spans across 15-acres of mostly beachfront property. However, he apparently has not been taking care of them. Windows have been shattered, walls graffitied and squatters have since moved. Some say these homes have been trashed beyond repair.

The latest on 81-year-old Kawamoto was that he was arrested in Japan for alleged tax fraud. According to local news reports, it all stems from his purchase of art for a museum in Hawaii. He is also accused of hiding rental income in Japan, where he owns several buildings in Tokyo.

It’s ashamed that the Rodeo Drive of Hawaii, which is supposed to be among the most beautiful and well-manicured in the state, continues to receive such negative attention. Because of the quickly-declining conditions Kawamoto’s homes are in, visitors will soon have no choice but to look beyond the beachfront mansions and instead to the dirty pools and graffitied walls that deface the views.

KAHALA AVENUE • Near Diamond Head Crater, Honolulu, HI 96816

Posted by: Bruce Fisher