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Exploring the Manoa Valley of Oahu, Hawaii


Oahu's Manoa Valley, although located within minutes of Waikiki by bus or car, is often totally overlooked by visitors. While the lack of heavy visitor traffic is surely appreciated by local residents, there is much to be appreciated in this secluded corner of Hawaii which makes a visit worthwhile.

Getting to the Manoa Valley

Manoa Valley can be accessed by driving west on Ala Wai Boulevard in Waikiki and making a right onto McCully Street which crosses the Ala Wai Canal and H1. After crossing the H1 freeway, a quick right takes you onto Metcalf Street which will lead you to University Avenue where you will take a left. Directly to your right you will see the University of Hawaii's Manoa Campus, the main campus of the state's extensive collegiate system.

As soon as you pass the University, you will come to E. Manoa Road where you will take a right to head to the Manoa Marketplace Shopping Center and Manoa Chinese Cemetery. You can also proceed straight on Oahu Avenue until it intersects with Manoa Road where you can take a right to heard deeper into the valley to the Lyon Arboretum and Manoa Falls. Finding your way in the valley is relatively easy since Oahu Avenue, Manoa Road and East Manoa Road form a loop within the central part of the valley.

As you travel into the valley you will be driving through residential neighborhoods. Please be considerate to pedestrians and local traffic.

You can also reach Manoa Valley by public transportation on TheBus whose route schedules and maps are available throughout Oahu.

Within Manoa Valley, there are a number of places where you may wish to stop and explore.

University of Hawaii, Manoa Campus

Founded in 1917, the University of Hawaii at Manoa is the flagship of the University of Hawaii System, the state's sole public university system with campuses on each of the main islands. Today more than 19,800 students are enrolled in Manoa courses. Manoa offers 87 bachelor's degrees, 87 master's degrees, and 53 doctorates.

Manoa is the most diverse campus in the United States with 57% of the student body being of of Asian or Pacific Islander ancestry. The University is reknowned for its Asian, Pacific, and Hawaiian studies as well as its programs in tropical agriculture, tropical medicine, oceanography, astronomy, electrical engineering, volcanology, evolutionary biology, comparative philosophy, urban planning and international trade.

The beauty of the Manoa valley provides a backdrop for this unique, yet inviting, campus. Hawaiian, Asian, and Pacific traditions are well represented throughout the campus. There is an authentic Japanese tea house and garden, a replica of a Korean king's throne hall, and a Hawaiian taro patch.

Manoa Marketplace Shopping Center

Manoa Marketplace offers a wide variety of specialty shops, restaurants, island foods, a supermarket and a drugstore. It is the primary shopping location for valley residents, many of whom gather at the Manoa Cafe for coffee and local baked goods. It's the perfect place for a brief snack stop before you venture further into the Manoa Valley.

Manoa Chinese Cemetery

The Manoa Chinese Cemetery is the oldest and largest Chinese cemetery in Hawaii. Starting in 1852, the Chinese community gradually began to purchase the land from the former land owners which included the Bishop Estate. The present day cemetery encompasses thirty-four acres of Manoa Valley.

The Chinese immigrant, Lum Ching, who first identified the site in 1852 founded a society called Lin Yee Chung which means "We are buried together here with pride." The United Chinese Society was formed in 1884 to handle the management of the cemetery.

In 1889, the land was granted in perpetuity to the society by charter from Hawaii's Minister of Interior, L.A. Thurston. Poor management over the years almost doomed the cemetery, however, it was rescued by three men, Wat Kung, Chun Hoon and Luke Chan who organized the plots, improved the overall condition of the cemetery and fought a long battle with local residents who wanted to abolish the cemetery.

Today the cemetery is operated solely by the Lin Yee Chung Association. Within the cemetery you will find numbered signs identifying notable areas of interest.

Next Page > Lyon Arboretum, Manoa Falls and Additional Resources

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