Kepaniwai Heritage Gardens is located at the entrance of Iao Valley State Park. The Heritage Garden represents the multicultural contributions that have made up and continue to make up Hawaii's rich culture such as Japan, China, Korea, Philippines, Portugal and Puerto Rico. It is beautiful that a space has being created to represent a coming together of these cultures. Many visitors from all over the world and local families frequently visit to relax and have picnics. Picnic-ing here reminds me of how hawaii's cuisine is also a mix and merge of ethnic backgrounds.
The Heritage Gardens are made up of structures and gardens. Each culture has a way of entering a temple. Each culture has purification rituals that enhances the clarity of their spirit. For example, while entering a temple calming and respectfully one may take of shoes, burn incense, or wash certain body parts.
Many of the structures have a gate. The gates represent stepping in from one world to another. For example, passing through a torii gate signifies walking into sacred space. These arquitectual structures are gateways of heaven for many cultures, a way to connect to the other side or find rest within one's soul. These labyrinths thus become a tool for finding our inner self, reaching our center, feeling united.
As Iao Valley cool stream runs through these harmonious gardens, waterfalls and ponds, as the colorful flowers, and trees silently meditate in their self. I feel a sense of serenity and peace.
Thought of the day: May we enjoy our journeys into our hearts, may we walk into the entrances of the source within us. May we embrace all the colors that life gives as we remember, we are all one family in this small garden of earth.