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“Japan in Hawaii”

Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii
Reviewed 4 April 2014

What fun to attend shipponaki (enamel) classes given by an expert from Osaka, Japan. And lots of festivities too. The small shop showcases Japanese products and also pre-owned Japanese decorative merchandise, contributions from locals for the benefit of the cultural center. I found there 5 items currently being sold at ala moana center for 3-4 times the price, and actually theses items here are much more authentic. If I lived in Oahu, I would shop there all the time. Perfect place to find gifts.

1  Thank flipvip
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 20 February 2014

There are several places around Oahu that describe the Japanese American experience here, but this one emphasizes the cultural transformation from being a Japanese person in America to being an American who has ancestors that came from Japan. With words and pictures it tells the story of the first immigrants, how their treatment and the immigration laws changed over time, and the part the Japanese Americans played in making it happen.

We were already familiar with the imprisonment of American citizens during WWII because they had Japanese ancestors, have visited the museums in Los Angeles, San Jose, and other places. This center added to it with little overlap. Anyone interested in Hawaii, immigration, or the Japanese culture will find this very interesting.

The center's store is worth a visit because they sell donated barely-used tea cups, rice bowls, and clothing at fabulously low prices. Spend enough and they validate your parking.

Everyone there was so pleasant and helpful, spending two hours there was easy.

2  Thank 828TJA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 October 2013

Went on a free day. And it was great. I was glad we didn't have to follow around a tour guide. Me and my friend went at our own pace and found it very informative. The only part that didn't go well was that the movie in the middle wouldn't play no matter how many times we pushed the button, but someone else just finished watching it so it was probably just bad timing. Maybe we should have been more patient because I feel like we missed a lot by missing the movie.

2  Thank ArenJo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 June 2013

Many of my friends volunteer at this place, which is conveniently on the bus line. My high school class reunion is scheduled for July in the ballroom. For any group planning an event, I would recommend this place. If you are from Japan, you will want to take a look here at what the early immigrants brought with them, and maintained for their children and grandchildren. By now there are 4th and 5th generations who continue the traditions, like pounding mochi for the New Year celebrations, tea ceremony, and ikebana (flower arranging). Japanese culture is alive and thriving in Hawaii thanks to this place and the Buddhist churches in the neighborhood, as well as throughout the islands. At one time in the 1950's-60's, Japanese Americans were the largest ethnic group in Hawaii. Now, there are more Filipino people in the state. Maybe there will be a Filipino Cultural Center someday?

Thank Linda A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 15 July 2011

Visited on 9 July 2011. On the ground level, there is an exhibition hall with rotating exhibits and a museum highlighting the Japanese American experience specific to Hawaii. It is a smaller and more Hawaii specific version of the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles. I have an acquaintance who is a college professor in Japan with a strong interest in Japanese Americans, and she has made additional contacts by visiting this cultural center and speaking with its staff.

It is free to the public, but they do accept donations. The adjoining gift shop did have some unique pieces that I have never seen before. There is a connected parking structure for a fee, and there is limited street parking in the surrounding neighborhood.

It was a Saturday, so the center was quite busy. There were at least two different martial arts classes taking place. We were visiting for a specific family event in one of the banquet halls upstairs. At the same time in other banquet halls, there were other families celebrating birthdays and graduations. The facilities and catered food were very good. In retrospect, this would have been a perfect location for my wedding reception.

1  Thank TokyoBob1975
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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