Mo’okini Heiau

Discover the ancient Mo’okini Heiau in Kapaau, Big Island – a sacred temple dating back to 480 AD, steeped in Hawaiian history and spiritual heritage.

Mo'okini Heiau is a Heritage Site located in the city of Kapaau on Big Island, Hawaii
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Things to Know About Mo’okini Heiau


  • Overview: Mo’okini Heiau, an ancient temple situated in Kapaau on the Big Island of Hawaii, is a must-see destination for history enthusiasts and culture seekers. This sacred site offers visitors a glimpse into Hawaii’s rich past and spiritual heritage.
  • Highlights: What sets Mo’okini Heiau apart from other sites on the Big Island is its status as one of the oldest temples in Hawaii, dating back to around 480 AD. The impressive stone structure and its remote location make it a unique and awe-inspiring attraction.
  • Activities: At Mo’okini Heiau, visitors can explore the temple grounds, marvel at the massive stones used in its construction, and learn about Hawaiian history and culture through interpretive signs. Photography enthusiasts will also appreciate the picturesque surroundings and opportunities for stunning shots.
  • Information: Mo’okini Heiau is open to visitors year-round, with no specific opening hours or entrance fees. However, donations are welcomed to help maintain the site. The best time to visit is during the early morning or late afternoon when temperatures are cooler and the light is ideal for photography.
  • History & Significance: Mo’okini Heiau was built by the legendary priest Pa’ao and dedicated to the war god Kū. It served as a site for religious ceremonies and human sacrifices until the abolishment of the Hawaiian kapu system in 1819. Today, it is recognized as a National Historic Landmark and a vital link to Hawaii’s ancient past.
  • Tips & Insights: To make the most of your visit to Mo’okini Heiau, wear comfortable shoes for walking on uneven terrain and bring sun protection, as the site offers little shade. Also, remember to treat the sacred site with respect by not climbing on the stones or removing any objects from the area. Lastly, consider visiting the nearby Pololu Valley Lookout for breathtaking views of the coastline and lush green cliffs.

Getting to the Heritage Site


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