A Japanese garden in Hawaii
Liliuokalani Gardens is a 24-acre Japanese garden alongside Hilo Bay — the largest authentic ornamental Japanese garden outside of Japan. It's where local families go to play or relax. Enjoy its lovely landscaping, arching bridges that pass above fishponds, walking paths, pagodas, Japanese stone lanterns and a teahouse.
View of the Rainbow Falls in Hilo, Hawaii
Visit the accessible, 80-foot-high Rainbow Falls around 10 a.m., and you may see rainbows in the mist. Further upriver, you'll find Peepee ("pay-ay-pay-ay") Falls feeding the terrace pools called Boiling Pots, which bubble as if boiling. Just take in the view, though — it's not safe to swim here.
Take a picnic lunch with you and visit a local black-sand beach such as Richardson's Beach Park, popular for swimming and snorkeling. You may see honu (green sea turtles), dolphins and — in the distance at certain times of the year — migrating whales.
Everywhere in Hilo, you'll find the local-style "plate lunch," with two scoops of rice, macaroni salad and an entree of teriyaki chicken or beef stew. Cruise to Hilo and try other traditional Hawaiian staples, like laulau: fish and pork wrapped in taro leaves and steamed. Cool off with shave ice — it's a cousin to the snow cone, but fluffier.
When you walk into Hilo from the dock, you'll come across Basically Books, which offers classic Hawaii-style books. Big Island Candies has high-end, gorgeously packaged chocolates. Stroll down Kamehameha Avenue downtown, and stop into one of the galleries and boutiques selling local handicrafts, including jewelry, art and handmade pottery.
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