Kahanu Garden & Pi'ilanihale Heiau

Kahanu Garden

Part of the National Tropical Botanical Garden, Kahanu Garden is named after Chief Kahanu who owned this sacred land in the 1800's. Formerly used as a sugar plantation and pastures for grazing cattle, in 1974, the descendants of Chief Kahanu and Hana Ranch donated the first 61 acres to establish the garden, which today takes up an impressive 484 acres of natural Hawaiian beauty, history and culture.

When the Polynesian settlers first came to Hawai'i in their canoes amost 1,800 year ago, they brought many beloved ethnobotanical plants with them. These plants are found today in the "Canoe Garden" collections of Kahanu Garden. From 300 varieties of taro to 120 varieties of ʻulu (Hawaii Breadfruit), this lovingly maintained garden is about more than just good looks. The culture and history that comes with these plants connects its visitors to old Hawai'i.

kahanu gardens

Visitors to the Kahanu Garden, which lies at Mile Marker #31 along the Road to the Hana, enjoy learning about the many other historical varieties grown here, such as sweet potato, banana, 'awa, and ipu.


hale o piilaniPi'ilanihale Heiau

The star of the show at the National Tropical Botanical Garden is the Pi'ilanihale Heiau, or "House of Pi'ilani" ancient temple. This temple was actually built in several stages, with building starting as early as the end of the 13th century. This structure took over 300 years to build, and many people dedicated their live to creating one of the Polynesian peoples largest ancient temples.


In 1974, the decedents of Chief Kahanu deeded their land to the National Tropical Botanical Gardens, with the understanding that this institute would restore Pi‘ilanihale, share it with the public, and provide perpetual care for this sacred site as well as the family graves that are on this ‘āina (land). It took over two decades to clear the jungle overgrowth, and most of the work done by the devotion of local volunteers and Garden staff.

piilani heiau

Pi'ilanihale Heiau Map

Piilani Heiau

We recognize the use of diacritical markings of the (modern) Hawaiian language including the ʻokina [ʻ] or glottal stop and the kahakō [ō] or macron (e.g., in place names of Hawaiʻi such as Lānaʻi). However, you may notice these diacritical markings have been omitted on some parts of this website to ensure the best online experience for our visitors. We recognizes the importance of using these markings to preserve the language and culture of Hawaii and respectfully uses them in all communications beyond the online platform.

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