Depending on how quickly you move through airport security, you may have some extra time while waiting for your departure flight from Honolulu International Airport. I recommend you take advantage of this spare time at HNL to explore the Honolulu Airport Garden Area.
Surprisingly, not a lot of people visit the Cultural Gardens at Honolulu Airport. Maybe they don’t know how to get to the gardens. Or maybe they don’t realize that the gardens are free and open to the public.
Here’s what you need to know about the Honolulu Airport Cultural Gardens.
Directions: Where is the Airport Garden Area?
It’s easy to find, just follow the signs for “AIRLINE LOUNGES: Garden Court Area”. Take the stairs or elevator to the lower level and you’re now in the gardens.
Exploring the Honolulu Airport Garden
The Cultural Gardens are divided into three sections: Chinese, Hawaiian, and Japanese Gardens. Each section is a tribute to the heritage of some of Hawaii’s most influential cultures.
The serene Chinese Garden is highlighted by a red pagoda with golden roof that stands out above Chinese plants, arched bridge, and a statue of Dr. Sun Yat Sen, founder of the Republic of China, which was donated by Hawaii’s Chinese community.
Although there is no bridge to cross to the center island in the Hawaiian Garden section at the airport, there are several places to enjoy the stream and waterfall. Unique Hawaiian plants at the garden include kukui, white and red ginger, banana and more. While browsing the area, look for koi fish in the waters below.
The first thing you’ll notice here is the zig-zag bridges, which are meant to keep evil from entering the garden. Like the Chinese Garden, the Japanese Garden offers visitors a shelter to rest. Sit and meditate for a moment as you enjoy a peaceful escape in the middle of one of the country’s most active airports.
Travel Tip: Bring your lunch to the Gardens
Instead of dining at the tables located outside cafes and restaurants in the airport, take away your meal and bring it to the Honolulu Airport Cultural Gardens.
Or, grab a Starbucks and pick up a magazine before heading to the Chinese pagoda. It’s the perfect way to enjoy Oahu’s outdoors one last time before departing to your next destination.