Beyond Pearl Harbor – Other Sights on Tour


By: Mark Loproto

All Pearl Harbor tours include the USS Arizona Memorial program, and many add in some or all of the other attractions there. But what about after you’ve seen the Pearl Harbor sites included in your tour? Is there more to see on the return to Waikiki?

Actually, there are four unique and fascinating sights beyond Pearl Harbor that are included on most tours.

National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific

Located in Oahu’s Punchbowl Crater, the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific contains graves of veterans from multiple conflicts dating back to World War I. While tour buses aren’t allowed to stop in the cemetery, in order to preserve the quiet serenity of the place, they do drive through the iconic location.

Though your tour won’t stop, you can return at another time and tour the cemetery yourself, to pay your respects to the men and women who served their nation. Visit the Courts of the Missing to read the names of servicemen who whose bodies were never recovered. Pay special attention to names with a small rosette next to them. These are fallen whose remains have since been identified through the work of the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, including over two hundred from USS Oklahoma (BB-37), which was torpedoed and sank during the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.

Iolani Palace

Iolani Palace Throne Room

Iolani Palace Throne Room

There are many interesting facts about the former home to Hawaii’s last two monarchs. Among the most impressive, however, is that it is the only royal palace standing on American soil. The grand structure is an impressive-looking building that stands out in Honolulu’s historic district.

Returning from your Pearl Harbor tour, you’ll drive by the palace, but a stop here isn’t part of the tour. Of course, you are able to visit this fascinating piece of Hawaiian history on your own, and it’s something any history buff will want to do. Though you can’t see the details from outside, the palace has been restored to look as it did when Hawaiian royalty were still reigning.

Hawaii State Capitol Building

Hawaii State Capitol Building

Hawaii State Capitol Building

Before John A. Burns, the second Governor of Hawaii, commissioned this building on South Beretania Street as the new state Capitol building, the Hawaii State Legislature used the neighboring ‘Iolani Palace as their place of business. The current building is an intriguing structure and another stop on your tour beyond Pearl Harbor.

An example of the local Hawaiian international architecture style, the details of the building are intriguing. Surrounding the structure is a reflecting pool, meant to symbolize the vast Pacific Ocean surrounding the Hawaiian islands. Columns around the perimeter are meant to resemble royal palm trees, with eight columns in four rows representing Hawaii’s eight main islands and four main counties.

King Kamehameha Statue

King Kamehameha Statue

King Kamehameha Statue

There is one feature of historic downtown Honolulu that’s instantly recognizable: an 18-foot statue dedicated to King Kamehameha the Great, the warrior-king who united the islands and founded the Kingdom of Hawaii. The bronze statue sits in front of Aliiolani Hale, home to Hawaii’s Supreme Court, and is one of the most-photographed sights in Hawaii.

The statue has an intriguing history, including the fact that it’s actually a replacement for the original, which was lost at sea and later recovered. Since the replacement had already been made, the original was placed near Kamehameha’s birthplace of Kapa’au, in the Kohala District of the Big Island.

Unlike the Capitol building and Iolani Palace, most tours make a stop at the statue for pictures.

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