Lili’uokalani Park and Gardens is located southeast of downtown Hilo right on the waterfront. Most of the park consists of Edo-style Japanese gardens, which were built between 1917-1919. The park also has a small island, Moku ola (which has the nickname Coconut Island, despite “moku ola” translating as “island of life”). Moku ola is connected by a footbridge to the main part of the park. Lili’uokalani Gardens, named for Queen Lili’uokalani, was built as a tribute to Hawaii’s first Japanese immigrants who worked on the island’s sugar cane fields. It is the largest ornamental Japanese garden outside of Japan.
Hilo Bay Cafe is adjacent to the gardens, and we had a fantastic lunch there following the helicopter ride.