”Since we've came back from Hawaii, we often think of you. We also talk about the way you welcomed us to you're place. Our bicycle journey on Hawaii was fantastic but the souvenir that we cherish to most is the meeting with you. It's indescribable , especially in a second language!!!”

FRANCE and SIMON

 
 

 

To stay at Akiko's Buddhist B&B is to step into Old Hawai'i, a place and time and way of life that is a wonder to discover. The sounds of gentle wind chimes and waterfalls, the fragrances of gardenia and meditation incense, the flavors of just-picked papaya and a neighbor's homemade preserves all invite a feeling of reverence for life's simplest gifts. I trade in my regularly scheduled days for a tranquil stillness that allows me to be open to whatever life has to offer in that moment.

Katy Fogg

One beautiful morning in December of 2013 I was sitting at the breakfast table at Akiko’s Buddhist Bed & Breakfast in Wailea Village on the beautiful Big Island of Hawaii. Wailea is a small plantation village on the east side of the Big Island. The climate is mild and sunny there and the Bed and breakfast is surrounded by rainforest. Akiko’s Bed and Breakfast is a magical place, not only because of its location in the old quiet village, but also because of the “spirit” of old Hawaii that is still alive there and is represented by its people, like Akiko herself. The owner of the simple kept, but beautiful bed and Breakfast has been living here for over 20 years, away from all the tourist areas and their modern hotels, keeping Hawaii as it was in its original ways alive. A visit to this place may change your life, or at least the way you think about your life, as it did for me.  

So we were sitting at the breakfast table enjoying Akiko’s homemade banana bread, fresh papayas stuffed with yogurt and delicious self prepared oatmeal when a few other guests and I had a good conversation. We were talking about our lives at home and I mentioned to the round how unhappy I felt at my work place. Underappreciated and feeling stuck in a dead end position. Some of the others could relate and then the conversation turned to the subject of happiness and pursuing one’s own dreams. Leisurely I threw in that I had been dreaming about doing a long distance hike for years. The Camino de Santiago in Spain or the Appalachian Trail in the Eastern United States had been on the top of my favorite’s list. But I had no idea at the time how to make this dream reality, because I have a job and bills to pay and so on. After rambling on for a while about excuses why it would be impossible for me to pursue my dreams, Akiko finally put her hand softly on my arm to stop me. She told me: “Yvonne, if it’d your dream, you have to do it. Do it in the next 12 months and don’t put it off.” At the time I did not realize how deeply these words had sunk into my brain and subconscious mind.


7 months later in July 2014 my dream did become reality as a result of a row of random circumstances that occurred in my lucky favor. It just happened without me really doing any planning in particular. As I was sitting on the plane to France I remembered Akiko’s words which she had spoken to me back in December. I am deeply grateful for my stay there at her Buddhist Bed and Breakfast, and hope to be able to go back again soon for some more inspiration. Walking the Camino de Santiago has lead me to writing my book “Go slow when you’re in a hurry” which is anticipated to be published in the spring of 2015.
Mahalo to Akiko, her incredible Bed and Breakfast and the “magic” of the old Hawaii!
 

YVONNE GUSTAFSON

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Being a guest at Akiko's Buddist B&B is a blessing.  The surroundings support peace, love and a deep respect for the beauty of the environment.  It offered me a space for reflection and an opportunity to "slow down" the pace of my busy life. I am filled with gratitude for the friendships I made and the comfort I found being in this very special place.

Deb Keyes,Harbor Springs, Michigan

 
  The former Motonaga Garage at Akiko's Buddhist B&B in Wailea, South Hilo provides a unique ambience for gathering of island people for the purpose of doing "Good Works". 

You can travel to visit Kyoto Zen gardens in Japan, or you can seek to combine tropical lush and Zen atmosphere, in this case, it would be hard to find a better place than Akiko’s. It’s peaceful, it’s meditative and it is so vibrant green. It was so hard to leave! We stayed in the Mango cottage, surrounded by ancient mango and avocado trees and beautiful flowers. The cottage was very comfortable and private with a shared kitchen and bathroom/shower just a few steps away. It had huge screened windows providing a gentle, pleasant breeze which was especially refreshing during the night.

Akiko was a wonderful hostess and she was so helpful and full of suggestions in visiting local places and meeting interesting people, you could not get that in any travel book. Just tell her what you would like to see or experience and you would be surprised what opportunities might emerge for you. She helped us to meet a local artist Fred Soriano, a retired professor from University of Hawaii-Hilo, who makes his sculptures of lava rocks, they are really worthwhile to see (some of them are displayed around Akiko’s place) and a lot of them are displayed around Hilo, including University of Hawaii Hilo campus. Fred gave us a tour around Hilo showing and explaining his work – it can’t be better than that. And if you are lucky and it is mango season, you would get to taste the best mango you probably ever tasted – we never saw this variety on sale in the US and it was absolutely delicious. Also, visiting the temple (it’s just perfect) and spending some time in it meditating- it made long lasting memories. As we said before, you can travel to visit Kyoto Zen gardens in Japan, or you can visit Akiko’s place- truly magical and enchanting tropical Zen garden in the old Hawaii plantation village. Thank you, Akiko, for creating this place and sharing it with us! We look forward to coming back!

 

ARNAS PALAIMA

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Akiko's B&B is  a "one of a kind" bed and breakfast!  It is a unique hideaway that gently pairs the peacefulness of Hawaii’s old plantation lifestyle with the way of Buddha. She's managed to keep a nearly 100 year-old lifestyle alive and vibrant in her home and gardens. Her home blends well with the reassuring heartbeat of Hawaii that can still be clearly heard and felt in Hakalau. Even the sounds of the night soothe and lull me to sleep when I am in her B&B. 

One of my best experiences during my visit to Akiko’s colorful, curious yet calming and healing surroundings was finding what I needed to prepare for another major project.  I found offerings of solitude, quiet, rejuvenation, relaxation, laughter and good food. I also found unexpected spiritual messages everywhere.  Her B&B is a marvelous respite that calms the mind and spirit on one hand and on the other hand it stirs and inspires awakenings toward creative ideas and new beginnings. Akiko’s Bed and Breakfast is an amazing place and I took pleasure in every bit of it. Thank you for sharing it. I’m looking forward to my next visit.

Dr. Patricia Brown, Honolulu, Hawaii.

 

My room at Akiko’s Buddhist Bed & Breakfast is tucked in a corner on the second floor of the Pu’uhonua House. Two Merrie Monarch Festival posters hang on freshly painted white walls, the quilt on the bed looks handmade, and the sheets smell fresh and clean. It’s usually too late and too dark to see what’s beyond the open windows when I arrive, but come early morning, the shapes of giant palm fronds appear. It’s like sleeping in a tree house.

After three visits to Akiko’s Buddhist Bed & Breakfast with Doug Beasley’s Images of Gratitude photography workshop, I’ve begun to think of this bedroom as mine. Each time I come back here the circumstances in my life are different, the group of photographers blending their talents and personalities is different, and, most recently, the coffee cups at breakfast have changed. But no matter what changes with each visit, something deeper and more fundamental stays the same; stepping onto these grounds feels like coming home.

Pu’uhonua means ‘place of refuge.’ A fitting name, as Akiko has created a haven that wraps its arms around life’s travelers and welcomes them to stop and rest for a while. This turned out to be an unexpected gift in a world that spins so fast it’s hard to keep up.

Five years ago I picked this photography workshop because of the name: Images of Gratitude. The location – Hawaii’s Big Island – didn’t hurt either, but I think we all know we have hundreds of reasons to be grateful. Spending ten days focused on gratitude sounded like a good way to remind myself of that. The forecast called for rain that first trip, so I arrived with my raincoat and two Ziploc bags for my camera gear. I went home with an open heart; I was utterly and irrevocably transformed.

Doug’s teaching style and personality, Akiko’s humor and wisdom, and the vibrant and elemental energy that seems to thrum through this particular latitude and longitude, makes for a benevolent Bermuda triangle of inexplicable transformation. I didn’t stand a chance of keeping my life at arm’s length any longer. Here I learned that photography is more than taking pictures and life should be more than responsibility and work.

When our daily roles and labels cover us like a dozen winter coats, Akiko’s B&B offers stillness and room to let all those layers fall away. We catch a glimpse of our inner spirit; that part of us that never leaves, but sits silent and waiting for us to slow down, listen, and remember. No pretending to have it all figured out. Just time and room to recall what it feels like to be ourselves. Permission to accept that wherever we are with our photography - and with our lives - is okay. Once we remember how beautiful that feels, we can hold that feeling inside and try not to lose it again when we go back to our physical homes.

Coming to Akiko’s any time of year, makes for a wonderful vacation stop if that’s what you’re looking for. Explore the lush Hamakua coast, full of waterfalls and beach parks. Shop the Hilo Farmer’s Market where you can buy four (four!) papayas for a dollar. Visit with the generous neighbors who respond to Akiko’s request for breakfast fruit with a box of apples left on a bench by the kitchen. Get lost in the billions and billions of stars overflowing the night sky. Walk down the road to the beach park for sunrise, or just close your eyes and rest your head in the pool of sunlight on your bedspread, knowing there’s nowhere else you need to be.

But as compelling as all these things are, I’d come back here without any of them. Because much of what makes Akiko’s B&B so special is Akiko herself. The provenance of this land is a vital presence here - as if the spirit of the ancient Hawaiians never left. And the ancestor’s wisdom, generosity, and reverence for earth and spirit are manifested in Akiko. Her humor, humility, and her French toast have won me over for life. I am forever grateful that she has created this place of belonging. A place I can call my own for a little while.

LISA HARTMANN

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I have such gratitude for the time I spent with you in Hawaii.  Remember when you told us to expect big changes from our experience in Hawaii? It did change my life. 

I'm right in the middle of a HUGE  life change.  Our company laid off 25% of the people in our department, including me, at the end of April.   After I recovered from the initial shock of the layoff I realized what a blessing it was.  Over the past two years, I have been getting more and more ready to do something else and this has given me the opportunity.  And what an opportunity it is!  I remember sitting around the table in your kitchen with Lisa, Dee and you and talking about our desire to live a simpler life.  Your life choices inspired me then and continue to inspire me today.  I've decided it's time to live a simpler life myself and to follow my passion, which is photography.  I'm starting my own business as a photographer.  I have much to learn but I am having so much joy learning it.  I don't expect to become rich and famous  -- I just need to supplement my retirement savings a bit.  I am having so much fun. 

In gratitude and aloha, Marilyn

Every once in a great while, you make a choice that turns out so right you have to wonder how you were so lucky to have made it…..  Tucked away in a tiny village on the Hamakua Coast, Akiko's Buddhist Bed & Breakfast will not be everyone's first choice, but for those who choose the rustic plantation lodgings it will be an experience that will stay with you long after you have let the islands.  It is a place of simple pleasures - sharing breakfast with new friends, reading a good book on the lanai, walking through the bamboo forest to the beach, watching the stars rise and set.  It is a place infused with the spirit of old Hawaii and an understanding of the nuances of aloha.  I have travelled many places and gathered many memories, but rarely have I encountered a place so affecting, whose presence changed how I see my day-to-day life back home.  Miss Akiko is truly a gem, and a visit to her home - a chance at the "road not taken".

Dave Millar

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