Naha Stone
Naha Stone

Naha Stone

300 Waianuenue Ave., Hilo, Big Island of Hawaii, Hawaii, 96720

The basics

How this three-ton rock came to be is a bit of a mystery, though it’s widely accepted that it was brought to the Big Island from Kauai via a double-wide canoe. The Naha Clan, the ruling clan, was the only group allowed to touch it; they would place baby boys on top to determine if they were of pure Naha lineage. If they stayed calm, they were. If they cried, they were not and subsequently cast out.

And if you’re wondering why such an essential aspect of history is in front of a public library, know that this is the site of a former heiau, or temple.

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Things to know before you go

  • This is a rock of serious sacred significance. When you visit, do so respectfully.
  • You are allowed to touch the Naha Stone, but you should not damage it.
  • Technically, the rock is “open” 24/7. Believe it or not, it’s simply resting in the open air.
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How to get there

The library’s address is 300 Waianuenue Ave. in Hilo. The facility has a free parking lot, though the library is walkable from many of Hilo’s attractions and rests just a few blocks from downtown. Pair it with a visit to the Pacific Tsunami Museum, the Hilo Farmers Market, or simply while wandering Hilo Bayfront Beach Park.

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When to get there

Unlike most attractions of historical significance, you can get here pretty much whenever you like—though daylight is undoubtedly best. Simply resting near the road, stroll up at your leisure, take in the significance, and ponder what it must’ve been like to be a member of the Naha Clan.

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To be a king

By blood, Kamehameha was considered a lower-ranking chief, or ali’i. Wanting to rise above his status, history says he tried many, many times to move the rock before he finally managed the feat. As the years went on, he would think of the stone whenever he doubted himself—which is to say, if Hawaii’s greatest king can question himself, so can we all.

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