Skip to Main Content

CIST Student Sandbox

IST 605: Honolulu and Oahu Travel Guide

An in-depth guide to where to stay, eat, and visit in Honolulu, (and to a lesser extent Oahu moreover) Hawaii.

Wish You Were Here!

Welcome to the Punchbowl Crater and the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific!

Overshadowed by the more popular and well visited Diamond Head, there is another, slightly smaller volcanic tuff cone right in Honolulu: the Punchbowl Crater. Though similar in nature, the use of the Punchbowl is much more solemn than Diamond Head, as it serves as the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. Established in 1948, this national cemetery is the final resting place for over ten thousand military personnel who died or served in the Pacific Theater of WWII and subsequent wars, as well as a number of other distinguished individuals. Well-maintained graves and a line of trees lead up to the grand memorial featuring a large relief of “Lady Columbia”, the names of over twenty thousand MIA American soldiers from the WWII Pacific Theater, Korean War and Vietnam War, detailed, sculpted maps telling the story of the War in the pacific, and an interfaith chapel for remembrance and reflection.

          Of the many notable interments at the Cemetery, some include; Daniel K. Inouye, a prominent Hawaiian politician, advocate of Asian-American rights, and member of the famous 442nd Infantry Regiment; Ellison Onizuka, the first Asian-American astronaut who died tragically in the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster; Ernie Pyle, a Pulitzer prize winning journalist known for covering the lives of American G.I.’s killed during the Battle of Okinawa; and Patsy Mink, another prominent Hawaiian politician, who was the first woman of color to be elected to Congress, advocate of women’s rights, and co-author of Title IX.

The Punchbowl Crater is a solemn place, though it does offer its share of attractions so long as the visitor is respectful. It also features a very good lookout from which one can see just about all of Honolulu, minus the Manoa and Palolo valleys.


The Cemetery is open seven days a week from 8am-6pm, with the visitors center open Monday-Friday, 8am-4:30pm. The cemetery is closed on federal holidays except Memorial Day. There is ample parking within the Cemetery, and you can simply drive right in.


Pro Tip: Searching for a grave in this or any other cemetery can be difficult: use Find a Grave to quickly and accurately see right where the person’s grave you are looking for is located and learn more about them when information is available!

Check It Out!

More Photos!