There are those who only enjoy the more recreational pursuits when they vacation, such as windsurfing and hurling down ATV trails, and then there are those who enjoy more educational pursuits. Those who like to learn about the neighborhoods and culture they are visiting. If you and your party are more in the latter, then you should consider scheduling a tour with Ho’opulapula Haraguchi Rice Mill.
Ho’opulapula Haraguchi Rice Mill is a certified nonprofit agrarian museum that is uniquely the only remaining rice mill in all of Hawaii. This farm and milling operation also happens to be one of the oldest rice mills in the state, with a production history stretching back to the 1800s. And while rice isn’t currently grown here, the land continues to serve as an operational farm.
Rice farming was once a big agricultural commodity in Hawaii, particularly booming during and in the decades immediately following the Civil War. By the 1920s, rice was second only to sugar in acreage farmed and the amount sold. However, by the 20th century, agricultural situations changed and Hawaii had stopped producing rice altogether (it simply was cheaper to import from Asia or from the American South). Today, Ho’opulapula Haraguchi Rice Mill stands as a last reminder of that agricultural history and continues the legacy of the Haraguchi family.
The Haraguchi family has owned and operated the farmlands upon which the Ho’opulapula Haraguchi Rice Mill still stands. The mill itself was rebuilt three times, once following a devastating fire and twice following hurricanes. Today, it stands as a gorgeous architectural highlight that overlooks the family’s farmlands that are now utilized to grow taro and other agricultural crops that are more amiable to Hawaii’s climate.
So if learning more about this agricultural history of Hawaii and seeing how today’s crops are grown interests you, then consider a tour with Ho’opulapula Haraguchi Rice Mill. This group offers guided tours to the general public as well as specialized school tours that cater to local and nonlocal youth.
Ho’opulapula Haraguchi Rice Mill Guided Tour
This guided tour is the only way one can see several cool parts of Kauai. First, it’s the only way to see the beautiful Hanalei valley up close and with one’s own two feet. That’s because this valley and the Haraguchi farm itself reside in a unique spot within the National Wildlife Refuge that is generally not otherwise accessible to the public. Thus, during the 3-hour farm EcoTour, guests are privy to some very exciting and unique sights, including the possibility of viewing five endangered bird species and other wildlife as well as the historic rice mill and the family’s existing farmlands.
To join Ho’opulapula Haraguchi Rice Mill Guided EcoTour, guests meet at the Hanalei Taro & Juice Co. food truck off of Kuhio Highway in Kauai’s Hanalei. While this is a long tour and you might want to snack beforehand, know that a farm-fresh picnic lunch is included as part of the guided EcoTour.
-Lunch is included. As part of the guided tour fee, guests are offered a delicious lunch sourced from ingredients grown on the same farm that’s home to the Ho’opulapula Haraguchi Rice Mill.
-The guided tour will last around 3 hours from pick up to drop off.
-School tours are much shorter, lasting about an hour, and must be privately arranged with the nonprofit’s coordination team.
-Wear clothes you don’t mind getting dirty. Depending upon when you take part in the tour, you may experience more interactive aspects. For example, the guided EcoTour will often involve picking apple snails and poi pounding. Both of which can cause some light staining on delicate fabrics.