A Merrie Little Hana Hou!

It’s always a little sad to see the Merrie Monarch end. About this time in 2009, Miles and I had just opened the airport snack bar, so we were in the airport as everyone was going home. What happened post Merrie Monarch was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever witnessed. It began Thursday as some ho ̄‘ike participants began leaving. From then until the last flight left on Sunday, we were treated to the show of our lives. With so much talent assembled in one place, a spontaneous mini-celebration was bound to happen and it did so in big style. As we bid fond aloha to our off-island visitors, I’m reminded of the constant kudos I hear from departing visitors and my real estate clients alike.

A great place to visit…

Hilo is truly special! Yep, it rains but truth is, it’s rain and the force of the Volcano that inspire not only Hula, but have formed the backdrop for a little town that is as charming as it is authentic. In Hilo, when a tarp goes up, we know a luau will follow; where there’s a ukulele, music will happen. In Hilo, where there are more parks than bars, our keiki are still the center of everything. It’s a small town with a great big heart. And still, it’s a big island with a lot going on.

..but who would want to live there?

When it comes to visiting on a more permanent basis, it’s good to consider that the intense powers of fire and water that created this place dictate that buying property should be done with seasoned assistance. Lava zones, lava tubes, tsunami zones, tsunami evacuation areas, insurance issues, coqui frogs, flood zones, and even special electricity, are all critical to property selection. We have above-ground pools that aren’t for swimming, and with 11 of 13 climates of the Earth on the Big Island, there’s an elevation and microclimate to suit every taste.

Unfortunately, roads and infrastructure haven’t always kept up with the population sprawl, which means that opportunities to lead a “green” and isolated lifestyle are boundless. But these “challenges” are part of what makes land in East Hawai`i among the least expensive in the state.

Living in Paradise

And yet, absolute pieces of paradise are routinely carved out of thick rainforest. Rural communities have mobilized to form organized, vital communities out of scattered homesites. We often joke that buyers from O`ahu must feel like ranchers when they move here. In Hilo town, lots are the size of 2-3 normal O`ahu residential lots. And most parcels along the Hamakua Coast or in Puna could easily accommodate an O`ahu hotel.

Assisting buyers and sellers over such vast and completely different terrain is all in a day’s work for East Hawai`i REALTORS®. We hope you’ll visit again soon; take the Lyman Museum walking tour and visit the Tsunami Museum. By all means, take in `Imiloa and University Park, where our little town reaches back in time and far into the universe. Discover for yourself the depth of our little town by the bay! If you are leaving today, stop by Uncle Miles Kitchen (pictured below) in the Hilo Airport lobby and say hello as you prepare to leave. There’s always free wi-fi (courtesy of Team Nakanishi), good cheer and who knows, maybe even the most unique Hana Hou you’ll ever experience!

uncle miles kitchen hilo hawaii

Welcome back, Merrie Monarch! We are so happy to see your energy in Hilo again!

Photos courtesy of Ash Tsuji

About the Author

Denise Nakanishi

Denise Nakanishi is a REALTOR Broker with Hawai'i Life. Denise Nakanishi is one of Hilo's most acclaimed real estate agents. She reached the rank of Major in the US Army and is now known by many as "Major Mom." The nickname fits–not only does Denise bring the discipline and mission-oriented attitude you'd expect, she's also caring and compassionate, always looking out for her clients like they're her own family. Having made the Big Island her home since 1987, Denise combines her extensive knowledge of the area with a sharp focus on customer service and the results speak for themselves. She's the recent recipient of the Best East Hawai`i, Best of Zillow, Chairman's Circle Award, President's Circle, Top Producing Agent since 2001, and Realtor of the Year awards. Denise stays ahead of the curve because she's passionate about education–she served as Education Chair for Hawaii Island REALTORS® for many years. She's one of Big Island's best real estate resources, known for her weekly article in the Hawaii Tribune Herald. Denise leads Team Nakanishi for Hawai`i Life, who is committed to their family, work, and community. In her little time away from work, Denise is a committed runner and Grandy. She also devotes many hours to various Veterans' Organizations, the East Hawaii Cultural Center, and the Hawaii Island REALTORS®. You can email me at or via phone at (808) 936-5100.

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Beth Thoma Robinson, R(B)

April 25, 2022

Lovely tribute to your town, Denise. It was so great to have Merrie Monarch return this year!

Denise Nakanishi, R(B)

May 15, 2022

> I agree Beth! The energy in town was so amazing, and everyone was so respectful and honored to be back.

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