Hoo Tong Bio Temple: The Oldest Konghuchu Temple in East Java and Bali
In addition to the fact that Banyuwangi is getting more famous for its tourist attractions, this region (which is located in East Java) is also known for its richness in culture. Multicultural has become the “middle name” for Banyuwangi and it’s proven by many ethnics becoming the residents of Banyuwangi. To name a few, there’s Javanese, Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Chinese, and don’t forget about the native of Banyuwangi: Osing Ethnic. It’s so awesome to see how those people can live in harmony and unity despite the difference. And sure, difference is actually something being respected in Banyuwangi. As the proof, many religious places can be found in this region. One of them is Hoo Tong Bio Temple.
Not many people know a unique fact about this temple. Hoo Tong Bio is the oldest temple in East Java and Bali. Chinese people who resided in Banyuwangi built the hoo tong bio in 1784. It means that this temple is already 234 years old! And by considering such age, it’s only normal for this religious place to become cultural heritage in Banyuwangi and at the same time, it also becomes one of the most well-known tourist attractions especially for those who are into religious traveling.
Hoo Tong Bio Location
The location of Hoo Tong Bio is at the Chinatown in Karangrejo District. To be exact, it’s located at Ikan Gurami Street No. 54. Based on the information collected from the tour guide there, Hoo Tong Bio Temple was built as the means to respect and to commemorate Tan Hu Cin Jin. He was the man behind the act of protecting Chinese people in Banyuwangi during the colonialization period done by Dutch in Indonesia. Not to mention, Tan Hu Cin Jin was also the one who spread the Konghuchu teaching in some parts of Indonesia. Hoo Tong Bio is only one of several temples he built in Indonesia. There were some other places where you can find the temples made by Tan Hu Cin Jin including in Lombok and Singaraja, Kuta, and Negara which are located in Bali.
Hoo Tong Bio Temple like what you can find nowadays is actually not at its real shape. The temple has been renovated several times within the duration of 234 years. And the biggest renovation perhaps was done in 2014 since the temple was burned on that year. However, despite many renovations and restorations being done to the temple, the original architecture of the temple’s building is still maintained until now. The area of the temple is as big as about 400 meters square. And the tower is 9 meters high. This temple is still actively used by the Chinese people who practice Konghuchu religion to pray. More than 500 people can pray at the same time in this temple without feeling too crowded.
If you are interested to go to Hoo Tong Bio Temple, it’s better for you to go there during weekdays so it will not be too crowded. And it’s also a good idea to go there during the day. You can find so many great spots to capture some photos and it’s going to be a nice experience for your traveling in Banyuwangi.