chinatown district

Armstrong Building

175 N King Street
Architect: Unknown
Style: Commercial

The Armstrong Building is a two-story bluestone lava rock building located at the corner of River Street and King Street. The building features multiple storefronts on the ground level with living quarters above, an arrangement that served as an archetype for other buildings in Chinatown.

In 1922, Lincoln L McCandless purchased the Armstrong building. This building had been home to Musashiya, a popular fabric store, until the most current owner moved the store to Ala Moana in the 60s. Koichiro Miyamoto, son of Musashiya's founder, created and marketed the first aloha shirt in 1935 in the Armstrong Building.

Oahu Railway & Land Terminal

333 N King Street
Architect: Bertram Goodhue
Style: Spanish Mission Revival

Oahu Railway & Land (OR & L) was founded in 1889 by Benjamin Dillingham. The current building, designed by Bertram Goodhue in 1927, served as a terminal for the train. The building is made of concrete covered with stucco. The terminal is known for its clock tower, Spanish arches, and red tile roof.

Dillingham’s OR&L Company helped to advance development across the island in areas that were difficult to get to. The rail provided transportation to plantations, military stations, and residences on the Ewa and north sides of Oahu. Train service ended in 1947, and the terminal became a bus depot for Honolulu Rapid Transit or as it is now called, TheBus. In 2001, the building was renovated for use by the Department of Human Services.

Part of the OR & L train tracks can still be seen on the west side of the island. The Hawaiian Railway Society actively runs a train ride from Ewa to Koolina.

Wo Fat Restaurant Building

103 N Hotel Street
Architect: Y.T. Char
Style: Art Deco with Asian influences


The Wo Fat Restaurant was established in 1882, but the building was rebuilt twice in the same spot after the fires of 1886 and 1900. In 1938, the building was updated by Y. T. Char with common Art Deco elements of the era mixed with Asian characteristics.

Wo Fat was the oldest operating restaurant in Hawaii before its closure in 2009. After the restaurant’s closure, the ground floor was converted into a supermarket, and the upper floor was used as a showroom for concerts. Recently, the upper level of the Wo Fat Building was home to a gallery and nightclub called The Loft, which is now closed.

Oahu Market

145 N King Street
Architect: unknown
Style: 20th Century Commercial


Oahu Market is a large open-air market founded by businessman Anin "Tuck" Young. The market is recognized by the red sign on its roof, red roof lining, and red shades hanging from the ceiling. The building stands as it was originally built with a stone foundation, bricks, coral blocks, and a wooden roof.

When it was first built, the Oahu Market rivaled a government-owned public market located on Alakea Street. The Oahu Market provided an alternative place to buy fresh meat and vegetables closer to Chinatown. The public market was primarily occupied by Caucasian storeowners, whereas the Oahu Market was made up of various Asian storeowners.

In 1984, the Oahu Market Corporation, made up of market tenants, purchased the building from the Young family.

Lum Yip Kee Building

80 King Street
Architect: unknown
Style: 20th Century Commercial


The Lum Yip Kee Building was built in 1903, but opened in 1910. This building is noted as the location where Dr. Sun Yat-Sen, the founding father and first president of the Republic of China, planned a revolution for China.

The building's facade was updated in the 1970s.

L. Ah Leong Block

140 N King Street
Architect: unknown
Style: 20th Century Commercial


Not much is known about the red-brick building located at the forefront of Kekaulike Mall, but what holds a lot of historical value is name printed at the top of the building.

Lau Ah Leong was a prominent businessman and one of the founders of Chinatown. There was some scandal and drama surrounding his name, so stories of Lau Ah Leong were kept hidden away until great-granddaughter Pam Chun noticed his name on the building. She then researched the legacy of her great-grandfather and wrote a novel about him in 2002 called The Money Dragon.

Hawaii Times Building

928 Nuuanu Avenue
Architect: Charles William Dickey, Office of C.B. Ripley
Style: Richardsonian Romanesque


The Irwin Block, now known as the Hawaii Times Building, is recognized by its rough volcanic stone and brick facade. The office of C. B. Ripley was commissioned for the design of the building; it’s speculated that the building was designed by partner Charles William Dickey. Like many other buildings in Chinatown, the Hawaii Times Building sports a metal awning extending over the sidewalk.

The first occupant was Yoichi Takakuwa, activist and leader of the local Reform Association. He used the space as a wholesale store and headquarters for his organization.

In 1923, the Nippu Jiiji, a Japanese newspaper founded in 1895, purchased the Irwin Block. Upon purchasing the property, the newspaper’s name was embossed at the top of the building. In 1942, the Nippu Jiji changed its name to Hawaii Times. In 1982, architect Norman Licayo renovated the building, adding a mezzanine on the main floor, and an extension in the back with five stories. The building is mixed usage with offices and residential units.