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Buddhist Temples in Seoul

Buddhist Temples in Seoul

Bongeun-sa, situated just north of the COEX Center, offers a quiet retreat from the hustle and bustle of crowded city life. The temple is a major center for the Seon (Zen) sect of Buddhism, which focuses on meditation. Established in 794 by Ven. Yeon-hoe (the National Master Monk of Unified Silla at that time), the temple was originally called Gyeonseong-sa (meaning "seeing true nature"). The temple was rebuilt in 1498 and renamed Bongeun-sa (meaning "offering benefit"). In 1562 it was moved about 1 km to its current location and rebuilt. Destroyed by fire in 1592 and 1637, it has been repeatedly rebuilt and renovated

Admission: Free
Subway line 2, Samseong Station, Stop219, exit 6, 100 meters towards ASEM Tower
Subway line 7, Cheongdam Station, Stop 729, exit 2, 150 meters towards Kyunggi High School

Bongwon-sa  was originally built on the site of today's Yonsei University (the former site of Yonhi Palace) by Great Master Dosean in 889 and was to the current site in 1748. This temple has come to grandeur owing to continuous reconsruction. The current appearance comes from changes made in 1911 by Yi Bodam, the abbot of this temple. As the head temple for the T'aego order of Korean Buddhists, which is the authority order of Korean Buddhist society, it has many cultural traditions.

Information: 02-392-3007
Directions: take a taxi from Shinchon Subway Station (stop 240)

Hwagye-sa is home to the Seoul International Zen Center. Foreign monks and Buddhist people live and practice here. Although not a very big temple compared to other famous ones, Hwagye-sa is full of history. The Royal families of the Chosun Dynasty often visited it to pray for the nation's well being. Its garden is very beautiful and is filled with many trees and the buildings preserve the style of the late Chosun Dynasty. Many talented Buddhist artists came from here.

Admission: Free
Directions: Subway line 4, Suyu Station, Stop 414,  Exit 3, - take maeul (village) bus #2 and get off at Hwagye-sa (Temple), or walk to to the temple from Suyu Station - takes about 5 minutes; or take a taxi (basic rate).

Jogye-sa is the headquarters for Chogyejong, the largest sect of Buddhists in Korea and one of the largest temples within Seoul's city limits. Located near Insa-dong, each year it holds a major Lantern Festival in honor of Buddha's Birthday. Because of its influence among Korea's Buddhist population, nearby are a number of shops selling various Buddhist-related paraphernalia, such as clothes, prayer beads, candles, and cassette tapes of chants,

Admission: Free
Subway line 1, Jonggak Station, stop 132, exit 2, 10 minutes walking
Subway line 3, Anguk Station, stop 328, exit 6, 10 minutes walking

Photo is of Bogeun-sa

K4E Notes: Most temples are open for visits during daylight hours only, except for special occasions. Generally between 9AM and about 5-6PM.
Source: Much of the information above is from Life in Korea. Please check out the site for more details on the temples: http://www.lifeinkorea.com or contact KTO's 1330 (02-1330 from a cell phone) for more details regarding hours and directions.

If you note that a particular temple you know is missing from this list, please email us at info@korea4expats.com with information so that we can add it.

Last Updated on 2011-01-26

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