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Buddhist Temples in Southern Area of Korea

Buddhist Temples in Southe...

The following list presents some of the temples of the Southern areas of Korea in alphabetical order by area - Busan, Jeju Island, North Jeolla Province, South Gyeongsang Province, and South Jeolla Province. 

Beomeo-sa (Beomeo Temple) is located on the eastern slope of Geumjeong-san in Busan and is said to have been built by the Great Priest Uisang during the Silla Kingdom. It is one of the ten most famous temples of Korea's Hwaeom Sect of Buddhism (which preaches the doctrine of all encompassing harmony).
Adults: Individual-1,000 won, group (30 people or over)-900 won
Youths, Soldiers: Individual-700 won, Group (30 people or over)-600 won
Children (4 years old ad over): Individual-500 Won, Group (30 people or over)-400 won
Directions: Subway line 1, Beomeo-sa Station, exit 5 or 7; then take bus 90 at Samsin Transportation Co.'s Bus Terminal

Younggung-sa is another temple in the Busan area.
Directions:  Haeundae Beach -> Dalmaji Hill -> Songjeong Beach. Past the entrance of Songjeong beach is a sign to Yonggung-sa on the left.

is what remains of a formerly very proment temple on Jeju Island. Only a few buildings have been rebuilt, including the main prayer hall, a small hermitage up a short climb, and a small residence hall for the monks living here. The main prayer hall includes hundreds of small Buddha images. Although the outside of the building is in disrepair, the inside has been well maintained.
Admission is free.
Bus: Take a bus along highway 99 (1100 Road) and get off near the intersection with highway 1117. From here, it is a 1.5 km walk up a small access road to the temple.
Car: Take highway 99 (1100 Road) to near the intersection with highway 1117. Follow the access road to the southeast. Parking: free.  

Yakcheon-sa has recently been refurbished and is situated on land overlooking the ocean. Yakch'eon (yak means medicine, ch'eon means stream) Temple is a striking contract to other temples that have fallen into disrepair. The paintings covering the buildings demonstrate how a temple should look in all its splendor..
Admission is Free
Directions: Seobu Tourism Road -> Jungmun Resort Complex -> Yakcheon-sa

NORTH JEOLLA Province (Jeollabuk-do):
 is located along the northern border of Jiri-san National Park and directly faces Ch'eonwangbong, the park's highest peak. Built in 828, it was the first of the Gusan Seonmun (the nine Zen Buddhist temples that formed the birthplace of Seon, the Korean Zen sect). Many generations of Seon monks trained and studied at the facilities here.
Admission: Adults: 1,500 won, Youths: 1,200 won, Children: 800 won
Directions: Honam Expressway, Jeonju Interchange -> Jeonju City -> National Road #17 -> Namwon -> National Road #24 towards Unbong -> Unbong -> Inwol -> Local Road #60 towards Sannae-myeon -> Silsang-sa,
Bus: Local buses ply the road between neignboring villages. Several buses from Namwon also stop by here on their way to and from nearby hiking spots.
Car: From Namwon, take highway 19 northeast out of town to highway 24. Go east to route 60. Turn south, and the temple is a few kilometers past the intersection with route 729. 

SOUTH GYEONGSANG Province (Gyeongsangnam-do)
  is a branch temple of Haein- sa. Although reputed to have been built by priest Yon-Gi during the Silla Dynasty, no records exist as to when it was actually built. The present temple buildings were rebuilt by priest Kim Pomil in 1959.
Admission: Adults 1,500 won, Youths 800 won, Children 600 won
Directions: Expressway between Daejeon and Tongyeong, Sancheong Interchange -> Local Road #59  Jirisan direction -> turn right at Samjang-myeon, Pyeongchon-ri three-way junction -> Daewon-sa

Gilsang-am is near the entrance to Gaya-san National Park, along the stream to the left of the road.  Two large, stone Buddhas can be found here. One stands in a courtyard surrounded by many smaller Buddhas. Also here is a large pagoda, several stone lanterns, and several monuments.
Admission to Gaya-san National Park:
Adults: 1,600 won (Groups: 1,400 won)
Students, Youths, Soldiers: 600 won (Groups: 500 won)
Children: 300 won (Groups: 250 won)
Directions to the Park: Gyeongbu Expressway -> Gimcheon Interchange -> National Road #59 -> National Road #33 -> Seongjudam -> Suryun-myeon -> turn right to National Road #59 -> Baekun-dong -> turn right at Yacheon-ri to National Road #59 -> Gaya-san National Park

Haein-sa, which means a reflection on the ocean and comes from a phrase of the Avatamsaka sutra is most famous for the Tripitaka Koreana (woodblocks containing the entire teachings of Buddha) housed here.
Admission: Included in Gaya-san National Park admission (see above).
Directions: Olympic Expressway -> Haein-sa Interchange -> Gayasan towards Haein-sa, Local Road #1033 -> about 14 kilometers north -> Haein-sa Open only during the following period:
Note: this temple is only open during certain periods: from Lunar New Year to the 15days of the first Lunar month, from the 3rd lunar months to the 14 day of the 4th lunar month, and from Jul. 15 to Oct. 15 of the solar calendar.
Naewon-sa is well-known as a temple for Buddhist nuns. Burnt down during the Korean War, it was reconstructed in 1958. The valley leading to the temple is deep and beautiful, with a cool stream flowing through it. Tourists are lured by its cool, clear water in the summer. Hikers enjoy the ever-changing landscapes in spring, autumn, and winter. Nearby is a famous shop selling Chinese herbal medicines.
Admission: Adults 1,300 won, Youths 1,000 won, Children 800 won
Parking 2,000 won
Directions: Gyeongbu Expressway, Tongdo Interchange -> Naewon-sa

Seognam-sa, located in Gaji-san Provincial Park, was constructed in 824, during the reign of King Heondeog of the Shilla Dynasty. It is now a nunnery. The temple grounds contain 30 buildings and a number of treasures. It commands a fine view of the surrounding area. Rare thorny ash trees also grow in the area.Location: Deokhyon-ri, Sangbuk-myeon
Admission: 1,700 won
Directions: Gyeongbu Expressway -> Seoul Interchange -> National Road #24 -> Seognam-sa 

Ssanggye-sa is one of the 25 main temples of the Chogye Buddhist order and is responsible for other temples in the western part of South Gyeongsang Province. It was originally built in 772. Approximately 2 kilometers east of Ssanggye-sa are Bulil Falls. These 60-meter falls flow throughout the year and are used for ice climbing duing the winter. You can floow the path along the stream running past the temple to get there.
Admission: Adults: 3,400 won / Youths: 1,300 won
Directions: Namwon -> National Road #19 -> Gurye-eup -> National Road #19 towards Hadong at Gurye, Seosigyo -> Hwagae Market site -> Ssanggye-sa

Tongdo-sa is located in Youngchwi-san and is not only a temple but also a museum. The temple grounds contain 35 buildings and 14 hermitages are nearby. This temple is one of the three major temples in Korea called the Sambosachal temples (the others are Haein-sa and Songgwang-sa). It was built in 646.
Information: (055) 382-7182 (or contact 133)
Hours: 9:00 - 18:00 (Nov.-Feb. until 17:00)
Admission: Adults: 2,000 won / Youths: 1,500 won /Children: 1,000 won
Museum Admission: Adults: 2,000 won / Students, Seniors: 1,000 won /Children: Free 
Directions: Gyeongbu Expressway -> Tongdo-sa Interchange

SOUTH JEOLLA Province (Jeollanam-do)
Bulgap-sa (
불갑사) was the very first Buddhist temple to be built in Korea.
Address: 450, Bulgapsa-ro, Bulgap-myeon, Yeonggwang-gun, Jeollanam-do 
Directions: From Yeonggwang Bus Terminal, take a bus to Bulgapsa Temple

 (천은사) is a branch temple of Hwaeomsa, and is one of the three great Buddhist temples on Jirisan (Mountain). 
Address: 209, Nogodan-ro, Gwangui-myeon, Gurye-gun, Jeollanam-do 
Hours: 7 AM - 7:30 PM
Directions: Take Jikhaeng bus in Gurye to Cheoneun; takes ~40 minutes. Geting to Gurye by taxi takes about 15 minutes.

Daedun-sa (대흥사) is located in the middle of Duryun Provincial Park, Maonland Korea's southernmost park. 
Address: 400, Daeheungsa-gil, Samsan-myeon, Haenam-gun, Jeollanam-do
Directions: Take a bus heading to Daedunsa Temple at Haenam Intercity Bus Terminal and get off at Daedunsa Temple

Hwaom-sa  (화엄사)  marks one of the major gateways to Jiri-san National Park. Built beside Masan Stream, which is where one of the park's main hiking trails starts and parallels the stream to its headwaters near Nogodan, one of the major peaks along the Jiri-san backbone. (The hike takes about 3 1/2 hours going up and 3 hours coming down.) The temple grounds contain many cultural artifacts.
Address: 539, Hwaeomsa-ro, Masan-myeon, Gurye-gun, Jeollanam-do.
Directions: From Gurye Bus Terminal, take a city bus bound for Hwa-eomsa Temple. The walk to the temple takes 15-20 minutes.

Seonam-sa (선암사)  is a beautiful temple located at the west end of Jogyesan (Mountain) One of the most popular trails extends between Seonam-sa and Songgwang-sa on the other side of the park.
Address: 450, Seonamsa-gil, Seungju-eup, Suncheon-si, Jeollanam-do 
Directions: From the Sunchon Jonghap Bus Terminal, take Bus 1 or 16 to Seonamsa Temple bus stop.
From the entrance of the mountain, follow the trail for 1km to arrive at the temple.

Songgwang-sa (송광사) is one of the Sambosachal temples, along with Haein-sa and Tongdo-sa. Sambosachal means the temples of three treasures. Sambo means three treasures and sachal means temple. The three treasures consist of bulbo (no statue of Buddha in the main sanctum), bopbo (contains Buddhist scriptures), and seungbo (famous monks). 
Address: 100 Songgwangsaan-gil, Songgwang-myeon, Suncheon, Jeollanam-do
Directions: From Suncheon Bus Terminal, catch Green Bus no. 111 by the S-Oil Gas Station 100m SW of the bus terminal. Get off at Songgwangsa Temple Bus Stop.
Website has information in English

Yeongok-sa (연곡사) located in Piagol Valley of Jiri-san National Park, this site contains the ruins of an ancient temple. 
Address: 774, Piagol-ro, Gurye, Jeollanam-do
Directions:  At Gurye Terminal transfer to a nonstop bus bound for Piagol Valley or take a taxi to cover the 21km (costs around W20,000)

HOURS: Most temples are open for visits during daylight hours only, except for special occasions. Generally between 9AM and about 5-6PM. Some, but not all of the above temples participate in TempleStay program.

INFO: Most temple websites are in Korean only. For more information contact the Korea Tourism Organisation - 1330 helpline.

ADMISSION: If admission is not free, it is usually around W5,000 or less per adult. Group rates available.

Editor`s Note: 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.

Image - Daewon-sa

Last Updated on 2020-09-01

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