Tours

Look Inside Buddhist Temples and Travel Through Time

See & Do Tours

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Traditional Buddhist Temples Look Inside and Travel Through Time
 
Seoul has many traditional temples from three different time periods. Buddhist temples have normally been placed in the deep mountains whereas temples in the middle of town are said to be places for meditating Buddhists caught up in the busy world. Exploring traditional temples is a good way to learn the architecture, cultural assets, and the history of Korean Buddhism. Your mind and soul can be cleansed and healed through visiting the temples when you’re close enough to look deep inside the buildings and find the meanings behind them.
When going to the temple, there are certain etiquette practices to be aware of. For example, the pillar gate is the first entrance for the temple. One should remember a proper dress code and attitude. After passing the first gate, you can see a small clean watering pond. You are required to wash your hands as this symbolizes cleaning your body and soul. When you enter the Buddhist sanctuary, you should use the left or right ended gates instead of the middle one. A few nights at a Buddhist temple might be a memorable trademark for your visit to Korea.

 

 
Course Information
Course: Bongeunsa Temple → Yeonghwasa Temple → Jogyesa Temple → Bongwonsa Temple → Suengasa Temple
Duration : 7 to 8 hours
 
Course 1Daily healing experience in body and soul at Bongeunsa Temple
Built during the Shilla Dynasty, Bongeunsa Temple is approximately 1,000 years old. However, Queen MunJeong (who was the second wife of King Jungjong of Joseon) revived the temple with Monk Bo-Woo. During this period, the national monk exams, which were taken every three years, were implemented again. Monk Hue-Jung became known for Suhsandaesa and Monk Yoo-Jung became known for Samyungdaesa. Bongeunsa Temple has attracted not only believers but also, tourists because of its downtown location.When you enter the one pillar gate, you can see the main sanctuary, the Buddhist shrine, and several edifices. Due to its’ longevity, Bongeunsa Temple has many cultural assets. The left side of the main sanctuary is known for Pan-jeon. Pan- is the oldest building at Bongeunsa Temple. Preserved and engraved Buddha sayings are kept there. The letters on the front board are famous for being written by Junghee Kim, the master of calligraphy. It is also said that Junghee Kim was a frequent visitor then. The front sign on the main sanctuary was also written by Junghee Kim, who imitated the front sign on the main sanctuary at the Jin-Kwan Temple located on Bukhansan Mountain. Junghee Kim has shown a lot of affection for Bongeunsa Temple. While one tours the temple, one has to make an effort to detach from the desire to pray for peace in one’s heart. If you can discover just an ounce of peace, then the trip has been meaningful for you.
 

Address : Seoul, Gangnam-gu, Samseong-dong 73, 135-090
Phone Number : 02-544-2141
Homepage : www.bongeunsa.org (Korean)
How to get there: Take line 2 and exit at Samseong Station in the direction of Coex Mall for 10 minutes, Take line 7 and get off at Cheongdam Station in the direction of Coex Mall for 10 minutes
 


 
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Seonjeongneung Royal Tomb is the place of royal tombs where King Sung-Jong, his second wife, Queen Junghyun, and their son, King Chung-Jong are buried. The tomb of the King Chung-Chong has relocated by his one of wives, Queen Munjung, who wanted to be buried near her husband. This is a popular place to visit because Seonjeongneung Royal Tomb is not far from the Bongeunsa Temple and is surrounded by 500 year old guardian pine trees.

How to get there : Line 2 or the Bundang Line, Exit 8
Address : Seoul, Gangnam-gu, Samseong -dong 131
Phone number : 02-568-1291
Open Times : 06:00~21:00 Holidays : Every Monday Entrance Fee : Adult(1000Won), Child(500Won)
Homepage : http://seonjeong.cha.go.kr
 


 
How to get from Course 1 to Course 2
Take Line No 2 at Samseong station straight to Guui Station, Leave Exit no 1 and take the bus 03 until you get to the Yeonghwasa Temple Entrance
 
Course 2Yeonghwasa Temple, the historical site of Mountain Ah-Cha.

Yeonghwasa Temple is located at the foothills of Achasan Mountain. Built by a King in 672, it took tremendous effort for the temple to be built at the time.
From the center, you can see Daeungjeon Hall. From there, if you keep going up the mountain ridge a few more steps, you will come across Mireukjeon. There is a gigantic stone Buddha on natural rock in the Mireukjeon. This stone Buddha, Mireuk is known for being been built in the Goryeo Dynasty and being painted white. The legend behind the stone Buddha goes that King SeJo of Joseon Dynasty had an incurable skin disease which was instantly healed by praying at the stone. As a result of the legend, there are so many visitors who bring wishes, especially during national college exams. Even if you are not a Buddhist and don’t have special desires to pray, this temple is a good place to drop by on your way to Achasan Mountain.

Address : Seoul, Gwangjin-gu, Guui2-dong, Yeonghwasa-ro 107
Phone Number : 02-444-4321
How to Get There : Take Line no 5 at Achasan Station and walk 15 minutes from Exit 1


 
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Achasan Mountain is one of branches of the mountain ranges of Baegak. Although it is not high, it is known for a wonderful view of the Hangang River from the top. You can see the remnants of the fortress and the remains of 15 different bastions. The mountain peak tells a sad history of the fall of the Baekje kingdom with the death of King Gaero (수정 from the battle with the northern rival kingdom Goguryeo. You can also watch the clay fortress of Mongchontoseong and Pungnaptoseong easily from the top. There is the Goguryeojeong Pavillon dedicated to the memory of the Goguryeo Dynasty at the top and The Museum of Goguryeo at the bottom of the mountain.
 

 
How to go from Course 2 to Course 3
From Yeonghwasa Temple Entrance walk towards Achasan Station on Line 5. Transfer at Jongno 5(o)ga station for line 3 to Anguk Station. Use Anguk Station Exit 6 and walk ten minutes
 
Course 3Jogyesa Temple, where Buddha’s Goodness sits amongst the Metropolitan

The Jogyesa Temple serves as the headquarters to the Korean Jo-Gye order which has a long history of 1,700 years and is located in Gyeonji-dong, Jongno-gu. The monk poem, Han Young-un involved to build Gakhwangsa Temple with several members in 1910. Gakhwangsa Temple moved into its’ present location and was renamed to Taegosa. Taegosa temple was renamed with the Buddhist Purfication Movement in order to clear away the vestiges of Japanese colonial era.
When you enter the gate, you can feel how quiet it is steps away from the busy downtown center. The main sanctuary is well known for being the biggest sized one story building in Korea and for its view of the Buddha. The calligraphy sign upfront on the board is imitated by rubbing Hwaeomsa Temple, which is located in the Jeollanam-do Province. The calligraphy on the board is one of Prince Ue-Chang, who was the eighth son of King Seonjo. The main sanctuary has a large Buddha Triad (Samjonbul); the center is Buddha Sukga, the west Amida and the eastern Yu rae are both sides. You can see the monk preaching to followers in the main sanctuary.
You can also see the seven storied stone tower which is sealed in the sacred relics of Buddha. There is a 500 years old white pine tree which has been preserved as one of Korea’s natural treasure assets. Jogyesa Temple also has several tangible cultural properties such as a wooden sculptured Buddha statue and more. There is another 450 year old tree and locusts trees which cover almost the entire front yard at the main sanctuary. The Central Buddhist Museum is located behind the main sanctuary.
Jogyesa Temple holds many Buddhism events over the year because it is located in the center of Seoul. Near temple, there are many Buddhism related shops and restaurants. There is also an information center at the Temple for any questions you might have about Buddhist cultures and foods.
 

Address: Seoul, Jongno-gu, Ujeongguk-ro 55
Phone NUmber : 02-732-2115
Homepage : www.jogyesa.kr
How to get there : Walk 10 minutes to Exit 6 of Line 3, Anguk Station, Line 1 Jonggak Station
Walk 10 minutes from Exit 2
 


 
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UjeongChongGuk, located beside Jogyesa Temple, is where the modern postal service began and used to be the place where Jeonuigam practiced making medicines and herbs. UjeongChongGuk was founded on the recommendation from Youngsik Hong who toured abroad according to the command of King Gojong in 1884. During the inaugural party celebration, Gapsin Jeongbyeon (Gapsin coup d’état) took place so postal service went on hold at that time. We assume that there were several buildings but now only one house remains

Address : Seoul, Jongro-gu 59
Phone Number : 02-734-8369
Open Times : 09:00~18:00 Holidays : January 1st, Lunar New Year, Chuseok
 


 
How to get from Course 3 to Course 4
Walk 10 minutes towards Jongak Station, take line 1, arrive at Seoul Station and use exit 9-1 Take Bus 7024 until you get to Bongeunsa Temple
 
Course 4The long history of old temple on Mountain Ansan, Bongwonsa Temple

Bongwonsa Temple is the headquarters of Taego Order of Korean Buddhism. Great master Doseon built Banyasa Temple, now where Yonsei University is, during in the era of Queen Jinseong of Shilla dynasty. Banyasa Temple flourished during the Shilla dynasty through the Goryeo dynasty. The temple was renamed Bongwonsa Temple since Banyasa Temple was moved into the present place in the era of King Yeongjo of Joseon. It is said that the front letters on the main sanctuary were given by King Yeongjo himself.
Standing at over one thousand years old, Bongwonsa Temple, supplies a clean and beautiful view to guests because of its location on Ansan Mountain. The old zelkova tree stands to welcome for visitors at the entrance of main sanctuary. Lotuses in the front yard awaken the Buddhist spirit to visitors. It provides a graceful view of the architectural design connecting lines with small houses and mountain branches.
Bongwonsa Temple has many historical stories and events. It has roots in the enlightenment party as led by Kim, Okgyun and Park, Younghyo. It is also the place that the Korean Research Institute and the former Hangul Institute in 1908 was founded. This is where Yeongsanjae, the event for world peace and uniting Korea, is held.
 

Address : Seoul, Seodaemun-gu, Bongwon-dong, san 1
Phone Number : 02-392-3007~8
Homepage : http://bongwonsa.or.kr
How to get there : Take bus 7024 to the last stop and walk 5 minutes to Bongwonsa Temple
 


 
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Dongnimmun located in Seodaemun Independece Park is the first Western piece of architecture in Korea. The gate imitated the Triumphal Arch in Paris. Although in Korea, we often associate the word ‘independence’ as one from Japan, this is not the case. The gate was originally built for independence from China. The gate was called Yeongeunmun during the Joseon dynasty and used to welcome the ambassadors from Ming Dynasty of China. It was originally the symbol of independence from China. The place was renovated and opened for the public as Seodaemun Independence Park in 2009. It is good place for learning the trace of independent movement.

Address : Seoul, Seodaemun, Tongil-ro 17, 32-7
Phone Number : 02-360-8590
Homepage : www.sdm.go.kr
 


 
How to get from Course 4 to Course 5
Take Bus 7024 from Bongwonsa Temple until you get to Seoul Bus Transfer Center. Take Bus 7022 until you get to the Institute for the Translation of Korean Classics, Walk 30 minutes or take a shuttle bus from the front of the Institute
 
Course 5Sueng-Ga Temple, Guarded by the Memorial Stone of King Jinhueng Sunsoo

Temple Sueng-Ga was built in 756 (King Kyungduck 15, Shilla dynasty). It is listed as the same location with the memorial stone of King Jinhuengsunsoo under Beebong in Mount Bukhan. High Monk of Shilla, Won-Hoe judged that the place of Sueng-Ga Temple was the best of the best place, and predicted if it had been built a temple, it could bring peace and abundance to nation and people. People followed his words and Sueng-Ga Temple is that result. It is said that high monk Daegakguksa Usa visited this place and the master calligrapher, Kim, Jung-Hee stayed here. Kim, Jung-Hee found out the memorial stone of Jinjuensunsoo here and stayed for encrypted the meaning of the letters on the stone for 7days.
During Korean War, almost all the buildings here were destroyed. The cultural assets of the temple are the treasure #1000, the stone statue Suenggadaesasang in the house of Yaksa and the treasure # 215, a seated bronze statue of Gugidong Buddha. Monk Suengga, the high monk of India went to China and delivered his beliefs at the time of the Dang dynasty. People wanted to memorialize his achievements so that it was built the statue of Nahan and renamed into temple Seung-Ga here in Korea. The pond, besides the statue of Suengga has a legend Queen Sohen, the wife of Great King SeJong who was healed after drinking water. This has encouraged many people to drink water here.
If you go up 108 stairs along with the house of Yaksa, you will find a seated bronze statue of Gugidong Buddha at the end of those stairs. Number 108 symbolizes is the number of human agony suffering on living. Not only are there 108 stairs, one should bow 108 times and ring the bell 108 times. When you go up the 108 stairs, you can meet the mental world and human understanding of Buddha.
 

Address : Seoul, Jongro-gu, Bi-bong 4, 213
Phone Number : 02-379-2996
How to get tehre : Take Line no 3 from Gyeongbukgung Station, go in the direction of Gugi Tunnel, get off after 5 stops and walk 30 minutes. Walk 30 minutes or take a shuttle bus from the front of the Institute for the Translation of Korean Classics
 


 
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Jingwansa Temple was built by high monk Jingwan Daesa During the period of King HyeonJong of Goryeo dynasty and well known for being one of the four best temples near the Seoul area. The first King of Joseon dynasty, Taejo, built Suryuksa and had a comfort ceremony for the fallen royal family from Goryeo dynasty. The Great King Sejong made a research library here and helped scholars such as Sung Sammun, Shin Sukju, Park Paengnyeon etc create Hanguel. Jingwansa Temple is suitable for a one night experience because of the beautiful view. The guest houses are newly built for guests and hold several Buddhism programs such as chamseon , bowing 108 times, and barugongyang.

Address : Seoul, Eunpyung gu 354
Phone Number : 02-359-8410
Homepage : http://www.jinkwansa.org (Korean)
How to get there : Take Bus 7024 from the Yeonghwasa Entrance, get to Yeongcheon Market, transfer to bus 701 and get off at Hana High School and walk in the direction of Jingwansa Temple