Haedong Yonggung-sa (해동용궁사) is the only temple in Korea that sits right near the sea.
This temple offers you a picturesque view and if you want to enjoy this beautiful place you have to go to Busan (부산) in the very south of Korea.
Haedong Yonggungsa can be translated as the “Korean Dragon Palace Temple”.
Built in 1376, the Haedong Yonggung-sa Temple is one of the major Buddhist temples in Busan and definitely the most popular one. We wanted to find out what makes this temple so attractive …
On 1st January 2010 we boarded the KTX-train in Seoul for Busan. 4 hours later we arrived at Busan Station. It was almost 10 degrees warmer than in Seoul ! From Busan station we headed to Haeundae (해운대) by subway. We ate samgyeopsal (삼겹살) in a restaurant near the beach and after dinner we made a walk on the beach. Among many other Koreans we enjoyed the beautiful evening sky on the first day of the new year.
Being very curious to see Haedong Yonggung-sa we woke up early. After breakfast we took bus #181 for 25 minutes ride to the temple. From the busstop it took only a few minutes walk to reach the temple area.
We hoped to see the sunrise but it was cloudy and quite chilly. Luckily there were not many visitors. So we had plenty of space to take pictures and enjoy this beautiful temple.
For a long time this temple was known as Bomunsa temple. During the Japanese invasion at the end of the 16th century it was completely burned to the ground. The temple remained destructed for 300 years until the 1930′ s when it was rebuilt by a Venerable monk of Tongdosa temple, who also renamed it as Yonggungsa temple. The main sanctuary was recently renovated in 1970.
After passing the entrance gate and the zodiac alley we headed to a smaller entrance gate with golden dragon pillars. From here we followed the 108 steps path downwards. At the end of the path we crossed the huge granite bridge that gives entrance to the courtyard of the temple.
Here you will catch the large golden Buddha statue and the brilliant white statue of the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy. However, the major attractions of this temple are the bronze dragon and the stone pagoda ‘s.
When you climb up the mountain you have the chance to catch some breathtaking sceneries of the East-Sea.
As time passed the sun broke through and a couple of hours later the temple was overwhelmed by many tourists, especially many Chinese, who came here to make a wish for the new year. After staying there for 3 hours we left this beautiful place.
The peaceful ambiance and the beautiful location near the coast makes this temple to one of my favorite temples in Korea. We promised ourselves to pay another visit in spring to see the cherry blossoms. Must be very wonderful !
Look here for more pictures about Haedong Yonggungsa : FLICKR.COM/K-MOOD