Juwolsa Temple – 주월사 (Uiseong, Gyeongsangbuk-do)

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The view from the Daeung-jeon Hall at Juwolsa Temple in Uiseong, Gyeongsangbuk-do.

Hello Again Everyone!!

Located on the south-western slopes of Mt. Hwanghaksan in eastern Uiseong, Gyeongsangbuk-do is the mountainside Juwolsa Temple. At an elevation of nearly 300 metres, you get a great view of the valley below.

Climbing the stairs towards the compact temple grounds, you’ll pass by a pair of intertwining dragon based stone lanterns. These highly unique lanterns are only rivaled by the five tier pagoda with squat dragons around its base in the main temple courtyard.

Behind the five tier stone pagoda is the Daeung-jeon main hall at Juwolsa Temple. The exterior walls to this hall are adorned with various Nahan (The Disciples of the Historical Buddha) murals. A variety of Nahan murals can also be found inside the Daeung-jeon Hall, as well. Resting on the main altar is a triad of statues centred by Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha). He’s joined on either side by a crowned pair of Bodhisattvas: Munsu-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Wisdom) and Bohyeon-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Power). To the right of the main altar is the temple’s guardian mural. And to the left of the main altar, and rather uniquely, are two white papered walls with a statue of Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife) taking up residence in an opening on the left of the two white walls.

To the left and immediate right of the main hall are a pair of buildings for the monks that take up residence at Juwolsa Temple; namely the monks’ dorms and the temple kitchen. It’s up the embankment that you’ll find the next shrine hall, the Yonghwa-jeon Hall. Housed inside this hall is a metre tall statue of Mireuk-bul (The Future Buddha) that dates back to the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392).

But it’s to the right of both the Yonghwa-jeon Hall and the monks’ dorms that you’ll find the true stand-out at Juwolsa Temple. In this part of the temple, you’ll find the pond fronted Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall. Crossing the wooden bridge that spans the neighbouring pond, you’ll enter the older looking Samseong-gak. Immediately upon entering the shaman shrine hall, you’ll be welcomed by a unique Sanshin (Mountain Spirit) mural with the hypnotizing eyes of the tiger that stands next to him. Rounding out the set of paintings inside the Samseong-gak is the Chilseong (The Seven Stars) mural that hangs in the centre. This mural appears to have been painted by the same artist as the Sanshin Taenghwa, as is the lazing Dokseong (The Lonely Saint) mural inside the shaman shrine hall.

HOW TO GET THERE: From the Uiseong Intercity Bus Terminal, you’ll need to take the bus that reads: “Uiseong – Hwamok.” With this bus, you’ll need to take it for 13 stops, or 26 minutes. Finally, you’ll need to get off at the Yangji 3-ri (양지3리) bus stop. From this stop, you’ll need to walk 1.4 km, or 21 minutes, to get to Juwolsa Temple.

You can take public transportation, or you can simply take a taxi from the Uiseong Intercity Bus Terminal. From the bus terminal to Juwolsa Temple, it’ll take 22 minutes and set you back 12,000 won.

OVERALL RATING: 6/10. This temple is situated in a rather remote part of the country in Uiseong, Gyeongsangbuk-do. With that in mind, the pond out in front of the Samseong-gak, the masonry behind the temple pagoda and stone lanterns, as well as the beautiful view of the valley down below, make Juwolsa Temple a pretty tempting place to visit in a little traveled part of Korea.

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The temple courtyard at Juwolsa Temple.

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The dragon base of one of the stone lanterns at the temple.

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Inside the Daeung-jeon Hall.

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The guardian mural inside the Daeung-jeon Hall.

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The white walls of the Jijang-bosal shrine inside the Daeung-jeon Hall.

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One of the Nahan murals that adorns the interior and exterior walls of the Daeung-jeon Hall.

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The Yonghwa-jeon Hall to the rear of the Daeung-jeon Hall.

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The Mireuk-bul statue that dates back to the Goryeo Dynasty housed inside the Yonghwa-jeon Hall.

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The wintry sky from the Yonghwa-jeon Hall.

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A look down on a snowy Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall.

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A look across the frozen pond out in front of the Samseong-gak.

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The Chilseong mural in the centre of the set of murals inside the shaman shrine hall.

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To the right hangs this mural dedicated to Sanshin.

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And to the left hangs this mural of Dokseong.

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The snow covered view at Juwolsa Temple.

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