Eunsusa Temple – 은수사 (Jinan, Jeollabuk-do)


 The beautiful scenery that surrounds Eunsusa Temple in Maisan Provincial Park.

Hello Again Everyone!!

Eunsusa Temple, which means “Silver Water Temple,” in English, is located just above Tapsa Temple on the ridge. The temple was first known as Sangwonsa Temple in the early Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). It later changed its name to Jeongmyeongam Hermitage. Finally, the temple changed its name to its present name, Eunsusa Temple, when King Taejo (the founder of the Joseon Dynasty) visited the temple. After he made the comment that the water flowing nearby was as clean and smooth as pure silver, the temple became known as Eunsusa Temple.

You first approach the temple up a short, paved path. Eunsusa Temple is situated under Sutmaibong Peak, which is better known as Elephant Rock, because it literally looks like an elephant. Finally, you’ll come to a clearing with the monks’ dorms to the right. Just behind the monks’ dorms is a shrine hall dedicated to Dangun Wanggeom, who was the legendary founder of Gojoseon (the first Korean Kingdom). The exterior walls to this hexagonal shrine hall are adorned with various shamanistic motifs like a sun and moon high in the sky above a red pine and four mountain peaks. Inside this hall, and adorning the ceiling to this hall, is a swirl of kaleidoscope colours. Below this ceiling are a collection of framed pictures. Straight ahead, and on the main altar, is a rather non-descript painting of Dangun. To the right is an all white-clad painting of Sanshin-dosa, who is often used as an icon for pass-spirits. On the left wall is a hierarchy of shaman deities.

Just up the embankment, and straight ahead, is Natural Monument #386, which is a collection of Cheongsil pear trees. They are thought to only grow at Eunsusa Temple on the entire Korean peninsula. Close to these pear trees is the temple’s bell pavilion. While completely underwhelming, it does house the largest wooden drum in Korea. It was made back in 1982 and is rather large in size.

Just behind these two features are a collection of temple halls. The first to the far left is the main hall at Eunsusa Temple. As you enter the main hall, you’ll notice a triad of smaller sized statues on the altar. In the centre sits Birojana-bul (The Buddha of Cosmic Energy). He’s joined to the left by Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha). And to the right rests Nosana-bul (The Perfect Body Buddha). In the far left corner is a collection of statues which include various Nahan (The Historical Disciples of the Buddha), as well as Mireuk-bul (The Future Buddha). And on the far right wall is a guardian mural, as well as an older looking painting dedicated to Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife).

Next to this hall is the Geukrak-jeon hall. Inside this hall, and sitting on the main altar, are a triad of statues centred by Amita-bul (The Buddha of the Western Paradise). He’s joined, as usual, in this type of hall by Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion) and Daesaeji-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Wisdom and Power for Amita-bul). In the far left corner is an altar dedicated to Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion). He is joined by a large guardian mural.

The final shrine hall, and housed on the upper terrace, is the Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall. Besides it being one of the lowest ceilinged buildings I’ve been in at a Korean temple, it’s also rather unique, as well. As you enter this hall, and to your left, is an older looking guardian mural that will welcome you to this shaman shrine hall. On the main altar sits a statue of Sanshin-dosa, as well as a statue of Sanshin. These two figures are backed by a red robed, almost Dokseong-looking, mural of Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit). To the right of this collection are seven statues that represent Chilseong (The Seven Stars). These seven figures are backed by one of the larger murals dedicated to Chilseong that I’ve seen in Korea.

To the right of this hall, and back on the lower terrace, is an earthen shrine for shaman rituals. Just to the side of it is a large bronze statue of Yongwang (The Dragon King), as well as some silvery mountain water that pours into a granite fountain.

Admission to the temple, by way of Tapsa Temple, is 2,000 won. However, if you pay 3,000 won, you can see three temples: Tapsa Temple, Geumdangsa Temple, and Eunsusa Temple.

HOW TO GET THERE: First, you’ll need to get to Jinan Bus Terminal from wherever it is you live in Korea. From the bus terminal, you’ll need to take a bus bound for Maisan Provincial Park. These buses leave every 40 minutes and start at 7:30 in morning and run until 18:00. Once you’re dropped off at the entry to Maisan Provincial Park, you’ll need to walk up the path that leads to Tapsa Temple. Once at Tapsa Temple, after hiking the leisurely 1.5 kilometre trail, you’ll need to head up a steep set of stairs to the right of Tapsa Temple. Hike up this trail for 300 metres, and you’ll come to Eunsusa Temple.

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OVERALL RATING: 6/10. In combination with Tapsa Temple and Geumdangsa Temple, Eunsusa Temple makes for a pretty amazing day trip. On its own, Eunsusa Temple has quite a few unique features like the shrine hall dedicated to Dangun and Sanshin-dosa. Also, there’s the pear trees that only grow around Eunsusa Temple in all of Korea. Finally, the red robed Sanshin painting, the seven wooden figures that symbolize Chilseong, the largest wooden drum in all of Korea, and the Elephant Rock backdrop allow Eunsusa Temple to stand out on its own.


 The trail that leads up to Eunsusa Temple.


 The temple halls as you first approach the temple grounds.


The hexagonal shrine hall dedicated to Dangun.


 A look inside at the colourful ceiling and the mural of Dangun, the founder of Korea.


 The mural of Sanshin-dosa to the right of the main altar.


 A closer look at Dangun.


 The Geukrak-jeon hall beneath Elephant Rock.


 A look inside the Geukrak-jeon at the main altar.


 The guardian mural inside the Geukrak-jeon.


 The shrine dedicated to Jijang-bosal inside the Geukrak-jeon.


 The fish gong which hangs next to the largest drum in all of Korea (so they say).


 The triad of statues inside the main hall.


 The assortment of statues to the left of the main altar inside the main hall.


 You’ll then have to pass by the Geukrak-jeon hall to get to the Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall.


Finally, a look up at the Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall.


 The red-robed image of Sanshin inside the Samseong-gak.


 The mural and statues dedicated to Chilseong.