Seochukam Hermitage – 서축암 (Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do)

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The pagoda and main hall at Seochukam Hermitage in Yangsan.

Hello Again Everyone!

For my birthday, the wife, in-laws, and I all decided to go to a hermitage associated with Tongdosa Temple.  What was the occasion?  You might be asking?  Well, the wife and in-laws decided to treat me to a temple for my birthday.  Seochukam Hermitage (서축암) is a bit different than a traditional temple in that it’s very simplistic.  Also, it is void of any colourful adornment upon its hermitage walls.  But don’t let the colour deceive you, as the architecture and scenery are second to none in Korea. It was a small, quaint, and quiet hermitage off the beaten track.  It’s a bit of a trek for the casual temple seeker, but well worth it to the die-hard temple goers like me.

HOW TO GET THERE:  Seochukam Hermitage is located in Yangsan.  And like Tongdosa Temple, you can take an intercity bus from Busan, Eonyang, or Ulsan.  Once you’ve arrived at Tongdosa, there is a road that leads into the compound grounds.  If you follow this, you will come across quite a few hermitages.  You have to hang a right and follow the road past a couple hermitages.  Winding up and down the road, you will encounter a road that leads off to the left.  Follow this road and you will come to Seochukam Hermitage Hermitage.  In total, the walk can take you several hours, but with a car, just a couple of minutes. Admission to the hermitage is included in the entrance to Tongdosa Temple, which is 3,000 Won.

OVERALL RATING:  5/10.  Seochukam Hermitage is both beautiful in its simplicity and size.  However, because it is difficult to find and get to, it doesn’t rate as highly as its main temple: Tongdosa Temple.  But for the die-hard temple goer, any of the hermitages associated with Tongdosa Temple are well worth the adventure!

The following are a few pictures from our adventures to Seochukam Hermitage.

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The view from the parking lot towards the neighbouring mountains and the entrance gate to Seochukam Hermitage.
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 A better view.
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The main entrance gate, which you can’t actually enter.  The entrance to the hermitage grounds is actually just to the left of this main entrance gate.
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A close-up of the beautiful wood-work on the entrance gate.
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The beautiful mountains with a small taste of Korean traditional architecture.
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 One of the two dorms at the hermitage.
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The frozen water fountain.  How, might you ask, did I know it was frozen.  Well, the next picture gives that question away.
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Somehow, I think someone forgot to take out the pink bowl from the water fountain before it froze over.  Good luck getting a drink from that.
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Buddha basking in the sunshine.
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Another view of the courtyard.  This time, it’s from the main temple hall.
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A view of the two stone lanterns at the hermitage.
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A view along the main temple hall.  The wood-work adorning the hermitage are gorgeous.
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A view inside the main temple hall.  There were people praying inside, so I never like to disturb them.  Instead, I took a picture inside of the main hall without the flash.
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Another look at the pagoda and the main temple hall.  In total, there are only 5 buildings at this hermitage, compared to the 60 or so at Tongdosa Temple.
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One last look back at Seochukam Hermitage before we left.