Bogyeongsa Temple – 보경사 (Dong-gu, Busan)

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The view of Mt. Gubongsan from behind the main hall at Bogyeongsa Temple in Busan.

Hello Again Everyone!!

So I continued to explore the Seodaeshin-dong part of Busan, which also includes the Busan Station area. This time, I looked around a part of the city that I last explored in 2005. This time, I re-visited Bogyeongsa Temple on Mt. Gubongsan.

Bogyeongsa Temple is situated on the highest part of Mt. Gubongsan on the south side. You get to the temple through a trail that leads past Hwaeomsa Temple. The hike is a very easy 200 metres up a forested trail. Along the way, you get some beautifully shrouded pictures of the Busan port and harbour.

Finally arriving at the temple, and past the orange bamboo railings that line the path, you’ll be greeted by a beautiful green lawn. Bogyeongsa Temple is a small temple. There are only two buildings on the temple grounds: the monks’ dorms and the main hall.

Standing in front of the modern-looking main hall is a five-tier stone pagoda. It is beautifully adorned around the base with the Eight Dharma Protectors. The plainly painted exterior walls of the main hall are made up for by the paintings inside the hall. Sitting on the main altar sits Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha). He’s joined on either side by Munsu-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Wisdom) and Bohyun-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Power). To the immediate left of the altar statues are three paintings. The first is an original Nahan (The Historical Disciples of the Buddha) painting. It is joined to the left by a Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisatttva of the Afterlife) painting, as well as a painting of the Dragon Ship of Wisdom. To the right of the central main altar is a very ornate painting of Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion) and a painting of Chilseong (The Seven Stars) next to it. The final painting inside the main hall is the guardian mural (Shinjung Taenghwa).

It’s next to the guardian mural, and if you look close enough, that you’ll notice a tiny crack of a door next to this mural. It’s through this door that you’ll enter the Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall. You can also enter this hall, when looking directly at the hall from the exterior, from the far right door. Inside this hall hang three beautiful murals of shaman deities. In the centre hangs an attractive Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit) mural, as well as a statue. To the left is a statue and mural of Dokseong (The Recluse). And to the right is plain painting of Yongwang (The Dragon King), as well as an eye-popping statue of Yongwang.

HOW TO GET THERE: To get to Bogyeongsa Temple, you’ll first need to make your way to Choryang Subway Station, on the first line, stop #114. From this subway station, exit out exit #8. You’ll need to take a taxi, which should take about 8 minutes (or 1.5 k.m.). And the taxi ride should cost you under 3,000 won. Ask to go to Wolbongsa Temple. From this temple, you’ll notice a mountain trail to the right of Wolbongsa Temple. Take this trail for 200 metres until you get to Bogyeongsa Temple. You can do that, or walk, which should take about 25 minutes straight up towards Mt. Gubongsan. Head towards Busan Middle School to help you towards the temple. But by walking, it might be a lot more difficult to find Bogyeongsa Temple.


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OVERALL RATING: 3.5/10. While nothing special in its own rights, Bogyeongsa Temple in combination with the ten other temples in the area make for a nice afternoon excursion. In fact, this is how I first found it. The two main highlights to the temple are the paintings inside the main hall and the statue of Yongwang inside the Samseong-gak.

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 The trail that leads up to Bogyeongsa Temple.

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 The former gate that once led into Hwaeomsa Temple.

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 The neighbouring Hwaeomsa Temple (it’s not clear if it’s still open or not).

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The view of Busan Station down below from the trail that leads up to Bogyeongsa Temple.

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 The orange lined bamboo path that first welcomes you to the temple.

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The modern-looking main hall with the five-tier pagoda out in front of it.

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 The main altar inside the Daeung-jeon.

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 A look to the left at the three beautiful paintings inside the main hall.

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 And a look to the right at the three others inside the main hall.

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 The tiny sliver of a door next to the guardian mural.

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 The altar inside the Samseong-gak.

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 One last look before I was onto my next temple adventure.

Geumsusa Temple – 금수사 (Dong-gu, Busan)

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 The beautiful view from the main hall at Geumsusa Temple in Busan.

Hello Again Everyone!!

Another temple I explored in the Seodaeshin-dong part of Busan was Geumsusa Temple. A bit further to the west and a bit larger in size, Geumsusa Temple was also a bit harder to find. Nestled between a large apartment complex and a forest, the long set of stairs that lead up to Geumsusa Temple can be a bit hard to find. It actually took me three passes until I finally found it.

Climbing the stairs, the first thing to greet you to the temple, and just outside the temple courtyard, is a stoic statue of Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife). Just above the statue of Jijang-bosal, and up a set of stairs and to the right, are the stupa and stele of former monks at Geumsusa Temple. Next to this area, and a little to the left, is the Cheonwangmun Gate. Housed inside of this gate are some of the cuter Heavenly Kings that you’ll see in Korea. However, this is off-set by some grotesquely demonic demons that are being trampled under foot by the Cheonwang.

Having passed through the Cheongwangmun Gate, and entering into the temple courtyard, you’ll be greeted by a pavilion and courtyard that are heavily under construction. The entire grounds are extensively being landscaped with the end goal being water ponds and gardens all around the Geumsusa Temple courtyard.

The first temple hall to greet you at Geumsusa Temple is the Cheonbul-jeon hall. Sitting on the main altar of this hall are three golden statues centred by Seokgamoni-bul. The three are then joined by the one thousand golden statues of Buddha. This hall is still unpainted and enjoys its natural wood colour. Off in the distance, and to the west, you can see Jungang Park and Chunghon Tower that stands 70 metres above the tree line. The tower is dedicated to the loyal police and military of Busan that fought for Korea’s independence.

Under the shadow of the tower stands the very strange looking three-tier, perhaps, wooden pagoda at Geumsusa Temple. Inside this pagoda rests the temples bell (perhaps the most unique combo in Korea: a pagoda/bell pavilion combo).

To the right stands a more typical three-tier stone pagoda with an intricate finial adorning the top of the pagoda. Behind this pagoda lies the main hall at Geumsusa Temple. The main hall has some of the more unique latticework adorning its doors, especially the brown trees being backed by an all white backing. The exterior walls to the main hall are a mish-mash of assorted paintings starting with an Ox-Herding mural and combining guardian and Buddha murals.

As for the interior of the main hall, and sitting on the main altar, are seven statues (three larger statues and four smaller sized statues). Sitting in the centre of the three large statues sits Amita-bul (The Buddha of the Western Paradise). He’s joined on either side by Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion) and Daesaeji-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Wisdom and Power for Amita-bul). To the far left of the smaller sized statues sits Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha). He’s joined by both Birojana-bul (The Buddha of Cosmic Energy) and an all-white Gwanseeum-bosal. On the left wall is a memorial for the dead with Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife) in its midst. And to the right hangs the older looking Shinjung Taenghwa (guardian mural).

To the left of the main hall stands the monks’ dorms, the visitors’ centre, and the temple’s kitchen; while to the right stands the Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall. The left exterior wall is adorned with a colourful, but fading, Sanshin mural. When you step inside the Samseong-gak, you’ll be greeted by an array of paintings and statues. On the main altar, and hanging in the centre, is a simplistic Chilseong (The Seven Stars) mural. To the left rests both a painting and statue of Dokseong (The Recluse); while to the right rests both a statue and painting of Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit). The tiger inside this painting is really something to see. Placed on the right wall, and on an altar of its own, are two Yongwang (The Dragon King) statues; while to the left are three white statues (two Nahan and one Jijang-bosal statues).

HOW TO GET THERE: To get to Geumsusa Temple, you’ll first need to make your way to Choryang Subway Station, on the first line, stop #114. From this subway station, exit out exit #3. You’ll need to take a taxi, which should take about 7 minutes (or 1.3 k.m.). And the taxi ride should cost you under 3,000 won. You can do that, or walk, which should take about 25 minutes. You should exit out exit #3 and head west towards the Busan Bank. Continue on this zig-zagging road until you get to the temple.



OVERALL RATING: 6.5/10. This temple is undergoing extensive renovations and landscaping, so be warned. But the after product looks like it’ll be something special if they can execute on the plan. Like the other temples in the area, the view is the main highlight to Geumsusa Temple both of Jungang Park and Chunghon Tower, as well as the Busan harbour. Additionally, the Sanshin painting, the statues inside the main hall, and the pagoda/bell pavilion combo are other things to look for when visiting Geumsusa Temple. Again, in combination with other temples in the area, it can make for quite a nice day trip to the Busan Station area of town.

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 The stairs that lead up to Geumsusa Temple.

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 The statue of Jijang-bosal, who is joined by the Cheonwangmun Gate, as well as the stupas and steles at the entrance of the temple.

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 A better look at Jijang-bosal.

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 And a better look at the stupa and stele at the temple.

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 Just one of the great views at Geumsusa Temple.

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Jungang Park and Chunghon Tower off in the distance.

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 Just one of the cute Heavenly Kings inside the Cheonwangmun Gate.

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 The all natural Hall of 1,000 Buddhas

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 A look inside the Hall of 1,000 Buddhas.

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 The view from the temple courtyard.

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 The rather strange three-tier wooden pagoda/bell pavilion.

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A better look at the temple bell.

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The main hall at Geumsusa Temple.

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The unique latticework at the temple.

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 A guardian painting that adorns the main hall.

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A look at the extensively adorned main altar inside the main hall.

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The older looking Shinjung Taenghwa inside the main hall.

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The amazing view from the main hall out onto the Busan harbour.

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The Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall.

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The Sanshin mural at Geumsusa Temple.

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The double Yongwang statues.

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A great view from the Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall.

Wolbongsa Temple – 월봉사 (Dong-gu, Busan)

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 The amazing view of the Busan harbour from Wolbongsa Temple.

Hello Again Everyone!!

Wolbongsa Temple is another temple in the Seodaeshin-dong area of Busan. It’s another one of the temples I explored way back in 2005, and was finally getting back to exploring anew. Wolbongsa Temple is situated at the base of Mt. Gubongsan, just on the edge of the hiking trails that zig-zag through the mountain peaks and passes.

You first arrive at the temple through some of the oldest and most dilapidated houses in Busan. When you finally do arrive at the temple, you’ll notice that Wolbongsa Temple is beautifully perched on a compact temple courtyard that overlooks Busan harbour. In fact, if you look close enough, you’ll notice the Namhangdae Bridge, which you can beautifully frame in a lot of your pictures.

Stepping into the temple courtyard, the first thing to greet you is three-tier stone pagoda that’s surrounded by a set of stone lanterns. This stone pagoda stands in front of the main hall whose exterior walls are adorned with simplistic Palsang-do murals.

Stepping into the main hall, you’ll see a row of seven golden statues on the main altar. In the middle sits a triad of statues centred by Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha). He’s joined on either side by Munsu-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Wisdom) and Bohyun-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Power). To the left, and still on the main altar, is a solitary statue of Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife). And to the right, and still on the main altar, is yet another set of golden statues. This time, the triad is centred by Amita-bul (The Buddha of the Western Paradise). He’s joined on either side by Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion) and Daesaeji-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Wisdom and Power for Amita-bul). The interior walls to this hall are decorated with paintings of the Nahan (The Historical Disciples of the Buddha). And hanging on the left wall is the Shinjung Taenghwa (guardian mural).

To the left of the main hall is the temple’s bell pavilion. Between both the bell pavilion and the main hall is a statue of Gwanseeum-bosal that stands in the center of a smaller sized lily pond.

And to the right of the main hall, and through a narrow staircase beside the monks’ dorms, is a platform where a statue of Yaksayore-bul (The Buddha of Medicine) sits, serenely overlooking the Busan harbour.

The final building that you can explore at Wolbongsa Temple, and crowning the temple heights, is the Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall. The statues inside the rocky hall seem to have been haphazardly put together. The standard Sanshin (Mountain Spirit) statue stands in the centre with a Dokseong (The Recluse) statue to the right. What is strange is that a Chinese-style Mireuk-bul (The Future Buddha) sits to the left, which is a first for this temple adventurer.

HOW TO GET THERE: To get to Wolbongsa Temple, you’ll first need to make your way to Choryang Subway Station, on the first line, stop #114. From this subway station, exit out exit #8. You’ll need to take a taxi, which should take about 8 minutes (or 1.5 k.m.). And the taxi ride should cost you under 3,000 won. You can do that, or walk, which should take about 20 minutes straight up towards Mt. Gubongsan. Head towards Busan Middle School to help you towards the temple. But in walking, it might be a lot more difficult to find Wolbongsa Temple.



OVERALL RATING: 6/10. Without a doubt, the main highlight to this temple are the views, and the potential pictures you can take of Busan harbour. Other highlights are the statues inside the main altar and the serene statues of Gwanseeum-bosal and Yaksayore-bul that either sit or stand inside the temple courtyard. And in combination with the ten other temples in the area, this makes for a beautiful day trip to the Busan Station area of Busan.

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 The houses you’ll have to pass to get to Wolbongsa Temple. But just look at the view!

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 All the buildings at Wolbongsa Temple.

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 The beautiful view with Namhangdae Bridge in the distance.

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 The view to the right. If you look close enough, you can see Busan Tower.

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 The statue of Gwanseeum-bosal.

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 The view from the main hall out onto the harbour.

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 The Palsang-do murals that surround the main hall.

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 The main altar inside the main hall at Wolbongsa Temple.

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 The descriptive Shinjung Taenghwa mural inside the main hall.

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 Just one of the Nahan paintings lining the walls inside the main hall.

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 The view to the right of the main hall with the three-tier pagoda and Busan out in front of it.

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 Yaksayore-bul overlooking both Wolbongsa Temple and Busan harbour.

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 A look up from the main hall to the Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall.

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 A look inside the Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall and the statues that inhabit it.

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 A better look at Sanshin.

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 One final look before I was off again on another temple adventure.

Naewonjeongsa Temple – 내원정사 (Seo-gu, Busan)

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 The stunning golden pagoda that sits front and centre on the main altar inside the Daeung-jeon at Naewonjeongsa Temple in Busan.

Hello Again Everyone!!

Lately, I’ve been exploring Busan more and more. With it being so close to where I live, and with literally thousands of temples to explore, it was a no-brainer. This past weekend, my exploration of Busan brought me to Naewonjeongsa Temple in Seodaeshin-dong, which is in close proximity to Busan Station.

Situated on Mt. Eomgwangsan, you’ll first approach Naewonjeongsa Temple up a mountain road. This is a bit strange, since the temple lies just above the busy Busan Station area. Finally arriving in the mid-sized parking lot, and having passed by the numerous mountain hikers along the way, you’ll first see the front façade to Naewonjeongsa Temple.

In the centre of the front façade are the Cheonwangmun Gate and the bell pavilion above it. Passing under the bell pavilion and through the Cheonwangmun Gate, you’ll finally enter the temple courtyard; however, before doing that, take the time to enjoy the paintings in and around the Cheonwangmun Gate. There are unique guardian paintings on the front doors, intricately painted Heavenly Kings, and the ceiling to the gate is beautifully adorned with both yellow and blue dragons and phoenixes.

Standing in the temple courtyard, and if you look back from where you first came, you’ll notice a bell pavilion that you can actually have a seat and take a rest in (or at least that’s what I saw a couple Koreans doing). While the bell is rather plain, the base to the large drum is demonic, while the cloud gong has a pair of Biseon dancing around it. But the real highlight is the large sized fish gong with an equally large sized red pearl in its mouth. To the right and left of the bell pavilion, and outlining the temple courtyard, are two rows of temple buildings. These buildings act as the monks’ quarters, visitors centre, and administrative office. There is even a nice row of Chinese plum trees to accompanying the building to the right.

Straight ahead is the true highlight to Naewonjeongsa Temple, which just so happens to be the main hall at the temple. Surrounding the exterior walls to the main hall are an assortment of paintings. To the rear are a colourful set of Shimu-do murals that are joined by beautiful Buddha and Bodhisattva paintings. But the real rare thing about these paintings are the Dokseong (The Recluse) and Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit) murals that are painted on either side of the main hall. I’ve never seen this before. Also, the main hall is surrounded by a mature bamboo forest.

The interior to the main hall is absolutely golden. This is emphasized by the large golden pagoda that sits on the main altar. This five tier pagoda is joined by two large sized statues of Moonsu-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Wisdom) and Bohyun-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Power). To the right are three golden reliefs. The closest one to the pagoda is Moonsu-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Wisdom). Next to this it is a relief of Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Wisdom). And on the far right wall is a golden relief of the Yeongsan Assembly. To the left of the main altar are another three golden reliefs. The first to the left of the main altar is Bohyun-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Power). Next to it is the guardian relief. And finally, there is another golden relief hanging on the far left wall of Yaksayore-bul (The Buddha of Medicine). In addition to all these reliefs, there are also two towers filled with miniature statues of Buddhas beside the main altar. As you can tell, this main hall is filled with amazing artistry.

To the right of the main hall is the Samseong-gak. All the artwork to this hall is housed inside it. The three most popular shaman deities, Chilseong (The Seven Stars), Dokseong, and Sanshin are housed inside this hall. They are all black in hue and well executed in design.

HOW TO GET THERE: To get to Naewonjeongsa Temple, you’ll first have to take the subway, line one, to the Seodaesin Subway Station, stop #107. From there, you can take a taxi up to Naewonjeongsa Temple. It’ll cost you 3,600 won, and the ride will take about 10 minutes (2.6 kilometres).


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OVERALL RATING: 6.5/10. Just for the main hall alone, this temple deserves this rating with the large sized golden pagoda, six golden reliefs, and the very rare paintings of both Sanshin and Dokseong painted on the exterior walls. Additionally, all of the instruments inside the bell pavilion are unique in their own right. And top that off with the masterfully painted shaman murals, and you have more than enough reason to explore the little traveled Naewonjeongsa Temple near Busan Station.

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The front facade at the temple with the sun peaking through the trees in the early morning hours.

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 The Cheonwangmun Gate and bell pavilion at Naewonjeongsa Temple.

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One of the main entrance doors at the temple with a unique guardian painting on it.

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Just one of the elaborately painted Heavenly Kings inside the Cheonwangmun Gate.

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The intricate ceiling of the Cheonwangmun Gate.

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The first site that greets you to the temple courtyard.

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The main hall, or the Daeung-jeon, at Naewonjeongsa Temple.

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The beautiful and intricate main hall.

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It’s pretty easy to spot the large golden pagoda that’s front and centre inside the main hall.

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A better look at the golden interior.

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Just one of the golden reliefs inside the main hall. Literally, the interior walls are lined with gold.

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A contemplative visitor to the temple enjoys the scenic beauty of Naewonjeongsa Temple.

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The very rare exterior walled painting of Dokseong (The Recluse) that adorns the main hall at the temple.

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The main hall is also surrounded by mountains and this bamboo forest.

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The Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall at Naewonjeongsa Temple.

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A unique view between the main hall and the Samseong-gak.

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The Dokseong painting inside the Samseong-gak.

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And a look at the Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit) mural, as well.

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The beautiful view from the Samseong-gak.

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And a look from the main hall out onto the temple courtyard and the bell pavilion.

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The massive fish gong inside the bell pavilion at Naewonjeongsa Temple.