Attraction 387, Ara-dong, Jeju, Jeju-do 690-121, South Korea Published on: 13-11-2015
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Why Gwaneumsa Temple is special ?
Gwaneumsa Temple is located at the foot of the northeast side of Mt. Halla in Ara-dong in Jeju City. The temple is widely believed to have been first built during the Tamra Dynasty Era (BC 476~AD 1005), which was prior to the Goryeo Dynasty (AD 918~1392). However, there is no concrete evidence suggesting the exact year of construction or the temple’s original builder. In the early 1700s, when leaders of the Joseon Dynasty proclaimed Confucianism as the national religion and executed a policy to destroy all the Buddhist temples in the Jeju area, Gwaneumsa Temple was demolished. It was rebuilt in 1912 by a Buddhist nun, Anbongryeokwan, and renovated in 1964.
What to explore at Gwaneumsa Temple?
The temple consists of the main shrine, Myeongbujeong Hall, a bell tower, Sanshingak Pavilion, and Bulimun Gate. There is also a Buddhist school run by the Gwaneumsa Temple located in downtown Jeju.
If you are standing in the car park looking away from the Unesco office towards the 7-11 convenience store across the street then look to your right. You will see a tower structure with round tv aerials on it. Gwaneumsa is at the bottom of that tower. To walk to the temple takes about 15 minutes. There is plenty of parking at the temple and no entrance fee. You could easily spend an hour here on a nice day taking in all the temple grounds.
The temple is the site where many Jeju people were killed in the struggling years after the second world war. It has many interesting Buddha statues along the entrance was which were donated by the public. There is a cave where a monk lived for three years as part of his englightenment earlier last century. At the back of the temple grounds is a large Mireuk 미륵 Buddha with smaller statues around. Other types of Buddha statues are also on the grounds.
How to get to Gwaneumsa Temple?
You’ll need to take a bus towards Sancheondan from Jeju City. The bus departs every twenty minutes and the ride should last about 30 minutes. When the bus drops you off at Sancheondan, you’ll need to walk an additional thirty minutes to the temple. The signs should help guide your way.
- Worth the visit!! Would love to go back again! Exotic!
- Much more impressive than expected
- Inspiring in its beauty
- Gorgeous views, worth a visit!
- Beautiful temple and easily accessible
387, Ara-dong, Jeju, Jeju-do 690-121, South Korea
Tips for you
There are many tourist spots near the temple such as a wooden seated Buddhist goddess statue that was designated a tangible cultural asset of Jeju-do in 1999. Other popular destinations include Jeju Natural Monument No. 50, a cherry blossom tree habitat, and the nearby “4.3 Historic Site” commemorating the civil revolution many years ago on April 3rdThings nearby
“Worth the visit!! Would love to go back again! Exotic!” Of all the places we visited in Jeju via our taxi tour, this is what I would rank as #1 (see http://www.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/SI/SI_EN_3_1_1_1.jsp?cid=1121529), with Sunrise Peak as #2. This is a Buddhist temple set in a vast very pretty land. Interesting Buddha statues – very exotic particularly for those who have never been to a Buddhist temple. Our taxi guide politely asked, I believe a caretaker, to see if we can actually go inside the temple. We were allowed. I’m not sure if it was early or this is not a traditional tourist place, since we only saw very few people (as compared to the other temple in Busan packed with too many people.) Felt a little bit odd being a tourist spectator in a house of worship, but glad we did. The landscaping and statutes in the area were very interesting. So there's more to see other than the temple itself. I would recommend this place for sure. Would go back again if have the chance. Hopefully with less rain this time. Free to visit.