Exploring the Beauty of Yongjusa Temple

Yongjusa – in Korean, it means “temple of the dragon with a magic ball”.

With a history as rich as its name and stretching back to the 10th century AD, Yongjusa is a major temple in the Jogye order of Korean Buddhism.

I had the chance to visit Yongjusa (located in the city of Hwaseong) on a recent trip with Invest Korea / KOTRA (Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency). During our trip, we visited a couple foreign-invested companies in Korea’s Gyeonggi region, before grabbing lunch in the countryside.

Needless to say, the fresh air, nature, and calm atmosphere was a welcome change from the usual hustle-and-bustle of Seoul.

The restaurant sign reads "sangroksu"

The restaurant sign reads “sangroksu”

Taking the dirt path to 상록수

Taking the dirt path to 상록수

A rice field on the way to the restaurant

A rice field on the way to the restaurant

Chickens outside the restaurant/house!

Chickens outside the restaurant/house!

Typical Korean-style table setting: tons of small side-dishes surround the main dish, which hadn't arrived at this point.

Typical Korean-style table setting: tons of small side-dishes surround the main dish, which hadn’t arrived at this point.

Marinated crab side dish

Marinated crab side dish

My favourite! Tteok (sweet, chewy rice cake)

My favourite! Tteok (sweet, chewy rice cake)

Yummy tteok (pronounced "dock")

Yummy tteok (pronounced “dock”)

A poster in the restaurant

A poster in the restaurant

Looks like 상록수 (Sanroksu) had been featured on TV a few times

Looks like 상록수 (Sanroksu) had been featured on TV a few times

After wrapping up lunch, we were back on the bus and on our way to Yongjusa.

Yongjusa was built after a previous temple standing in its place burnt down in the late 800s. Its name, “temple of the dragon with a magic ball”, was chosen after the King who built it had a dream before the construction began. In it, a dragon descended from the heavens holding a magic ball in its mouth.

The King Jeongju of Korea’s Joseon dynasty built the temple as a memorial and tomb to his late father.

Now, it’s a major cultural and historic site located in the city of Hwaseong, just south of Seoul…

Entering the temple grounds..

Entering the temple grounds..

Statues near the entrance

Statues near the entrance

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Our tour guide

Our tour guide

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A lion statue

A lion statue

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Upcoming celebration?

Upcoming celebration?

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Another tour group - maybe Templestay participants?

Another tour group – maybe Templestay participants?

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A pond on the temple grounds

A pond on the temple grounds

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So many Buddhas!

So many Buddhas!

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Interesting tidbit - the artwork here was inspired by the painter's visits to Europe, where he saw Orthodox Christian paintings of saints. Can  you see the similarities? (mainly the halos)

Interesting tidbit – the artwork here was inspired by the painter’s visits to Europe, where he saw Orthodox Christian paintings of saints. Can you see the similarities? (mainly the halos)

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A map to Yongjusa

A map to Yongjusa

You can get to Yongjusa through taking subway line #1 to Byeongjeom Station; about an hour and ten minute’s ride from Seoul.

Also, those interested in doing a Templestay at Yongjusa can find out more on their website here.

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