See The Beauty of Seongnamsa Temple in Ulsan, Korea
Seongnamsa Temple (석남사-울산) sits on the southern side of the Gaji mountain range in Ulsan and is one of the four major Buddhist temples of the Gajisan Provincial Park.
(This page contains affiliate links. That means if you click on them and purchase something, I will get a percentage of the transaction to keep up this blog and maybe if there’s a little extra to buy a bottle of red wine to go with dinner. Thanks for the support!)
The Buddhist temple was originally built in 824AD by monk Master Doui. Of course, as many temples were, this temple was destroyed during the Japanese Invasions between 1592 and 1598 and was subsequently rebuilt in 1674 by Zen Masters Takyoung and Sunchol. Currently, there are 30 buildings on the premises, some of which are not open to the public as this is a major temple for Buddhist nuns to reside and practice asceticism.
After purchasing a ticket and walking beneath a beautiful archway that welcomes all, a path with a canopy of trees above follows along a stream to the temple. About a 10 minute walk brings visitors to the temple with bridges on either side bringing visitors across the stream to the colorful temple walls. The doors that welcome visitors into the temple are interesting in that they don’t have the common paintings of guardians but instead have large Sanskrit circles helping to rid visitors of bad karma according to my go-to Korean temples expert, Dale Quarrington.
One of the highlights of the temple is the Three Story Pagoda, or Seokgomoni Pagoda, in the center courtyard which was built in 824AD. Monk Doui resurrected this pagoda with the hope that it would help protect his country from foreign invasions. While it may not have worked, it still is a beautiful sight and begs everyone to take a breath, take a seat and experience the calm of the grounds they’re about to explore.
Behind the temple is the main hall, Daengjeon or the “Great Hero Hall”. The area to the right of the main hall is off limits to visitors as the nuns reside there, but the buildings to the left are open for peering eyes to see. A stupa behind the main hall contains the remains of the founding monk, Doui, and sits above the rest of the grounds providing a good vantage point for the temple grounds and the mountainous area surrounding the colorful temple.
The intricate paintings and peeling outer surfaces of the temple buildings really made it appealing to the eye. This is a beautiful temple to visit while in the area either camping or hiking on the mountain range.
Seongnamsa Temple (석남사-울산)
557, Seongnam-ro, Sangbuk-myeon, Ulju-gun, Ulsan
울산광역시 울주군 상북면 석남로 557
Hours: 8:00am ~ 5:00pm
Admission: Adults: W1,700; Teenagers: W1,300; Elementary Students to Teenagers: W1,000; Younger: Free
Amenities: parking, bathrooms, small shop, easily accessible for families with small children