In South Korea, it wouldn’t be hard for visitors to visit historical temples in any region they travel to. Busan is home to several famous temples as well. Among them, Beomeosa Temple has been an anchor of Buddhism in the Busan area for a long time. The temple is also one of the three prominent temples in the Yeongnam region (southeast region) along with Haeinsa Temple and Tongdosa Temple.
On This Post
- Information about Beomeosa Temple
- What to See at Beomeosa Temple
- When to Visit Beomeosa Temple
- History of Beomeosa Temple
- Temple Stay
- More Things To Do near Beomeosa Temple
Information about Beomeosa Temple
Location & Map
250, Beomeosa-ro, Geumjeong-gu, Busan, South Korea
How to Get to Beomeosa Temple
- Ride Busan Metro (subway) Line 1 (Orange Line) and get off at Beomeosa Station (범어사/113), Exit 5 or 7 > Walk to Beomeosa Temple Entrance bus station (범어사입구 /beom-eo-sa-ip-gu/) about 360m (1180 feet) > Ride Bus, No. 90 to Beomesa Ticket Office stop (범어사매표소 /beom-eo-sa-mae-pyo-so/)
- Parking lot available
Admission (Entrance Fee)
Free (If you drive, you need to pay a parking fee. Small car, ₩3,000 / Large car, ₩5,000)
What to See at Beomeosa Temple
Nestled on a slope of Geumjeongsan, which is Busan’s highest mountain, Beomeosa Temple is one of the most notable temples, if not the most, in Busan. Among international visitors, Samgwangsa Temple or Haedong Yonggungsa Temple may be more famous (by the way, they are definitely worth visiting as well), Beomeosa has played an important role throughout a long history. It would make your trip more interesting if you get familiar with the details of the temple.
Jogyemun Gate (Iljumun)
When you visit Beomeosa Temple, the first structure you will encounter is Jogyemun (조계문). In Korean temples, this first gate is usually named ‘Iljumun’. The name ‘Iljumun’ means a ‘one pillar gate’ because if one sees the gate from the side, it appears to be supported by a single pillar since the four pillars (or sometimes two pillars) stands in a line horizontally. The structure symbolizes the sole path to enlightenment. Jogyemun Gate is believed to be built in 1614 and it is Korea Treasure No. 1461.
Cheonwangmun Gate (천왕문) is the second gate at Beomeosa Temple. It is a gate of the Four Heavenly Kings, who rule each of four directions and drive away the evil spirits.
This gate was originally built in 1699, but unfortunately, it was destroyed in December 2010 because of arson. The current one was rebuilt in 2012.
Daeungjeon and Beomeosa Three Story Stone Pagoda
When you visit any Korean temple, it is good to know that Daeungjeon (대웅전) is the main building in a temple. Daeungjeon at Beomeosa Temple is Korean Treasure No. 434. Take a look around the beautiful building to see the details. The staircase in front of the building has a unique combination of characteristics both from Silla Dynasty and Joseon Dynasty. The current Daeungjeon was built in 1614 after it was completely burned down during the Japanese Invasion (Imjinwaeran) in 1592.
I am afraid that I couldn’t take a picture of the inside of the hall because the worship was on. When you visit the temple, pay attention to the Buddha Triad Wooden Statues (three statues of Buddha). They are Korean Treasure No. 1526, and these wooden Buddha sculptures were created in 1661.
Beomeosa Three Story Stone Pagoda
Before you walk up to Daeungjeon, you will meet Beomeosa Three Story Stone Pagoda. This 4-meter (13-foot) tall stone pagoda is designated as Korea Treasure No. 250. It was built while King Deukheung of the Silla Dynasty reigned between 826 and 836 A.D. Fortunately, the pagoda survived the Japanese Invasion in 1592 and it is one of the few remaining from the original temple.
Beomeosa Seven Story Stone Pagoda
In 2012, a sari from Buddha (Buddha’s relics) enshrined in this seven-story stone pagoda came out to the world. A monk from India brought it to Beomeosa. Seongbo museum sets right behind the pagoda.
Another notable treasure of Beomeosa Temple is Samguk Yusa Vol. 4 and 5 (삼국유사, Memorabilia of the Three Kingdoms) written by Il Yeon. It was designated National Treasure No. 306-4 in 2020.
When to Visit Beomeosa Temple
The temple is beautiful and peaceful all year round. There are a few seasonal points you may want to consider. Near the entrance of Beomeosa Temple is a wisteria habitat. In May, over 6,500 plants are in full bloom and no doubt why this area is a designated as Natural Monument. Also, the temple becomes the most colorful on Buddha’s Birthday, which usually falls in late April or May, with thousands of lotus lanterns. Be aware that it is the most crowded day of the year, too. During fall, the colorful foliage of Mountain Geumjeongsan becomes a breathtaking backdrop for the temple.
History of Beomeosa Temple
The famed monk Uisang found Beomeosa Temple in the 18th year of King Munmu of the Silla Dynasty, 678 A.D. The legend has it that a golden fish descended down from the sky and played in a well on top of Mountain Geumjeongsan. Based on this myth, Mountian Geumjeongsan got its name meaning a golden well (금정) and the name of the temple means a fish from Nirvana, the ultimate state of Buddhism.
When it was first established it was such an enormous temple with large land and massive buildings. But, unfortunately, it was almost all destroyed during the Japanese Invasion in 1592, and many parts of the current temple were rebuilt in 1613 during Joseon Dynasty.
Beomeosa Temple is famous for being a base for fighting against the Japanese invasion during Imjinwaeran in the 16th century and the Japanese Occupation during the early 1900s. Throughout its history, many eminent monks lived and studied here. The list includes Uisang, Wonhyo, Pyohun, Nakan, Yeongwon, Maehak, Manhae, and more.
Temple Stay at Beomeosa Temple
What is Temple Stay?
Temple Stay is a cultural program at some of the South Korean Buddhist temples. Participants will experience the life of Buddhist practitioners and better understand Korean Buddhism. The temple stay program originally started at the time of the 2002 World Cup game.
The programs vary in each hosting temple, but they normally include Chamseon (Seon meditation), Chadam (conversation with monastics over tea), Baru Gongyang (formal Buddhist meals), and Baekpalbae (108 bows).
Temple Stay at Beomeosa
Beomeosa Temple is one of the participating temples for Temple Stay. The prices vary by the program, which normally lasts for two days. You can find more information and make a reservation on its Temple Stay website.
More Things To Do near Beomeosa Temple
Beomeosa Temple has 11 hermitages around. You can enjoy a bird’s eye view of the complete site of Beomeosa Temple from some of them such as Wonhyoam Hermitage or Gyemyeongam Hermitage.
If you are an avid hiker, this historical spot is a popular starting point for hiking the trails in Mountain Geumjeongsan. You can climb up to the top of the mountain, Godangbong Peak (801.5 meters / 2629 feet), from the temple. If it sounds a bit too hard for you, you can go see the Northern Gate of Geumjeongsanseong Fortress. The area is also famous for pajeon (green onion pancake) restaurants and duck BBQ restaurants.
If your schedule allows, Hoedong Reservoir nearby would be a great place to stroll as well.
Other temples in the Busan area
Busan is home to many prominent temples. Besides Beomeosa Temple, Seonamsa Temple, Jangansa Temple, Haedong Yonggungsa Temple, the list goes on. CNN picks the annual lotus lantern festival at Samgwangsa Temple on Buddha’s Birthday as one of 50 beautiful places to visit in South Korea.
If you don’t mind traveling a bit further, Tongdosa Temple in Yangsan and Pyochungsa Temple in Miryang are also nationally recognized temples.
Related Post: Haedong Yonggungsa Temple
Related Post: Tongdosa Temple in Yangsan
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