Noted for the enshrined sari from Buddha (Buddha’s relics), Tongdosa Temple is one of the most recognized temples in South Korea. It is a UNESCO World Heritage temple and located within a distance of a day trip from Busan. Furthermore, if you want to have a more profound experience of Buddhism, Tongdosa Temple offers a temple stay program in English.
108, Tongdosa-ro, Habuk-myeon, Yangsan-si, Gyeongsangnam-do, South Korea
From Busan: Take Subway Line 1 (Orange Line), get off at Nopo Station (노포역/134), Exit 3 > Transfer to Bus: from Busan Central Bus Terminal (부산종합버스터미널) to Tongdosa Temple (about 30 minutes) > Get off at Shinpyeong Bus Terminal and transfer to Local Bus, Jisan 1 > Get off at Jisan maeul (지산마을/Jisan Village) bus stop
From Seoul: Take KTX from Seoul Station to Ulsan Station > Transfer to Bus No. 13 at Ulsan station bus stop > Get off at Shinpyeong Bus Terminal and transfer to Local Bus, Jisan 1 > Get off at Jisan maeul (지산마을/Jisan Village) Bus Stop
8:30 – 17:30
Adults: KRW 3,000 / 2,500 (group of 30 or more)
Youth: KRW 1,500 / 1,200 (group of 30 or more)
Children (age of 7 and over): KRW 1,000 / 800 (group of 30 or more)
Parking: KRW 2,000 per car
Tongdosa Temple is located in Yangsan, Gyeongsangnamdo Province. Master Jajang founded the temple in 646 during the reign of Queen Seondeok of the Shilla Dynasty. In 2018, UNESCO designated the temple as the World Heritage under the name of ‘Sansa, Buddhist Mountain Monasteries in Korea.’
Seongbo museum is the first Buddism museum in South Korea. It is located at the entrance of Tongdosa Temple. The museum houses 600 pieces of Buddhist paintings, which is one of the largest collections in the world. In addition, the museum exhibits 30,000 pieces of cultural assets of Buddhism.
- 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
- Closed: Mondays
Cheonwangmun Gate and Sacheonwang
Cheonwangmun Gate (천왕문) is home to the four kings who rule over the four directions: north, east, south, and west. The four kings and the gate protect the temple. And, they keep the spirit of the temple clean and pure by chasing away evil spirits. No doubt why they look so serious and scary.
Jajang Plum Blossom at Tongdosa Temple
Named after Master Jajang who founded Tongdosa Temple, Jajangmae (지장매 / Jajang Plum Blossom) has been the first messenger of spring for over 350 years. This plum blossom tree is very popular with photographers and visitors during early springtime and becomes a central piece of the temple.
Master Jajang brought Buddha’s relics and enshrined them at this temple. Therefore, there is no Buddha statue at Tongdosa Temple. This is one of the Three Jewel Temples in Korea along with Haeinsa Temple and Songgwangsa Temple. Tongdosa Temple is a head temple of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism. Tongdosa Daeungjeon is National Treasure No. 290
In Korean Buddhism, beomjong means a bell. The meaning behind ringing the bell is rescuing people and souls by ringing it.
Samcheungseoktap (Three-story Stone Pagoda)
This pagod is Korean Treasure No. 1471. The pagoda is 3.5-meter tall (about 11.5 feet). It is estimated to be built in around 1085. This stone pagoda is an important material to study how Korean ancestors built pagodas during Shilla Dynasty.
It is believed that visitors move from the secular world into the spiritual world of the temple by passing through this gate. However, in Buddhism, it is said that these two worlds are not different from one another. Thus, the gate gets its name Burimun, meaning ‘two are not different.’
Templestay at Tongdosa Temple
Tongdosa Temple offers a templestay program.
Templestay is a cultural program to experience the life of Buddhist practitioners while staying at temples. The program consists of making lotus lanterns, tea ceremony, meditation, barugongyang (Monastic formal meals), 108 prostrations, and more. Find more information on Tongdosa Temple Templestay page.
- Planning a trip to South Korea? Click here to find more destinations here.
- Do you want to study in South Korea? Here is a basic guide to start with.
- Want to learn about Korean culture and more? Click here to find more information about it.
- Trying to learn Korean language? I have some interesting real expressions for you.
- A big fan of Korean food? How about some Korean noodles?