Bongeunsa Temple is a 1,200 year-old Buddhist temple that houses interesting Buddhist artifacts and activities for those looking to learn about traditional Korean Buddhist practices.
The atmosphere here is very quiet and tranquil despite the fact that it’s set amongst sleek skyscrapers, shopping malls, and modern architecture. Surrounded by lush greenery, the temple hosts several halls with colourful murals and altars but the best ones are the Daeung-jeon Main Hall and Jijang-jeon Hall. The former is fronted by hundreds of white paper lanterns and a three-tier pagoda while the walls of the latter are adorned with murals of the Ten Kings of the Underworld, as well as Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife).
Prominent artefacts found in Bongeunsa Temple include 300 woodblock carvings of Buddhist sutras, calligraphy by Kim Jeong-hui, a scholar and famous calligrapher of the Joseon Dynasty, as well as Korea’s tallest statue of Maitreya Buddha, which stands at 32 metres.
With a fee of 20,000 won, foreign visitors are also given the opportunity to experience the life of a Buddhist monk and learn about Korean Buddhist practices. Every Thursday between 14:00 and 16:30, activities available here include temple tours conducted in English, Japanese and Chinese, daily dawn services, lotus lantern making, tea drinking ceremony, meditation, and a chance to interact with the local monks.
Between late January and early February, Bongeunsa Temple officiates the annual Seoul Lotus Lantern Festival (which celebrates the birth of Buddha) with an exhibition of traditional lanterns.
Located in Seoul’s Gangnam district, Bongeunsa Temple is set just opposite COEX Mall and Convention Centre. If you’re travelling on the Seoul subway, take Exit 1 at the Bongeunsa Temple Station (Seoul Subway Line 9) and the temple is just a two-minute walk away.
- Opening Hours: Daily 03:00 - 22:00
- Address: 531, Bongeunsa-ro, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
- Tel: +822 3218 4895