Established in 1910, Jogyesa Temple serves as the center of Zen Buddhism in South Korea. The temple complex is home to Daeungjeon, Seoul’s largest Buddhist shrine, as well as a garden area with a white pine tree that is more than 500 years old.
Its location in the heart of Seoul makes Jogyesa Temple among the most visited in South Korea. Just about every sightseeing tour of the South Korean capital stops at the temple, along with other notable attractions like the Blue House, Insadong neighborhood, Bukchon Hanok Village, Myeongdong commercial district, and the Joseon Dynasty palaces of Gyeongbokgung and Changdeokgung.
Those who want to learn more about Korean Buddhism can participate in daytime Temple Life or overnight Temple Stay programs, which include activities like Zen meditation, a tea ceremony, and lessons in how to make lotus flowers or salt mandalas.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Jogyesa Temple is a must-visit for spiritual travelers or those interested in the history and heritage of Korean Buddhism.
- Remember to dress respectfully, as this is an active place of worship.
- The temple and its main shrine (Daeungjeon) are wheelchair accessible.
- Public restrooms are available on the temple grounds.
How to Get There
The temple’s central location makes it easy to reach via public transportation. The most convenient way to get there is to take the Seoul metro to Jonggak Station (Line 1), Anguk Station (Line 3), or Gwanghwamun Station (Line 5).
When to Get There
The temple grounds are open daily year-round, though Temple Stay programs are only available on select dates and must be booked in advance. One of the best times to visit the temple is during the annual festival celebrating Buddha’s birthday, when the grounds are decorated with hundreds of paper lanterns.
The Trees of Jogyesa Temple
While the temple buildings only date back to 1936, two landmarks on the Jogyesa Temple grounds are much older. Baeksong is a lacebark pine tree that is more than 500 years old. A Chinese scholar tree growing near the main hall is believed to be more than 450 years old; these trees are often found near temples and palaces, as they’re believed to transform energy from negative to positive.