Built during the Goryeo Dynasty in 1376, historic Haedong Yonggungsa Temple is one of only a few Korean temples on the coast, and it honors Haesu Gwaneum Daebul, a Buddhist goddess believed to live in the ocean, where she rides atop a dragon. Legends aside, the east-facing temple offers a spectacular view of the rising sun.The Basics
There is no fee to enter Haedong Yonggungsa Temple, which is included as a stop on many sightseeing bus tours of Busan. Many Buddhist devotees come to visit a large statue of the Yacksayeorae Healing Buddha to pray for good health or a cure for illness.
The temple as it exists today was restored in 1970, sticking to the colors and details used in the original structure. At its heart stands a three-level pagoda with four lion statues, which symbolize joy, sadness, happiness, and anger. A cave to the right of the main sanctuary served as a sanctum, and the 108 stone steps leading down to the temple represent a holy number in Buddhism. Things to Know Before You Go
- Haedong Yonggungsa Temple is a must-visit for spiritual travelers or those with an interest in Korean Buddhism.
- Wear comfortable shoes and be prepared to climb down a series of 108 steps to access the temple.
- The temple is an active place of worship, so remember to dress respectfully.
How to Get There
To reach Haedong Yonggungsa Temple, take Busan subway line 2 to Haeundae Station, then bus 181 to the Yonggungsa Temple stop.When to Get There
Haedong Yonggungsa Temple is open daily throughout the year but is particularly popular on the morning of the Lunar New Year, when Buddhist devotees come to make a wish for a prosperous new year. Visit during April to see the surrounding cherry blossoms in bloom.The Legend of the Temple
Haedong Yonggungsa Temple was founded by Naong Hyegeun, a man who helped lay the foundation for Buddhism during the Joseon Dynasty in the 14th century. According to local legend, a sea god appeared to Naong in a dream and told him to build a temple on Bongrae Mountain to help relieve drought and bring prosperity to the local people.