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Busan - Beomeosa Temple

Beomeosa temple, Busan

Beomeosa Temple「범어사」is a Buddhist temple located on Mt. Geumjeongsan in Busan. Established in 678, it is considered one of the three major temples in southeast Korea. However, the superb scenery of a temple built atop the mountain and the hidden gems called "hermitages" set it apart from anything else we've seen in Korea.

How to get there? First take the Busan subway (1) to Beomeosa station, take exit 1 and walk to the stop of bus 90 which will take you to the nearby entrance of Beomeosa Temple.

The first thing you see from is the main temple entrance, called Iljumun Gate, which is very impressive but also quite similar to anything else you have seen in Seoul. The really cool stuff is hidden in the forest, but not impossible to find. When you see this main gate, just IGNORE IT and continue to walk right towards the hermitage, leaving Beomeosa Temple to your left. There will be signs that read「청련암」which means Chungryunam or Blue Lotus Hermitage, just follow them to hit the jackpot.

This unique enclave is impressive yet quiet. I doubt many foreigners manage to make it there, to be honest. But the walk is well worth it, I had never seen so many bronze statues together, laid out in such a harmonious way, guarding the golden Buddha on the top. On the sides, we can see some halls dedicated to the practice of Seonmudo, a traditional martial art.

Quite a fun anecdote happened to us there. As we were walking downstairs on the way out, a lady came running to invite us to eat bibimbap. On one side, we were somewhat hungry and exhausted (it as 4PM and we had not eaten anything for lunch) but on the other it was too late for lunch. So we politely thank her and left. Then, she came back running trying to hold us - when she arrived we realised she was bringing a bag with some food "korean rice cake" she said and gave two of these blocks to us. It didn't taste much - beyond plain rice of course - but proved quite filling, as we shared one and didn't feel hungry until more than 5 hours later... The korean name for the rice cake is tteok「떡」and is the basis of local favourites like tteok-bokki, favourite dish of a good friend, which one could call the Korean macaroni.

Beomeosa temple, Busan
It continues to strike me of Asian temples is the extent to which they are built in harmony with the environment.
Beomeosa temple, Busan
During the walk to the blue lotus hermitage or Chungryunam, which is the real cool side of Beomeosa you will feel lost.
Beomeosa temple, Busan
After the stairs... Awaits the magic enclave.
Beomeosa temple, Busan
I don't really know what is the meaning, but it was really cool to see all these little statues surrounding the guardians.
Beomeosa temple, Busan
Impressive view of the incense burner, the golden statues and the main Buddha sitting in a bronze lotus.
Beomeosa temple, Busan
Beomeosa temple, Busan
The white on the left is Gwanseeum-bosal (The Buddha of Compassion) and the golden on the right is Mireuk-bul (The Future Buddha).
Beomeosa temple, Busan
There are selected statues that stand out with lighter colouring.
Beomeosa temple, Busan
Beomeosa temple, Busan

After exiting the Blue Lotus Hermitage, we continued to the next one - which was not so impressive, despite the welcoming "happy buddha".

Beomeosa temple, Busan
Here I was hoping for something good...
Beomeosa temple, Busan
... but I didn't find it, as expressed by the disappointment in my face.
Beomeosa temple, Busan
Last on this post is the main Beomeosa temple, which has a lot of history and is also beautiful but more of the same that you find in the main temples of Seoul. If you are tight on time, make sure to hit the hermitage first - you can explore this on the way back anyway. We did not visit it in this order, but I would do so if I was coming back.
Beomeosa temple, Busan
The guardian statues at the entrance are quite cool.
Beomeosa temple, Busan
Beomeosa temple, Busan
Beomeosa temple, Busan
Beomeosa temple, Busan
Striking views of the halls agains the lush peaks.
Beomeosa temple, Busan
Beomeosa temple, Busan
Beomeosa temple, Busan


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