Jogyesa Temple – That Temple Downtown

Jogyesa Temple is around the block from Gwanghwamun Square which I consider the ground zero of visiting Seoul. So many places are within the vicinity of Gwanghwamun that I highly suggest to begin and end there for a full and productive day of visiting Seoul. Jogyesa temple is not a must see, but since it’s free and shows a nice contrast between temple and city it’s worth stopping by. Additionally, it’s small so it takes no more than 30 minutes out of a person’s day to visit. Better yet, this temple is amazing to visit during the Lantern Festival. In fact, I had visited Jogyesa Temple twice during two Lantern Festivals and did not realize it was the same temple until I made my official planned visit. This temple looks stunning alone, but it transforms more than Optimus Prime during Lantern Festival into one of the exotic and beautiful images of an asian night festival that the Karate Kid II or Mulan would lead you to believe is normal in Asia.

The Jogyesa Temple is the central temple and symbol of Korean Buddhism. It is the #1 Temple of the 1st District of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism. The temple was founded in 1910 and it has endured name changes and moved to its current location in 1937. While this small temple has its share of tourists, visitors will likely view monks and several practitioners of Buddhism in action. It’s always cool to take 15 minutes out of your day and observe the devotion and practices of another major religion.

The temple area features the Daewungjeon which is the main hall that houses three Buddha statues. The statues represent the founder of Buddhism(Shakyamuni Buddha), the medicine Buddha, and the Buddha of rebirth. The three Buddha’s are the focal point of the temple. The Temple also has an administration center for Jogye Buddhism, the Korean Buddhist History and Culture Center, and the Central Buddhist Museum.

Directions to Jogyesa Temple

The Jogye Order was the Buddhism of the famous Joseon Dynasty and has helped shape and guide Korean culture for over 1700 years. To get here, depart from exit 6 of the Anguk Station (line 3 exit 6).  Walk straight out of the exit.  You will cross on street and you will see a Subway Sandwich shop.  Do not pass the foot-long delights!  Go left after you cross the street and the temple will be on the right.  You won’t miss it!

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