On my first full day in Busan I slept in but once I was up and going I started my sightseeing at Beomeosa Temple. To reach the temple I had to take the metro to the northern end of Busan and then get on a bus that took me up into the mountains. A paved pathway leads from the Beomeosa bus stop to the temple and passes through several colorful temple gates, one of which contains guardian statues.
At the end of the pathway is Beomeosa’s main temple complex. Beomeosa’s name roughly translates to “Temple of the Nirvana Fish” and comes from an old legend about a heavenly fish that is said to inhabit a golden well at the top of the mountain that Beomeosa is built on. Beomeosa was established in the year 678 but in the late 1500s it was mostly destroyed during Japan’s invasion of Korea. Although the temple itself was lost, Beomeosa’s monks gained renown for their combat prowess and their skill helped push back the Japanese invaders. In 1613 renovation work began on the temple that eventually led to the current version we see today. It wasn’t too busy when I visited Beomeosa on a Tuesday but I’ve read online that the temple can get fairly packed on weekends.
There are three or four smaller temples (hermitages) nearby Beomeosa and I hiked to the one named Cheonglyeon-Am. At this temple there were a lot of bronze statues and in one of the temple halls I could hear a pair of monks practicing their chants.
On my way back down to Beomeosa I started up a path to another one of the smaller temples but turned around after a few minutes when I realized it was not going to be a short hike. At that point I was also feeling like the beaches of Busan were calling my name so I made my way to the road in front of Beomeosa and got on the next bus going down the mountain. Next stop: Haeundae Beach.
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