OWL Magazine Korea

Seoul Gangnam, Urban Temple “Bongeunsa”

In the heart of Seoul’s Gangnam district, amidst the urban landscape, you can find a Buddhist temple. Bongeunsa, situated near Samsung Station, stands as the main temple of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism, overseeing the MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions) hub of Korea, COEX, near COEX.

Originally a mountain temple named Sudo Mountain Temple, officially referred to as Sudo Mountain Bongeunsa, it has transformed into its present urban setting due to the development and urbanization of the Gangnam area.

During the Joseon Dynasty, it served as a temple in the Seonjeongneung Royal Tombs area and is now recognized as a rare temple in the heart of the city. Its advantageous location in the city center sets it apart from other temples, making it easily accessible.

“Bongeunsa Found in the Heart of Gangnam”

Before the development of Gangnam, the vicinity of Bongeunsa was vast fields and rice paddies, and it was a remote area accessible only by boat from Hanyang (old Seoul). However, with the development of Gangnam, it has become a Buddhist temple situated in the heart of the city.

While there were challenges, including land disputes during the development of Gangnam, it ultimately led to Bongeunsa being centrally located in the city.

“Bongeunsa with Diverse Cultural Assets”

Bongeunsa, a temple in the heart of Seoul, boasts a rich history dating back to 794 and is home to various cultural assets. With Daeungjeon (Main Buddha Hall) at its center, it features around 30 large and small halls, housing numerous treasures and cultural assets.

The temple grounds, quite spacious, create an impressive contrast with the modern buildings surrounding it.

“The Maitreya Buddha of Bongeunsa”

When searching for Bongeunsa, you’ll often come across a distinctive photo – a large Buddha statue. This is the Maitreya Buddha, located behind Bongeunsa’s Maitreya Hall.

A popular spot for foreign tourists to capture commemorative photos, it offers an exotic view.

“A Small Park Behind the Maitreya Buddha”

Behind the Maitreya Buddha, there’s a serene walking path suitable for contemplation. Additionally, you can find makeshift shelters with tables and chairs, providing an opportunity to enjoy views of both Bongeunsa and the modern buildings in the background.

This space within the urban mountain provides a peaceful place to take a break, allowing visitors to relax and contemplate.

Being centrally located in the city makes it easy to reach. Take Exit 1 at Bongeunsa Station on Subway Line 9, and after a short walk, you’ll find the main gate. On the opposite side, you can explore the northern gate of COEX, making it convenient to visit while exploring COEX.

While it is a Buddhist temple, it is not necessarily limited to religious aspects and is also a great place to explore as a tourist.

“Seoul Gangnam, Bongeunsa”

  • Address: 531 Bongeunsa-ro, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
  • Phone: 02-3218-4800
  • Operating Hours: 4:00 – 24:00
  • Website: http://www.bongeunsa.org