Haedong Yonggungsa Temple (1376)

Most temples in Korea are built high in the mountains, like Seokbulsa Temple (Stone Buddha Temple) on Mount Geumjeong (Geumjegonsan). I believe this may be because of the oppression Buddhism has faced over the years, but I'm not sure. Yonggung-sa Temple in Busan is unique because it is built on the shore, right by the water. This makes it one of the more accessible temples in Busan and perhaps all of Korea. Of course, I still managed to get lost along the way. That's what happens when you don't pay attention on foreign, local buses. Navigating a city's bus system is never quite as easy as the metro.

Yonggung-sa Temple was first built in 1376 during the Goryeo Dynasty.


Stairs within the temple complex. Koreans love cartoon characters and will use them pretty much whenever possible. Even at the DMZ between North and South Korea there are cartoon characters warning you not to stray from the path; otherwise you might lose your leg to a landmine. Nothing like a bit of levity to take the edge off civil war.


The entrance to the temple, where you can see Buddhism's trademark swastika. It is said this seal was branded into the chest of Buddha himself when he died.


Some trinkets, toys and coins left as an offering to Buddha.


A Korean family enjoys the temple.


On the walkway toward the temple's entrance, you can buy some bugs if you are hungry.


The walkway toward the temple entrance offers small gifts that can be purchased as souvenirs or as offerings to Buddha. Here it is the end of the day, and this man washes the bugs and snails he has not yet sold.


A Korean woman enjoys the view.


Budda himself, the star of the show. The strings are there to hang lanterns during certain festivals, like Buddha's birthday, which this year will be celebrated on May 10 (determined by lunar calendar).