Jogyesa Temple

Head Temple Of The Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism
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The peaceful grounds of Jogyesa Temple

The peaceful grounds of Jogyesa Temple

Jogyesa Temple is one of the most important Buddhist temples in Korea and a symbol of Korean Buddhism. It is located in the heart of the city near Insadong. Since 1936, it has been the head temple of the first district of the Jogye Order of Korea Buddhism.

The temple was first established in 1395, at the start of the Joseon Dynasty. The modern temple was established in 1910 and was originally located at a different location. At this time, the temple was known as Gakhwangsa.

In 1937, it was moved to its current location where it was reconstructed. Construction was completed on October 25, 1938.

At this time, the temple was known as Taegosa. This was during the Japanese occupation of Korea (1910-1945). The name stayed the same until 1954.

Daeungjeon (Main Dharma Hall) at Jogyesa Temple

Daeungjeon, the Main Dharma Hall

After liberation, in 1954, the Buddhist Purification Movement was established. The goal of the movement was to eliminate any residual Japanese influence from their occupation. That same year, the temple was renamed to Jogyesa. This was a way for Korea to move on and forget the past horrors of the Japanese occupation.

Statue in front of Daeungjeon Hall

Statue in front of Daeungjeon Hall

In late 1998, Jogyesa was occupied by monks taking part in a protest and power struggle between the Jogye Order organization. After 40 days, riot police were called in to expel the protesters. The story made international headlines.

Today, Daeungjeon (Main Dharma Hall) is the largest temple building in the city of Seoul and on its own is a spectacular and colorful sight for any visitor.

The Jogyesa Temple grounds are surrounded by urban buildings

The temple grounds are surrounded by urban buildings

Visitors here will be surprised to find a beautiful setting and sense of calmness in the middle of the hectic and crowded city. The grounds are a great escape from the big city for both locals and tourists. Some of the nature that is not to be missed include a rare 500 year old Baeksong lacebark pine tree and a 450 year old Chinese scholar tree.

Jogyesa Temple may not be the most beautiful or grand grounds in Korea, but its strength lies in its convenient location makes it one the most visited and popular temples in central Seoul.

This statue can only make you smile at Jogyesa Temple

This statue can only make you smile

Located around the temple grounds are a variety of stores and shops that specialize in Buddhist items that make for great souvenirs. Items include small Buddha statues, prayer beads, small wooden gongs, monks’ clothing, and incense. Even if you are not planning to do any shopping, these shops are a great place to browse and see interesting and unique items.

The best times to visit Jogyesa Temple are Buddha’s birthday or during the Lotus Lantern Festival when the courtyard of the temple is decorated with paper lanterns.

Worshippers in front of Daeungjeon (Main Dharma Hall) at Jogyesa Temple

Worshippers in front of Daeungjeon (Main Dharma Hall)

Read more about other temples in Seoul.


Baeksong (Lacebark Pine Tree)

Baeksong (Lacebark Pine Tree) Thumb

Baeksong is a 500 year old Lacebark Pine tree that is located at Jogyesa Temple. It features a distinctive and beautiful brown bark. These types of trees grow and reproduce slowly making them very rare and important to the history of Korea.

Read more about Baeksong (Lacebark Pine Tree)

Beomjongru (Brahma Bell Pavilion)

Beomjongru (Brahma Bell Pavilion) Thumb

Beomjongru (Brahma Bell Pavilion) is a colorful building that houses four temple instruments which are played before morning and evening chanting. The four instruments are the Brahma Bell, Dharma Drum, Cloud Gong, and Wooden Fish.

Read more about Beomjongru (Brahma Bell Pavilion)

Chinese Scholar Tree

Chinese Scholar Tree Thumb

The Chinese Scholar Tree is located next to Daeungjeon (Main Dharma Hall). It belongs to the pea family and is believed to be over 450 years old. It is 26 meters (85 feet) tell with a circumference of 4 meters (13 feet).

Read more about Chinese Scholar Tree

Daeungjeon (Main Dharma Hall)

Daeungjeon (Main Dharma Hall) Thumb

Daeungjeon (Main Dharma Hall) is located at the center of Jogyesa Temple. It is named after Shakyamuni Buddha, whose golden statue is found inside. The building opened in 1938. In 2000, the hall was designated as an important cultural asset of Korea.

Read more about Daeungjeon (Main Dharma Hall)

Geuknakjeon (Paradise Hall)

Geuknakjeon (Paradise Hall) Thumb

Geuknakjeon (Paradise Hall) was built in honor of Amitabha, a celestial Buddha. He lead people to the ultimate enlightenment, where he now resides. This hall is one of the newest and most modern at Jogyesa Temple.

Read more about Geuknakjeon (Paradise Hall)

Iljumun (One Pillar Gate)

Iljumun (One Pillar Gate) Thumb

Iljumun (One Pillar Gate) is the colorful and large main gate into holy Jogyesa Temple. Daeungjeon (Main Dharma Hall), can be seen in the background. The name derives from the single, horizontal post, which symbolizes one mind. It is said that when people walk through, all scattered minds become one.

Read more about Iljumun (One Pillar Gate)

Ten Story Buddha Relic Stupa

Ten Story Buddha Relic Stupa Thumb

The Ten Story Buddha Relic Stupa houses a relic of the Buddha which was brought here by a monk after it was given to him by the royal court of Thailand.

Read more about Ten Story Buddha Relic Stupa

Directions To Jogyesa Temple

  • Option 1
    Take Subway Line 3 to Anguk Station (Exit 6). Continue for 140 meters and turn left at Ujeongguk-ro, just past Insadong-gil.
    Continue for 190 meters to reach the temple on the right.

    Option 2
    Take Subway Line 1 to Jonggak Station (Exit 2).
    Continue for 350 meters to reach the temple on the left.



  • Free


  • GPS Coordinates (Longitude and Latitude) of Jogyesa Temple : 37.57387, 126.98258.
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