Guksadang Shrine

Guksadang Shrine on Mt. Inwangsan in Seoul
Guksadang Shrine on Mt. Inwangsan

Guksadang Shrine, on Mt. Inwangsan, is one of the most important and almost mythical Shamanic shrines in Korea that at a time was used for exorcisms. Shamanism is a religion with beliefs in unseen worlds of gods, demons, and spirits. Shamans believe in 12 deities which are the spirit of the mountain, the spirit of the dragon king, the spirit of three monks, and spirit of seven stars.

The history of the shrine dates back to 1395 when it was used to make sacrifices to Mongmyeok the Great.

Originally, the building was located at the location of Palgakjeong Pavilion on Mt. Namsan. In 1925, the Japanese moved the building to its current location at Mt. Inwangsan to make way for their own Shinto shrine.

Inside the colorful but simple building are portraits of shamanistic gods including Master Monk Muhak and also of King Taejo, the first king of the Joseon Dynasty. He reigned from 1392 to 1398.

Also found inside are food offerings for the gods left by those who travel from all over the country to show their respect and who participate in shamanist ceremonies known as gut.

Nearby menacing figures at Guksadang Shrine in Seoul
Nearby menacing figures
Food offerings inside  Guksadang Shrine in Seoul
Food offerings inside the shrine