Hwagyesa Temple, of the Chogye Order, is a Buddhist temple surrounded by beautiful scenery at the foot of Mt. Samgaksan in Suyu-dong, Gangbuk-gu. Walking around the peaceful temple grounds surrounded by mountains, running streams, and nature makes any visitor feel like they are far from the urban maze of Seoul.
Construction on the original temple was completed by Zen Master Shin Wol in 1522 during the reign of King Jungjong.
In 1618, the temple was destroyed by a fire. It is believed that it was reconstructed the following year.
In 1866, the temple became funded and supported by King Gojong with the help from his father, Huengseon Daewongun, and other royal family members and elders. It was completely restored with their help and funding.
The style of construction is early architectural with characteristics of wooden architecture of the late 19th century. The main hall, dating back to 1870, is known as Daeungjeon. The grounds also have two shrines, two towers, and two pavilions, with one housing a bronze bell.
People from around the world have made their way to Hwagyesa as it has been well known as an important Zen center. Also offered is a templestay program where visitors can learn what it is like to live like a Buddhist monk.
Flowing nearby is a stream known as Oktakcheon which has been known to help cure diseases of the skin and stomach. Legend has it that the stream was formed by crows slowly pecking away at the rocks.