Saturday, December 12, 2015

Oeosa Temple

Oeosa Temple, south of Pohang

In my last post I talked about one of the two famous temples near Pohang, Bogyeongsa, located to the north of the city. The other famous temple, which is in the south, is Oeosa (pronounced kind of like "Oh-oh-sah"). Oeosa is also about an hour or more bus ride from Pohang (the buses that go there don't run frequently, thus the long travel time) but it's very close to the city by car (probably about 20-30 minutes).

Oeosa is a little smaller than Bogyeongsa and feels older as well. While both temples are crowded with tourists, Oeosa gives an impression of being a little more quiet and peaceful, probably because it's located right on the edge of a beautiful lake.

The temple complex is pretty small, but has a nice, short trail up a small cliff-side to another temple perched on top, overlooking the lake and valley. The art and wood carvings on the outside of the Oeosa temples are really beautiful. You'll see a lot of paintings/carvings of koi fish there, because of the story about two monks that tried to compete with one another to bring dead fish back to life.

The main part of the Oeosa temple complex

Bell with a carved wooden dragon for ringing it

I love the bright colors of Korean temples

Wooden beam carved into a detailed dragon's head

Paintings on the outside of a temple

A memorial with carvings of the two koi fish

The temple at the top of the hill, overlooking the valley

Looking back down at the valley

There's a relatively short trail that goes around the lake and through the hills by the temple, but I haven't done much of that trail yet (I'll update this post in the future when I get back there to do the complete trail. The part that I have done was really nice, but it's more of a pretty lakeside walk than serious hiking. For non-hikers that want to enjoy nature and see some good fall colors in late October, it's an ideal place to go.

When we visited Oeosa, we happened to meet one of the monks that lives there. He had traveled a lot and could speak a little English, so he invited us to have tea with him and then took us on a little tour of the temple complex. If you visit, don't feel shy about saying hello to the monks- they may not all speak English, but if they do (or if you speak Korean) it's a great opportunity to learn more about the temple's history and what it's like to be a monk.

Getting an impromptu tour from one of the monks

The bridge by the temple, which our monk/tour guide painted

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