Waujeongsa Temple in Yongin is a unique and surprising place that’s worth the extra trip from Seoul. We made the trek to see Buldu, a stirring 8-metre high Buddha’s head, right at the entrance of the temple, but got a lot more than we expected… in the best possible way.
Combine a pilgrimage to Waujeongsa Temple, with a visit to Everland Theme Park, or the Korean Folk Village, and you’ve got the makings of a perfect day trip from Seoul. All 3 attractions are located in Yongin, about 45-km south of the Korean capital.
In this guide
- 1 Waujeongsa Temple | 와우정사
- 2 What to See at Waujeongsa Temple
- 3 How to Get to Waujeongsa Temple
Waujeongsa Temple | 와우정사
Waujeongsa is a relatively new temple, established in 1970 by a North Korean monk named Kim Hae Geum. The temple is the headquarters for the Korean Buddhist Nirvana Order, and an enduring symbol of his deep hope for a reunited Korea (stemming from his displacement from the North during the Korean War).
Surrounded by the 48 stunning mountain peaks of the Yeonhwasan mountain range, Waujeonsa Temple features over 3,000 different buddha statues from all over the world.
Most were given to the Order by monks and leaders from different countries, so you’ll be able to see a huge variety of sculptures, figurines, and likenesses of the Buddha on your explorations of the temple.
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What to See at Waujeongsa Temple
The grounds of Waujeongsa Temple are quite large, and set on the southern slopes of Eunesan Mountain. There’s a few hills to climb, so prepare for a bit of trekking, with good shoes and water. Nothing is super challenging though, so anyone could visit this temple comfortably.
I’d budget at least an hour to enjoy the temple fully. There’s a lot to explore, and the vibe is really serene and beautiful. Here’s what to look out for during your wanderings.
Buldu | 불두
The first thing you’ll see at Waujeongsa Temple is the 8-metre high wooden statue of Buddha’s head (Buldu in Korean). You’ll likely see this long before you reach the actual entrance of the temple.
The golden head made of wood is the largest of its kind in the world, and has been recognized as such in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Shrine to the Nahan | 나한
The Shrine to the Nahan (나한) at Waujeongsa was probably my favourite part of the entire temple – even more so than Buldu. Coming upon this semi-circle of white headstone-like statues, depicting the 500 historical disciples of the Buddha, was simply astonishing.
Wabul | 와불
The Wabul (reclining Buddha) is another famous statue at the temple. Made from an imported Indonesian juniper tree, it’s 3-metres in height and 12-metres in length. The Wabul at Waujeongsa Temple is one of the largest of this style.
There’s some confusion about where the Wabul actually resides at Waujeongsa, but when I visited, it was in a building near the entrance of the temple. I’d just wander around until you find it!
Palsang-do | 팔상도
Developed 2,000 years ago, the Palsang-do illustrates 8 scenes from Buddha’s life, including Birth, Human Existence, Renunciation, and Nirvana. The Palsang-do is central to Buddhist art, and you’ll find various depictions of the same story at temples all over the world.
At Waujeongsa Temple, the Palsang-do is a series of murals painted along a gently curving hill. They’re fully exposed to the elements, and showing some wear and tear, but still definitely worth a look.
The 12-ton gold Reunification Bell perhaps represents the monk’s hope for the unity of the Korean Peninsula more than anything else at Waujeongsa Temple.
After it was rung during the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, it was moved to the temple grounds, where it peacefully remains to this day.
KOREAN FOLK VILLAGE + SUWON HWASEONG FORTRESS DAY TOUR | Get your fill of Korea’s rich culture and history with stops at the UNESCO World Heritage Hwaseong Fortress in Suwon, and the open-air Korean Folk Village in Yongin. Check details here.
The meditative Sakyamuni Bulgohangsang statue is a bronze of Buddha sitting with legs half-crossed. This is not only the largest one in this style in Korea, it’s also the only one!
Other Things to See at Waujeongsa Temple
If you’ve been keeping track, we’re nowhere close to 3,000 Buddhas yet. There’s a ton more to see at the temple, and it’s wonderful to wander around discovering as you go, since the grounds are so lovely.
If you’d like a bit more of a roadmap, here are some things to look out for:
- the temple’s main hall, with a collection of five statues and the Buddha of Cosmic Energy
- a 30-ton, 5-Dhyani Buddha that took decades to finish
- 12 zodiac generals
- 2 Vajra Warriors
- the Pagoda of Unification, which is made up of stones brought by visitors from holy sites all over the world
- the remains of Buddha’s sari
How to Get to Waujeongsa Temple
Address: 25-15, Haegok-ro, Cheoin-gu, Yongin-si, Gyeonggi-do | 경기도 용인시 처인구 해곡로 25-15
Waujeongsa Temple is located in Yongin, about 45-km south of Seoul. The fastest way to get there is via Express Bus from Express Bus Terminal in Seoul to Yongin Bus Terminal. Once you’re in Yongin, take local transit or a taxi to the temple complex.
The bus ride between the 2 terminals takes about 40 minutes, and costs 3,400 won each way. A taxi from Yongin bus terminal to Waujeongsa Temple takes around 20 minutes and should cost under 10,000 won.
Alternatively, you can take red bus number 5001 or 5002B from the Shinbundang Line bus stop at Gangnam Station near Exit 4 or 5 to Yongin, and then transfer to a local bus or taxi. These buses come more often than the Express buses, but take longer to reach Yongin.
If you decide to take a local bus to Waujeongsa Temple, instead of a taxi, it’s best to check navigation on Naver Maps for the most up to date bus numbers and routes.
When I checked, there were many different buses, stops, and ways to go, so it’s best to plug in your starting point for the fastest, most personalized route.
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Waujeongsa Temple: Essential Info and FAQs
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