Magoksa Temple – Gongju-si, South Korea - Atlas Obscura

Magoksa Temple

Gongju-si, South Korea

Ancient temple is home to centuries of art and spiritual artifacts. 


Founded in 640 by Monk Jajangyulsa, Magoksa is a breathtaking place of worship, especially in the spring when the area surrounded by Mt. Taehwasan comes alive, littered with cherry blossoms and magnolias. The exquisite landscape is only one of the many riches this temple possesses.

The temple survived the Seven Year War largely unfazed, and was used as a refuge during the early Joseon Dynasty. Its resilience and ancient history has left it abundant with treasures, including manuscripts made with liquid gold and silver, bronze-tipped pagodas, of which only three remain in the world, and Chinese junipers planted by independence leader and scholar Kim Ku.

Centuries-worth of ornate gates, paintings of dragons and saints, golden statues, watchful Bodhisattvas and a myriad of Buddhas are scattered about the carefully manicured grounds. Pillars hold the names of prominent people who have visited the temple over the years, and a stream in the shape of a ying yang symbol weaves gently through the trees. Not only can you visit the grounds, but the temple conducts workshops on meditation and group therapy. More info can be found on Korea’s visitor website.

Know Before You Go

From Gongju Bus Terminal (New Building), take Bus # 7 and get off at the last stop. (30-40 minute ride, 6 am - 8:30 pm)
From Gongju Bus Termnial take a taxi for 20 minutes.

From Around the Web