September 16, 2023

Korea's Architectural Elegance Meets Autumn Splendor: Explore the 20 Most Beautiful Temples.(Part 3)


As we reach the climax of our exploration, the final installment of our series unravels the charm of the remaining temples that have captured the hearts of both locals and global enthusiasts alike. Selected with precision through Google Trend analysis, these sanctuaries exemplify the enduring legacy of Korea's architectural brilliance amidst nature's ever-changing tableau. As the hues of autumn create a vivid mosaic around these sacred spaces, visitors are treated to an experience that's both visually stunning and soul-soothing. Conclude your journey with us, and let these temples inspire you to see the world in more vibrant and colorful shades.

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Cheoneunsa is a temple situated in Gurye County, South Jeolla Province, established in 828 AD during the reign of King Heungdeok of the Silla Dynasty by the monk Deokun. Initially called 'Gamrosa', the temple was reconstructed and renamed to its current 'Cheoneunsa' in 1679 by Monk Juyu. It's one of the three main temples in Jirisan and is cherished by many for its exquisite natural surroundings and rich history.

Especially in the autumn, the temple is a popular destination, renowned for its outstanding fall foliage. The path surrounding the small lake at the entrance of Cheoneunsa is especially popular among visitors who enjoy a stroll amidst the unique autumn colors. Inside the temple, the center of attention shifts to the Paradise Hall, where the beautiful fall foliage can be enjoyed.

Cheoneunsa gained additional fame as a filming location for the popular drama 'Mr. Sunshine'. Set in Korea around the 1900s, the drama portrays the life of a man who returns to his homeland from the United States. The scenes shot at Cheoneunsa flawlessly captured the essence of that era. The serene ambiance and stunning scenery of Cheoneunsa significantly enhanced the storytelling of the drama. Consequently, Cheoneunsa emerged as a popular destination among drama fans and helped broadcast Korea's magnificent culture and landscapes to a global audience.


Magoksa Temple, in Gongju City, Chungcheongnam-do, was completed in 681 AD and renamed 'Magoksa' in 918. Inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in June 2018 under 'Sansa, Buddhist Mountain Monasteries in Korea', the temple is renowned for its natural beauty and cultural heritage. It is also historically significant as a refuge for Kim Gu, a leader of the Korean independence movement.

Magoksa is famous for its surrounding beautiful autumn foliage and pine forest. Particularly in the fall, the vibrant autumn leaves make this area unique, and visitors can enjoy picturesque views along the winding stream. This tranquil and peaceful environment is well-known as a meditation site for many visitors.

Passing Jijeongjeon, visitors encounter Myeongbujeon, where the stunning autumn colors create a picturesque landscape that elicits admiration. By taking 360-degree photos around Myeongbujeon, the beautiful autumn foliage can be captured as if in a painting. Also, crossing Geungnak Bridge and enjoying the surrounding autumn colors is a popular experience among visitors.


Guin-sa, located on Mount Sobaek in Danyang County, was established in 1945 and serves as the main temple of the Korean Cheontae Sect. The expansive temple complex includes over 50 buildings like the Daebeopdang, accommodating 10,000 people, and the main wooden Daejangdang called Gwangmyeongdang. Other significant structures include the Gwaneumjeon, Cheontae Patriarchs' Hall, practice facility Pandoam, and dining area Hyangjeokdang. In total, the grand structure can host up to 56,000 people.

The path leading to Guin-sa, the Bongbalje Pass, is lined with vibrant autumn foliage that stirs the heart. As you cross the main gate and enter, the temple's sheer scale is striking, unparalleled by other temples. As you continue to climb the temple grounds, you will reach the Patriarch's Hall. The mountain landscape against the backdrop of the hall is remarkably beautiful. The view of the vast temple complex and the autumn colors creates a strikingly exotic vista, providing an unforgettable experience for visitors.


Yeonguksa Temple, located in Yeongdong County, South Korea, was established during the Three Kingdoms Period by the monk Wongak. Several buildings like the Daeungjeon and Sansingak have retained their original form, and the Yeongdong Yeonguksa Daeungjeon was recognized as a tangible cultural asset in 1980. The temple is also home to major cultural assets, including the Three-story Stone Pagoda and Stele of Monk Wongak, designated as national treasures in 1971, as well as a 700-year-old Ginkgo tree, marked as a natural monument in 1970.

To visit Yeonguksa Temple, visitors need to walk a 1.1km path from Juchang. This journey offers the chance to appreciate the beautiful autumn foliage. Especially when passing through the temple gate and entering the temple grounds, visitors can encounter the more than 700-year-old ginkgo tree. This tree, with its mystical shape, seems to harbor hidden legends and creates an atmospheric ambiance. The Daeungjeon located behind the ginkgo tree harmonizes beautifully with the surrounding mountain landscape, making the autumn foliage even more radiant. Thus, Yeonguksa Temple represents an important religious site in Korea, combining a beautiful natural environment, serene atmosphere, and valuable cultural properties.


Yeongoksa Temple, nestled at the entrance of Piagol in Jirisan, is a Buddhist temple in Naedong-ri, Toji-myeon, Gurye County, Jeollanam-do. The temple, once a renowned hub for Zen Buddhist monks until the early Goryeo Dynasty, houses various pagodas, with the East Pagoda known for its exquisite and elegant design.

The name 'Piagol' is a pure Korean word formed from the Chinese characters for 'blood' and 'river', which are inscribed on the tombstone of Seokjugwan Chilye, an official of Silla. The phrase 'blood flows, forming a river; blue water turns red' indicates a site steeped in the noble sacrifice of the people of Gurye.

Nammyeong Jo Sik, a renowned scholar of the Joseon Dynasty, once stated, "Do not say you have seen autumn foliage unless you've seen that of Piagol." This sentiment, embodying the intense hues of the mountains, rivers, and people, earned the area the nickname 'Samhong'.

Aside from the splendid autumn colors within Yeongoksa itself, the 1.6km path leading from the temple to Cheonwangbong Peak is renowned as a beautiful walkway for enjoying the fall foliage. The autumnal hues of Yeongoksa and its surroundings are one of the prime representations of Korea's autumnal beauty.


Naejangsa is a Buddhist temple located in Hadong County, South Gyeongsang Province, believed to have been established in 676 AD during the reign of King Seongdeok of Silla by Monk Wonhyo. The temple's name is derived from Naejang Mountain. It consists of various intact halls such as the Main Buddha Hall, Paradise Hall, Avalokitesvara Hall, Life-Recording Hall, Meditation Hall, and Bell Pavilion, to name a few. Naejangsa is also home to various designated cultural properties, notably the Naejangsa Bronze Bell and Float, designated as a cultural asset of North Jeolla Province in 1974.

When autumn arrives, Naejangsa transforms into a vibrant panorama of fall foliage. The multitude of trees surrounding the temple turn shades of yellow, orange, and red, creating waves of autumn colors that spread across the mountains and valleys around the temple, earning admiration from all.

The 'Baekryeonam' of Naejangsa offers particularly picturesque scenery amidst the waves of autumn leaves. Positioned on a hill, it provides a panoramic view of the temple's surroundings and, in autumn, offers an enhanced spectacle of colorful foliage.


Shinheungsa temple, founded in the late 800s during the Unified Silla era, was originally named Jihengsa and later renamed in 1821. Located in Donghae City, it houses notable buildings like Seolsendang, displaying Thangka paintings from the 18th and 19th centuries, and Jinyeonggak, which enshrines various high-ranking monks in rooms like Jongpadang and Chimpadang.

The backdrop of the Buddha Sakyamuni statue at Dongildaebul complements the autumn foliage beautifully. As you follow the trail along the mountain stream on the way to the temple, you can enjoy the sublime beauty of the mountains while listening to the murmuring water.

When you pass the Four Heavenly Kings and enter the temple grounds, you will encounter a mystical landscape where the temple buildings and mountain scenery blend harmoniously, leaving an unforgettable impression on visitors.

Explore the top 10 most celebrated festivals in Korea by clicking this link.

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