While up in Seoul, we had the great idea to hike up Mt. Ansan at 5 am or so. This meant getting up at about 4 am and catching a taxi to the mountain to meet up with Simon Bond and the legendary Robert Koehler. Robert knows pretty much everything there is to know about Korea and especially Seoul. He was kind enough to take us up to the top despite the early rise and the lack lustre sunrise that morning.
After the summit we headed down the walking path to Bongwonsa Temple which is a great temple and one with a long history. According to the internet it was originally founded in 889 by Master Doseon near what is now Yonsei University. Over the years it has been destroyed and rebuilt a number of times. The latest reconstruction dates back to 1994 when the main Buddha hall was rebuilt after a fire destroyed it during the restoration of the Hall of 3000 Buddhas restoration.
The site is known for it’s UNESCO designation and the “Yeongsanjae” with is an Important Intangible Cultural Properties No. 50. It is a Buddhist ritual that prays for world and and the reunification of Korea. It takes place on June 6th every year. The site is also known for being the location where the serial killer Yoo Young-Cheol buried over 12 bodies, according to wikipedia.
Overall, Bongwonsa is a beautiful temple and the hike up Mt. Ansan is great. For more information please check out the Korean Tourism Organization’s site.