Myeongjeokam Hermitage – 명적암 (Gimcheon, Gyeongsangbuk-do)

Myeongjeokam Hermitage on the Jikjisa Temple Grounds in Gimcheon, Gyeongsangbuk-do.

Hermitage History

Myeongjeokam Hermitage is located on the Jikjisa Temple grounds in Gimcheon, Gyeongsangbuk-do. The hermitage is beautifully located to the east of Mt. Hwangaksan (1,111.3 m), and to the west of Jikjisa Temple. It’s unclear when the hermitage was first founded. Myeongjeokam Hermitage is one of seven hermitages on the Jikjisa Temple grounds.

Hermitage Layout

To get to Myeongjeokam Hermitage from Jikjisa Temple, you’ll need to follow one of several hermitage roads, until it breaks-off into the road that leads up to Myeongjeokam Hermitage. Finally, you’ll find a path that is shaded by rows of mature trees. Eventually, a crowning two-story pavilion will appear. This is the first indication that you’re nearing Myeongjeokam Hermitage.

Up a set of a few dozen stairs, and under the Boje-ru Pavilion that first greeted you at the hermitage, you’ll enter into the main hermitage courtyard. If you look back towards the Boje-ru Pavilion, you’ll notice that the second story of the structure is used for people to relax and enjoy the view. Straight ahead of you, on the other hand, is a stout three-story stone pagoda. It almost looks as though someone had a giant hand and pressed down on top of the pagoda. Out in front of the pagoda is a Bodhisattva, reminiscent of the one at Woljeongsa Temple, that’s praying towards the pagoda with a lotus flower in their hand. And rounding out this stone set, and on the west end of the grounds, you’ll find two additional seokdeung (stone lanterns).

The only building that visitors can explore at Myeongjeokam Hermitage is the main hall, which is situated just beyond the beautiful pagoda and Bodhisattva. Entering into the rather long main hall, you’ll notice a main altar that’s comprised of five statues. The central image is that of Birojana-bul (The Buddha of Cosmic Energy). This central image is joined on either side by a childlike Munsu-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Wisdom) to the right and Bohyeon-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Power) to the left. And book-ending the collection of five main altar statues is an image of Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife) on the far left and an image of Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion) on the far right. Also housed inside the main hall is a painting dedicated to Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit) on the far right wall, as well as a Shinjung Taenghwa (Guardian Mural).

How To Get There

From the Gimcheon train station, you can catch local buses to Jikjisa Temple. You can catch Bus #11, #111, or #112 from the Intercity Bus Terminal that’s next to the train station parking lot. The bus ride should take anywhere from ten to twenty minutes to get to Jikjisa Temple. You can take a bus, or you can simply take a taxi. And if you’re traveling in a group, perhaps this mode of transportation is preferable. The taxi ride should cost about 10,000 won (one way). From where the bus drops you off at the bus stop, the walk up to the temple takes about fifteen minutes. From Jikjisa Temple, you’ll need to continue west. The hermitage signs along the way should guide you the rest of the way.

Overall Rating: 3/10

Myeongjeokam Hermitage has a beautiful view of the valley below that houses Jikjisa Temple. Also, the stone Bodhisattva in front of the stout pagoda is stunning. Of the seven hermitages at Jikjisa Temple, Myeongjeokam Hermitage is one of the nicer ones.

The Boje-ru Pavilion that welcomes you at Myeongjeokam Hermitage.
The view from the Boje-ru Pavilion.
Passing under the first story of the Boje-ru Pavilion as you enter the main hermitage courtyard.
The kneeling Bodhisattva and the stout three-story pagoda.
The kneeling Bodhisattva from the side.
An up-close of the Bodhisattva.
The three-story pagoda, kneeling Bodhisattva, and Boje-ru Pavilion at Myeongjeokam Hermitage.
The main hall at the hermitage.
The signboard above the entry to the main hall.
The main altar with Birojana-bul (The Buddha of Cosmic Energy) in the centre of the main altar.
And the beautiful view from the main hall.