Haedong Yonggungsa Temple: A Cultural Destination for Enthusiasts

Haedong Yonggungsa Temple is a renowned religious site in South Korea and one of the three revered locations associated with the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy.


Nestled along the coastal region of northeastern Busan, Haedong Yonggungsa Temple stands out as a unique and remarkable destination. Unlike typical Korean temples, which are often tucked within mountains, this temple offers a captivating seaside setting.

This historically significant temple, known as Naong Temple, holds a rich history dating back to 1376 during the Goryeo dynasty. Founded by the renowned Buddhist teacher Naong, it has become a captivating attraction for international tourists visiting Busan, South Korea.

The main sanctuary of the temple underwent reconstruction in 1970, where careful attention was paid to incorporating the traditional colors typically found in such structures. Inside the temple cave on the right side, visitors will find a uniquely designed Buddhist sanctum. Directly in front of the main sanctuary stands a three-story pagoda adorned with four lions. Each of these lions is said to represent different emotions: joy, anger, sadness, and happiness. The temple also boasts several notable features, including a staircase comprised of 108 steps and stone lanterns that line the rocky landscape. As you descend the 108 steps, prepare to be captivated by the temple’s breathtaking beauty. For a moment of tranquility, visitors can also pause halfway down the steps to enjoy the soothing sounds of the waves and witness the majestic sunrise.

Many people come here on New Year’s Day to make a wish for the new year while watching the sunrise. April is a wonderful time of year, with the cherry blossoms in full bloom. The birth of Buddha is also celebrated in the fourth month of the lunar calendar, offering a spectacular nighttime view as the temple grounds are lit with lanterns.

 An entrance of Haedong Yonggungsa Temple. Photo: Ngo Minh/The Hanoi Times
  Hanging on the ceiling are many wishes from pilgrims. Photo: Ngo Minh/The Hanoi Times
 Haesu Gwaneum Daebul (Great Seawater Buddha), Daeungjeon Main Sanctuary, Yongwangdang Shrine, Gulbeop Buddhist Sanctum (enclosed in a cave), and a three-story pagoda can be seen overlooking the sea. Photo: Ngo Minh/The Hanoi Times
Descending 108 steps, one can approach the water’s edge with the soothing sound of waves and panoramic views of the temple’s main building. Photo: Ngo Minh/The Hanoi Times
 Their motto is “At least one of your wishes will be fulfilled here through sincere prayers”. People can buy a candle and write a wish on it. Photo: Ngo Minh/The Hanoi Times
 People are praying at the temple. Photo: Ngo Minh/The Hanoi Times
 A woman hangs up her wish. Photo: Ngo Minh/The Hanoi Times
 The peak, near Haesu Gwaneum Daebul (Buddha of the Great Goddess of Sea Water), offers a breathtaking panoramic view of the temple, the coast, and beyond. Photo: Ngo Minh/The Hanoi Times