Jeff and I stayed overnight at a hotel in Bomun Lake. This hotel was part of a large tourist complex around Bomun Lake near the city of Gyeongju. It overlooked the lake and faced Toham Mountain. This resort was originally built for foreign visitors, but it has become popular with domestic visitors. Still, we were there in the off season, so almost everything was closed. It was very pretty, and a nice change from waking up in a city.
We began our day by returning to the Gyeongju National Museum. We had visited it the day before, but it was a Monday, so all of the buildings with indoor exhibits were closed. We really wanted to see these historic artifacts, so we altered our tour plans for the day to go back to the museum.
The Gyeongju National Museum exhibits are mostly from the Silla kingdom.. The museum is located immediately adjacent to the royal tomb complex with all the tumuli mounds.
They include the Emille Bell, which is said to ring with the sound of a child who was sacrificed for its casting.
There are several Silla crowns in the museum’s collection.
The museum also holds many artifacts excavated from Anapji Pond and artifacts excavated from the Hwangnyongsa Temple site.
Many of the museum holdings are displayed outdoors, which is a common practice in Korean museums.
The volume of archaeological and historical artifacts in the collection of the Gyeongju National Museum is so large that most of the objects cannot be displayed and are thus stored out of the view of the general public.
Haedong Yonggung Temple is a Buddhist temple in Busan, South Korea. This was our next tour stop, and it took about one and a half hours to drive there from the Gyeongju National Museum.
Haedong Yonggungsa Temple is situated on the coast of the north-eastern portion of Busan, which is unusual, as most temples in Korea are located in the mountains. Haedong Yonggungsa Temple was first built in 1376 by the great Buddhist teacher known as Naong during the Goryeo Dynasty. The photo below shows an interesting variation on a pond to toss in coins for good luck. Instead of just turles or statues, there is a statue holding a bowl, and another bowl on a pedestal. So you can try to toss coins into the bowls, instead of just throwing them in the ponds. This may encourage people to throw more coins!
Here is a statue of the Haesu Gwaneum Daebul (Seawater Great Goddess Buddha), also called Guanyin.
Here is the Daeungjeon, or Main Sanctuary, of the Haedong Yonggungsa Temple.
The main sanctuary of the temple was reconstructed in 1970. On the right-hand side, inside the a cave, is a uniquely designed Buddhist sanctum.Here is a photo of the Gulbeop Buddhist Sanctum (enclosed in a cave), at the Haedong Yonggungsa Temple. This cave was located inside one of the sea cliff rocks where the temple was built. Notice all of the little figurines at the base of the Buddha? I will talk about them later in this blog entry.
There is a three-story pagoda at the temple with four lions all looking out over the ocean at its base,j.ust in front of the main sanctuary. The four lions symbolize joy, anger, sadness, and happiness.
Here is the Yongwangdang Shrine, with a statue of golden fat (prosperous) Buddha in front of it.
Other special sites at the temple are the 108 stairs and stone lanterns lining the rocky landscape.
This Statue of Buddha for Academic Discipline with his disciples were in an alcove alongside the stairway. Besides being cute, I liked what they represented. Statue of Buddha for Academic Discipline
There was also a Buddha of Granting a Son. As you can see, his belly was well rubbed by those women hoping to have a son.
Many people often come to this spot on New Year’s Day to make a wish for the new year as they watch the sun come up. This golden statue of Buddha sits on the easternmost point of Korea.
Here are a couple more photos of the cute figurines that were everywhere around the temple. I think that people left them around the statues for good luck and wishes granted. And they were all very cute.
In fact, this one is definitely the “cute photo of the day.”And it was a tough choice, because there was so much “cuteness” around this temple!
After we left the Haedong Yonggungsa Temple, we went to tour the city of Busan. Busan is South Korea’s second largest city after Seoul. It has Korea’s largest beach and longest river.
It is the largest port city in South Korea and the world’s fifth busiest seaport he world The city is located on the southeastern-most tip of the Korean peninsula. See the two Korean flags on the lamppost in the photo below? There were Korean flags everywhere, as Korean National Day was coming up on October 3.
Jagalchi Fish Market is a fish market in Busan, located on the edge of Nampo Port. The name is said to have originated from jagal (gravel in Korean) because the market used to be surrounded by gravel.
Gukje Market is the largest traditional street market in Busan. Gukje Market began during the Korean War in 1950 as a place for war refugees to try to eke out a living, and it soon grew into a large, busy market. Shops in Gukje Market sell an assortment of new and used items. This reminded me of the night markets in Taiwan.
Leading up to Yongdusan Park is a series of 4 covered elevators which makes getting up to the park from the market level a lot easier. Getting down, however, requires you to take the stairs .
Yongdu means”‘the head of a dragon”, since the area is shaped like the head of a dragon coming out from the sea (if seen from the air.)
From the beginning of the 15th century, the Korean government designated Busan as a trading port with the Japanese and allowed them to settle here. The Busan Japanese settlement, called Waegwan, continued until the Japanese invaded Korea in 1592. After the war, diplomatic relations with Japan were established again in 1607, and Busan Waegwan was reconstructed. The Japanese settlement here continued until 1876.
The Busan Tower, located inside Yongdusan Park, remains one of the best spots to see the whole city in a 360 degree view. While it is not as tall as the Seoul Tower, at 120 meters tall (about 394 feet), it’s Busan’s most well-known landmark.
Here is one of the views from the top of Busan tower. It was a nice, sunny day, so we had great views in all directions from the top of the Busan Tower.