October 1 Busan, South Korea

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View of Lake Bomun from our hotel room

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.

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View of our hotel from a walking path around the lake. Jeff took this photo in the early morning, while I was still asleep at the hotel.

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.

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Monument pedestal from the Sungboksa Temple site. This pedestal carving has dragon heads on turtle bodies.

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.

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Famous gold crown and belt from the Silla Dynasty period. This one is pictured on many tourist sites and pamphlets.

They include the Emille Bell, which is said to ring with the sound of a child who was sacrificed for its casting.

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Jeff is standing next to the Emille Bell

There are several Silla crowns in the museum’s collection.

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A Silla gold crown, done in the more western style

The museum also holds many artifacts excavated from Anapji Pond and artifacts excavated from the Hwangnyongsa Temple site.

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This stone carving came from the roof top of the Hwangnyongsa Temple. It is also used on many tourist sites and pamphlets.

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Bronze Buddha statues from Hwangnyongsa Temple site

Many of the museum holdings are displayed outdoors, which is a common practice in Korean museums.

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Avalokitesvara Buddha statue found buried in a tomb site, dating back to the 8th century

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.

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Clay statue of a horse and rider

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.

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View of the Haedong Yonggung Temple from the Guanyin statue patio

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!

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Coin donation “throwing game” ponds at Haedong Yonggung Temple

Here is a statue of the Haesu Gwaneum Daebul (Seawater Great Goddess Buddha), also called Guanyin.

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Haesu Gwaneum Daebul (Seawater Great Goddess Buddha), also called Guanyin. on a patio overlooking the sea

Here is the Daeungjeon, or Main Sanctuary, of the Haedong Yonggungsa Temple.

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Jeff is standing in front of the 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.

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Gulbeop Buddha Sanctuary at Haedong Yonggungsa Temple

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.

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Here is the Yongwangdang Shrine, with a statue of golden fat (prosperous) Buddha in front of it.

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Yongwangdang Shrine, with a statue of golden fat (prosperous) Buddha in front

Other special sites at the temple are the 108 stairs and stone lanterns lining the rocky landscape.

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Stairway with 108 steps and stone lanterns

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

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Statue of Buddha for Academic Discipline with his disciples

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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.

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Buddha of Granting a Son statue

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.

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Golden statue of Buddha a the Haedong Yonggungsa Temple 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.

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Cute figurines at the Haedong Yonggungsa Temple

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!

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Cute figurine at the Haedong Yonggungsa 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.

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A section of beach in Busan. It is very popular with tourists and locals in the summertime.

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.

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Building in Busan with an artistic sculpture of a tree in front of it, and two Korean flags on the lamppost.

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.

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Fish for sale at Jagalchi Fish Market

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.

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Gukje Market

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 .

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Ann riding the elevators up to Yongdusan Park

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.)

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Dragon statue in Yongdusan Park

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.

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Statue of someone associated the the Japanese War in 1592 in Yongdusan Park

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.

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Ann and Jeff standing in front of the Flower Clock in Yongdusan Park. The Busan Tower is behind us.

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.

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View of Busan harbor from the top of Busan Tower

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