Donghaksa Temple, the First Academic Institute for Female Monks

Tucked back in the Gyeryongsan National Park is Donghaksa Temple.  The temple is the first and oldest existing academic institute for female monks.  Around 150 female monks live and study there.  We visited in the end of Winter, not the ideal time of year, but even so the park and temple were beautiful.  After entering the main gate it is a good 10-15 minute walk to the temple.  It’s a lovely walk though next to a stream that has several small waterfalls.  There are tall trees and interesting boulders.  The entire setting is serene.  Spring is probably the best time of year to go.  Cherry trees line a 3km stretch of the road leading to the temple creating a tunnel that would be spectacular when in bloom.  I imagine that it’s also quite beautiful in Summer and Fall.  There are several hiking trails in the park.  We were traveling with a bunch of little kids and decided to do the “easy” hike to Eunseon Waterfall.  The waterfall is supposedly only .7 km from the temple, but let me just tell you that the majority of that .7km feels dang near straight up.  There are some actual steps in a couple of spots that help a little, but for the most part it was uneven rocks and it’s a bit difficult.  Three quarters of the children in our group were hating life, lol, but we all made it to the falls! Yay!  You can see the photo below and decide if you think it’s worth it or not. 🙂

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Donghaksa TempleDSC_9491 copyDSC_9529 copy.jpgDSC_9517 copyDSC_9524 copy

The buildings behind the sign are the monks living quarters and were off limits.DSC_9538 copy

The hike.DSC_9587 copyDSC_9593 copy 2

Eunseon Waterfall.  Even though it wasn’t much more than a trickle when we were there, I’m still glad that we saw it. 🙂DSC_9629 copy

The area outside of the temple had several cute shops and places to eat.DSC_9718 copy.jpg

A little silkworm stand.  Gotta season the silkworms. 🙂DSC_9363 copy

We had planned on only being in the area for a couple of hours but ended up spending most of the day and actually wished we had longer to explore a little more outside of the temple.  If you go, I’d say to set aside a day, and have a great time!

The entrance fees for adults are 2,000Won, youths 700Won, and children 400Won.  Parking for the day cost 4,000Won.

Address:

462, Donghaksa 1-ro, Banpo-myeon, Gongju-si, Chungcheongnam-do

 

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