Gapsa Temple and the Donghaksa Cherry Blossom Festival

Gapsa Temple was established by monk Adohwasang in 420, during the Baekje Period (234-678), and is a well known temple for acquiring numerous cultural treasures.  The road to Gapsa Temple passes a famous area known as Ori Forest.

Legend has it Donghaksa Temple was first built in 724 by the priest Sangwon Josa; it is the first and the oldest existing academic institute for female monks.  One of the best areas to enjoy the cherry blossom is the three-kilometer-long road leading to the temple with cherry trees along the sides, creating a cherry blossom tunnel.  The temple has been hosting a Spring Flower Festival since 1993 where you can view the beautiful cherry blossoms and enjoy various kinds of Korean snacks.

At the entrance to the Gapsa temple complex is this field of spirit posts.

I have felt like this myself!

The Iljumun gate on the way to the temple

I'm jealous--this dragon has a better moustache than I do!
(Not that that's difficult...)

Gangdang, formally a lecture hall, now dedicated to Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife)

Have I ever mentioned I like dragons? :)

These were on top of one of the walls along the grounds.

Inside one of the other halls

Pyochungwon, where portraits of the high priests Yeong-Gyu, Sa-Myeong, and Seo-San
(who also served as monk-soldiers during the war with Japan in 1592-1598) are kept.

The monk's graveyard (I'm guessing).  The whitish stone in the middle
dates from 1657, if I'm interpreting the nearby sign correctly.

Some of the blossoms on one of the temple's cherry trees.
I found it interesting they all point downwards...

I have no idea what this represents, but it's obviously something significant!

The unusually-decorated pedestrian bridge to the parking lot

This was one of the other tour buses.  I have no idea
what the connection is between Spider-manŽ and a dragon...

This oddly-roofed building is on the road to Donghaksa temple.

Along the route were 3km of cherry trees.  This would be so much prettier if they made it a pedestrian-only zone (like many places in Japan).

This is just a BAD idea--guns and alcohol should never mix!

The Korean equivalent of a bag of potato chips.  Yes, that's made
from one potato!  A little awkward to eat, but rather good.

The entrance to the Holy Site of Comforting Souls of Loyalists.  The souls
of 103 noble loyalists are believed to be existing above the three temples in it.

The main hall...

...with it's uniquely (for a temple, anyway) decorated door.

The bell pavilion

Is it just me, or is that bear waaay too happy he's about to get crushed?
(Or he could be throwing the rocks up in the first place, which is worse!)

The Nammaetap pagodas, at the site of Cheongnyangsaji temple.  To get here,
you have to 'hike' one mile up the mountainside on a path of almost nothing but rocks.

At least there are some turtle-shaped rocks to rest on once you make it up to the pagodas!

Although I have no idea what this says--and if you know Hangeul,
I'd love to know--it seems like this area was the site of some legend.
(I did learn elsewhere that the tiger symbolizes the mountain god, however.)

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Last updated 11 May 2013