Beautiful & inspiring, Hyangiram Hermitage is one of the most impressive temples and features arguably the best views in Korea. Not to be missed upon visiting Yeosu in Jeollanam Province.
Though not exactly a kids-centric attraction, our family trip to Hyangiram Hermitage was most probably the highlight of a recent trip to Yeosu, Jeollanam. Our two kids had a fun day of exploration, walking, taking pictures and asking so many questions about the rites in place in this majestic Buddhist temple.
The site is located about 30 km south of Yeosu city. The ride there was already the start of the adventure. The winding road takes you through unique scenery: deep-blue sea views, mountain passes, fishing harbors and rice paddies.
To reach the Hermitage itself, you will need to walk your way up the mountain. Starting from the panoramic esplanade near the parking building, you will first encounter local food-stalls with the most delicious home-made kimchi, dried fish, octopus or shrimps. The yummy dried & shredded fish made for a great snack for our kids during our ascent.
After passing the entry gate, the trail is well marked alternating stairways and walking paths. Occasionally you will catch nice views at the sea while walking up. After a few minutes of gentle walk, things will get a bit more serious but kids from 4~5-year-old should have no particular difficulty. The walk continues through narrow passages and staircases carved in huge stone blocks.
After a few last stairs, you will reach the central belvedere of the Hermitage. Take your time. Breath deeply. Look at all the camellia trees around you. Enjoy the stunning views at the sea.
The origin of the Hermitage – a Buddhist retreat – dates back to the 7th century. It expanded with several temples built forming a wide complex and its names changed several times until settling to Hyangiram in the 18th century. Sadly, several buildings were damaged by fire in 2009 but it has been fully renovated since then.
The Turtle is the main symbol in the Hermitage and you will find thousands of them made from stone all around. Each temple has its own charms and the beauty of the whole complex reveals itself gradually as you will move from one area to another.
Website: http://www.hyangiram.org (Korean only)
Adults: 2,000 won / Youths (ages 13-18): 1,500 won / Children (ages 7-12): 1,000 won
How to get there:
From Yeosu Bus Terminal, cross the road and then take Bus 111 or 113 to the Impo (임포 (향일암)) bus stop. Go 100m with the ocean on the left side.
At the GS 25 convenient store, turn right and follow the road upward. Take a right after 3 blocks. Hyangiram (향일암) is located 50m ahead on the left.
Directions: Seoul Map for Kids & Families
While in Yeosu, we also recommend to check Odongdo Island nested just opposite the Yeosu Expo bay.