Shinheung-sa is the main temple of the area known as Outer Sorak-san Mountain. The temple is remarkable for its constant changing over the centuries. For not only did it change position and name, but also the school of Buddhism to which it adhered.

<< Buddha engraved on giant granite-rock, Sinheung-sa


Sinheung-sa was built in 652 by the master teacher of Buddhism, JaJang, and burned down in 698. The founder of a religious sect UiSang later built Seonjeong-sa, which is now Naewon-am on the temple grounds. For 1000 years, it had blossomed in reputation. It was one of the few structures not destroyed during the Japanese invasion of Korea in 1592 and the Chinese invasion of Korea in 1636.

There was another big fire in the temple in 1642. The three monks YeongSeo, HyeWon, and YeonOk, offered prayers for rebuilding the temple. One day, they had the same dream of a old Buddhist priest them to change the location of the temple to prevent three big misfortunes. They moved the temple to its current location.

What to see

Geungnakbojeon Hall of Sinheungsa Temple

The 4m Buddha, engraved on the surface of a giant granite-rock, dates from the Unified Silla period (668-935 AD). The Buddha has a rather low usnisa (a protuberance on top of the head symbolizing supreme wisdom)on a shaven head and is seated cross-legged on a lotus pedestal. Clouds are carved below the pedestal to indicate that Buddha reigns in heaven. Though the height of the pedestal is out of proportion with the width of the lap, the sculpture emits a sense of stability. The Bodhisattva on the southern face of the rock is 4.5m tall. Though seated, the position of the legs are not seen because they are covered by the long robe. The Bodhisattva is characterized by a fan-shaped crown and a flower in the right hand extending clearly to the nimbus. The deep engraving of the folds of the robe hanging over the knees harmonizes with the deep lines that outline the lotus pedestal. This figure was carved during the Goryeo period (918-1392 AD).

This 3-story pagoda is National Treasure 443. It demonstrates the traditional style of the Silla period. Originally a nine-story stone tower made of granite, only three stories remain. When it was repaired, workers found a case for containing the bone fragments of Buddha, but it was empty.

The lawn behind the forest on the hill is the Gangwon Province Cultural Property 115. It holds 20 towers containing fragments and monuments, including Woldamdang-tap, Daewondang-tap, Soryeondang-tap, and Hyangseodang-tap. A modern five-story stone tower also rises beside it.

TongilDaeBul is on the right after passing Ilju-mun (gate). The statue has a big, generous smile that looks down on visitors. It is the largest sitting bronze statue in the world. The construction started in 1987 and finished when the eyes were placed on the face in 1997. Its height is 17.5 meters, and the 16 statues of Buddhist monks who attained nirvana are carved on the pedestal for unification. A great number of people come to pray for their wishes.

Three ways can be taken from in front of Tongildae-bul. The left way goes to Biseondae, a summer house where the fairy Ma-go rose to heaven (according to legend. The middle way goes to Ulsanbawi, a natural big stone ball, and passes Naewon-am and Gyejo-am. It is also the way to the green bridge Sesim-gyo. The right side goes to the white bridge Sesim-gyo.

The central chapel of Geukrakbo-jeon is located beside Samseong-gak and is Gangwon Province Tangible Cultural Property 14. It has an octagonal roof, three front rooms, and two side rooms. It also has a special structural pattern and a great variety of design. The canopy over the statue is the octagonal Bogung type of inner structure carved with a dragon. The flower figure window is very interesting. The outer wall describes the practising process in a mountain.

Between Jeokmukdang and Beomjongru is an amusing figure of a turtle shooting water from its mouth. The sweet water from this fountain is said to remove fatigue and provide freshness for those who drink from it.


170, Seorak-dong, Sokcho-si, Gangwon-do. S.KOREA.
Tel: 033-636-7393

By Car
Take National Road No. 6 from Seoul, and then National Road No. 44 in Yangpyoung. After you pass Hongcheon, Inje and Hankyeryoung Service Area, join National Road No. 7 in Yangyang. Drive for 11.4 ? to Naksan, and soon you will reach Mulchi 3-way junction. Go left, following the sign to Seolakdong. Drive another 10.9 ?. You will arrive in the parking lot at the entrance of Mt. Seolak. Walk from there for 20 min.

Or, from Inje, you can take National Road No. 46 toward Misiryoung, not toward Hankyeryoung Service Area. If you drive on the road for about 16.2 ?, you will reach the Yongdae 3-way junction. Make a right turn onto Lcal Road No. 466 and go another 13.6? to Misiryoung. There is a 3-way junction with a sign for “Dae-myoung Seolak Leisure Town“. Drive for 4.6 km from there toward Sokcho and you will get to ”Seokcho Plaza Resotel”. Turn right turn and you will see "Cheoksan Hotspring", and a little farther up, the hotel complex of Seolakdong and the parking lot at the entrance of Mt. Seolak.

By Public Transport
From Seoul Express Bus Terminal (Express Bus Terminal St, Subway line No. 3 or 7, Orange or Dark green line) : Express bus to Sokcho, available many times a day, or to the Sogongwon (small park) of Mt. Seolak. Local buse, No. 7 from downtown Sokcho to Seolakdong runs every 10 min. and it takes about half an hour.

Admission fees is included in Seorak-san National Park admission.