Jogyesa Temple

Jogyesa, a haven of peace amid the hustle and bustle of Seoul. This comprehensive guide will immerse you in the temple's fascinating history, reveal its hidden treasures and provide you with all the information you need for an enriching and memorable experience. Get ready to discover one of the most emblematic sites of Korean Buddhism.

The history of the Jogyesa temple

Jogyesa Temple occupies a special place in South Korea's religious and cultural landscape. Located in the heart of Seoul, the temple is the main center of Jogye Buddhism, the principal Zen school of the Korean Buddhist tradition. Founded in the early 20th century, Jogyesa is not only a place of worship but also a symbol of the perseverance and rebirth of Buddhism in Korea after periods of repression.

The origins of the temple

Originally known as Gakhwangsa, the temple was established in 1910, when Korea was struggling to maintain its identity in the face of Japanese occupation. It was at Jogyesa that a crucial part of Korea's cultural and spiritual resistance was played out, making it a monument of national pride.

Jogyesa in the modern age

In the years that followed, Jogyesa became a vital center for the teaching and practice of Buddhism. With its ornate buildings and peaceful gardens, it attracts not only devotees but also tourists and spiritual seekers from all over the world, eager to understand the depths of Zen Buddhism.

What can you see at Jogyesa temple?

The Jogyesa temple is famous for its magnificent ornamentation and peaceful ambience. Here are just a few of the highlights every visitor should discover.

Impressive architecture

The main temple buildings, such as Daeungjeon, the main shrine, are outstanding examples of traditional Korean Buddhist architecture. The structure is adorned with bright colors and finely crafted wooden details, offering an impressive visual spectacle.

Colored lanterns

One of Jogyesa's most spectacular features is the thousands of colorful lanterns that hang all around the temple during the Lotus Lantern Festival, celebrating Buddha's birthday. This sea of light transforms the temple into a living tableau, a symbol of peace and meditation.

Lush vegetation

In the midst of Seoul's urban bustle, Jogyesa offers a space of tranquility with its carefully tended gardens. The temple's century-old Ginkgo Biloba is particularly remarkable, symbolizing longevity and resilience.

How to get there

Easy access by public transport

Jogyesa is ideally located in the Jongno district, easily accessible by multiple means of public transport. The nearest subway station is Jonggak, on line 1 of the Seoul subway, just a few minutes' walk from the temple. Alternatively, Anguk and Gwanghwamun stations on line 3 are also nearby.

Tips for visitors

We recommend visiting the temple early in the morning to avoid the crowds and fully appreciate the serenity of the place. Don't forget to dress respectfully, covering shoulders and knees, to honor the temple's sacred character.

Activities and Events at Jogyesa Temple

Jogyesa Temple is not only a place of prayer and meditation, but also a center for cultural and spiritual activities that reflect the richness of Korean Buddhism. Here are just a few of the events and activities not to be missed during your visit.


Lotus Lantern Festival

The highlight of the year at Jogyesa is undoubtedly the Lotus Lantern Festival, usually held in May to celebrate Buddha's birthday. This festival attracts crowds of visitors who come to admire the spectacle of illuminated lanterns, take part in colorful parades and immerse themselves in the festive atmosphere, which includes lantern-making workshops, musical performances and traditional ceremonies.

Meditation sessions and Buddhist teachings

For those seeking a more introspective experience, Jogyesa offers regular meditation sessions and Buddhist teachings. These sessions are often open to visitors of all nationalities, offering a unique opportunity to immerse oneself in spiritual practices and learn more about the principles of Korean Zen Buddhism.

Guided tours of the Temple

To enrich your visit, Jogyesa offers guided tours that allow you to discover in depth the history and cultural significance of the temple's various sacred objects and structures. These tours are an excellent way to understand the religious and historical context that has shaped Jogyesa over the centuries.

The Jogyesa temple is much more than just a place of worship; it's a gateway to understanding Korean culture and spirituality. Whether you're interested in history, art, meditation, or simply looking for a moment of peace in the hustle and bustle of Seoul, Jogyesa offers a deeply enriching experience. Be sure to visit this iconic place on your next trip to South Korea, where tradition and modernity meet in harmony.

We hope this guide has provided you with all the information you need to make the most of your visit to Jogyesa Temple. Please feel free to share your experiences and discoveries, and come back to us for more tips and inspiration for your future explorations in South Korea. Have a good trip and see you soon!

The Jogyesa temple is open every day, 24 hours a day. However, specific buildings and administrative departments may have different opening hours. We recommend visiting the temple early in the morning or late at night for a more meditative and less crowded experience.


Entrance to the Jogyesa temple is free. This includes access to the gardens and main prayer rooms. Donations are accepted and can be made voluntarily in donation boxes located around the temple.


The best time to visit Jogyesa is during the Lotus Lantern Festival, usually held in May. This colorful and vibrant event offers a rich cultural experience and is one of the highlights of Seoul's cultural calendar. However, the temple is beautiful all year round, with special decorations and events also planned for other major Buddhist festivals.


Photography is permitted in most outdoor areas of the temple, but may be restricted in some indoor areas, particularly during religious services. Always check the information boards for specific guidelines, or ask permission from the monks or temple staff if you're unsure.


Visitors should dress modestly and respectfully, avoiding revealing attire. It is also advisable to speak in a low voice and to maintain a calm and respectful demeanor throughout your visit so as not to disturb practitioners and other visitors.


Jogyesa has information boards in several languages, including English. The temple also offers brochures and sometimes volunteer guides who can provide information and tours in English and other languages.


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Where is the Jogyesa temple located?

Jogyesa Temple is located in the heart of Seoul, South Korea, in a district that reflects both the city's history and modernity. The exact address is: 55 Ujeongguk-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul.


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