Introducing Naksan Provincial Park
This small coastal park south of Sokcho is home to the temple Naksan-sa, established in AD 671 and enjoying glorious sea views all around. A majestic 15m-tall statue of the Goddess of Mercy, Gwaneum, presides over the East Sea from a promontory. Notably it has never fallen victim to the forest fires that have periodically razed the temple buildings (most recently in 2005).
Most of the temple complex has been stoutly rebuilt since the last fire and the surrounding pine forest is recovering as well. Immediately below the statue is a small shrine, with a window strategically constructed so that a kneeling devotee can look up and gaze upon the statue’s face. Further down a side path is a pavilion with a glass-covered hole through which you can see the sea cave below.
Below the temple is Naksan Beach (낙산해수욕장), considered one of the best on the east coast and phenomenally busy in the summer, when accommodation prices can triple. At other times it’s a pleasant place to stay if you want to avoid Sokcho’s fishing-town feel.