One of Korea’s largest and most famous temples, Jikjisa (436 6175; admission adult/youth/child W2500/1500/1000; 7am-6.30pm Mar-Oct, 7am-5.30pm Nov-Feb) is one of the most picturesque – with quiet forests, a river and ancient stone monuments covered with lush, green moss. The delicate paintings on the temples have a refinement and grace that is very appealing, as are the giant timbers that support the structures, and the faded, cracked wood.
Situated in the foothills of Hwang-aksan, amid ancient pines and hardwoods (many trees are labelled), it was first constructed during the reign of the 19th Shilla king, Nul-ji (AD 417–58). Priest Jajang, who had spent many years studying in China and brought back to Korea the first complete set of the Tripitaka Buddhist scriptures, rebuilt it in AD 645. Further reconstruction was done in the 10th century but the temple was completely destroyed during the Japanese invasion of 1592 and reconstructed in 1602.