This temple originally dates to AD 553 and lies about 1km from the entrance to Songnisan National Park. Composed of a galaxy of halls, the temple is presided over by a glittering and resplendent 33m-high gold-plated Maitreya Buddha statue – of modern construction – and a far more interesting and unique (to Korea) five-storey wooden pagoda, the Palsangjeon, which you can enter. Other halls include the main Great Treasure Hall and myriad other side shrines, including one dedicated to a male-looking Avalokitesvara.

You will also find a weather-worn Silla-era bodhisattva statue, a lotus-shaped fountain and an enormous iron cauldron, once used for cooking for up to 3000 monks. Templestays are offered (per person ₩70,000, cash only) here, which is a splendid idea if you wish to discover more about Buddhism and the beauty of the setting. When you want to rest your feet, do so in the Chahyang tea house.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Chungcheongbuk-do attractions

1. Palsangjeon

0.03 MILES

This magnificent, wooden, five-storey and highly photogenic pagoda is the only one of its kind in the country. The pagoda was first built in 553 but…

2. Songnisan National Park

1.67 MILES

This park has easy hikes and year-round beauty amongst craggy cliffs. It's atmospheric and misty in winter and alive with cherry blossoms and azaleas in…

3. Sangdang San-seong

18.53 MILES

This large fortress is 4km northeast of Cheongju, on the slopes of the mountain Uam-san. Originally built in the 1590s and renovated in the 18th century,…

4. Cheongnamdae


Once the holiday home of South Korean presidents, this villa is no Camp David, but it’s a beautiful lakeside park, with 185 hectares of well-manicured…

5. Golden Pavilion

21.08 MILES

This intriguing and rare five-storey wooden pavilion is painted bright gold from top to bottom and was founded by the Daesun Jillihoe new religious…

6. Early Printing Museum

21.32 MILES

This small museum tells you everything about the Jikji, the oldest book in the world printed with movable metal type. Unfortunately the book is not here –…

7. Concert Hall

21.36 MILES

A concert hall near Cheongju's Early Printing Museum.