Top choice in Gangwon-do

Sangwon-sa's intricately decorated bronze bell was cast in AD 725 and is the oldest bell in Korea (and one of the largest as well). Another prized object is the wooden statue of the bodhisattva of wisdom Munsu (in Sanskrit, Manjusri) – made in the 15th century, it is said, on the order of King Sejo after the bodhisattva cured his skin disease.

The temple is 10km uphill from Woljeong-sa, where a hiking trail begins.

The ceiling of the Munsu Hall – in which the bodhisattva is housed – is hung with a galaxy of votive effigies of bodhisattva, while the steps up to the temple are decorated with pink lanterns. Several other halls can be examined, including the small Spirit Mountain Hall as well as a row of commemorative steles inscribed in hanja and hangul. One of the temple halls has been converted to a charming cafe. The temple's name means 'Upper Courtyard Temple'.

From Jinbu bus terminal, 12 local buses run daily to Sangwon-sa (₩3000, 40 minutes).

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