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Osaek-ri, Seo-myeon, Yangyang-gun, Gangwon-do, South Korea
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lanterns in the forest Yangyang Gun  South Korea

lanterns in the forest

Mountains and temples are inextricably linked in Korea--when Buddhism was first introduced to the peninsula in the Three Kingdoms Period (57 BC to AD 668), numerous temples were built among the forested peaks. Even though Buddhism fell out of official favor during the neo-Confucian Joseon dynasty (1392-1910), and a substantial portion of today's Koreans are nominal Christians, Buddha's birthday is still a national holiday. Hike in almost any forest, and you'll come across pagodas, temples, lanterns...

This scene is from the Osaek valley (famous for its medicinal and hot springs) in Seorak-san National Park, several hours east of Seoul, along the eastern coast of the country. In 2018, the Winter Olympics will take place just south of here...