Seongbulsa Temple, Ulleung-do island
2160 Ulleungsunhwan-ro, Seo-myeon, Ulleung-gun, Gyeongsangbuk-do, South Korea
| +82 54-791-7279
Tue - Sun 12am - 3pm, 5pm - 8pm
Buddha looking out over the north shore...High above the north shore of Ulleung-do island, Seongbulsa temple isn't an especially old temple, and it's certainly not a large one--just one building--but oh, the setting...
So often throughout Korea, if you want the best view of an area, hike up to a Buddhist temple, approach the presiding statue, and then turn around and face what the sculpture seems to be looking at--usually a vista of mountains and valleys.
Here, from one of Korea's farthest-flung outposts, partway up the vertical volcanic peak of Songgatsan mountain, the Buddha of Seongbulsa faces east over the Sea of Japan. (Mind your terminology, though; Koreans refer to this body of water as the "East Sea," not taking kindly to the former colonial power.) Forested cliffs, a fishing village, and an everlasting horizon--this is one of the best views in Korea...
To get here--take the lone coastal road from either of the harbor villages around to the north of the island; just after Songgatsan peak, look for an impossibly steep road on your right--it's a sharp right, and your rental Hyundai WILL make it up!