Cheontaesan (Mt. Cheontae) - Youngdong, Korea

 As Cheontaesan (Mt. 714.7m) has excellent natural scenery, well-maintained paths for hiking, and many noted places around it, it is honored by many mountain-lovers and is also in the spotlight as a hiking trail for families.

Especially eight views of Yangsan start from Yeongguksa (Temple) in Cheontaesan as the first view, and many cultural properties make the mountain more mystic. There are Oksaebong (Peak) and Yukjogol (Valley) where King Hyoso was said to evacuate leading all the government officials. Yeongguksa (Temple) was built by the Great Buddhist Priest Wongak in the 8th year of King Munmu of the Shilla dynasty. It was called Gukcheongsa (Temple) by the Most Reserved Priest Daegak in the time of Munjong (King) of the Goryeo dynasty. But after King Gongmin stayed away from Honggeonjeok's invasion into here, he prayed for peace of the people, and defeated it. So he changed its name to Yeongguksa.

Cheontaesan (Mt. 714.7m above the sea), an attraction as a tourist resort located in Nugyo-ri, Yangsan-myeon is composed of fantastic rocks and stones like a silk embroidery. As it has several hike trails including rock climbing route using ropes, it is a well-known hiking and mountain climbing place for families nationwide.

Also the sceneries up to Yeongguksa (Temple) are very beautiful and Yongchupokpo (Waterfall) (three-tier cascade) pouring from fantastic rocks and stones and ginkgo tree (Natural Monument No.223), estimated to be about 1,000 years old, are greeting visitors on the way to Yeongguksa.

It is also a place where history keeps breathing with four items of the Treasures, 2 of the local Tangible Cultural Properties, and one of the Natural Monuments. In addition, Oksaebong (Peak) where King Gongmin of the Goryeo dynasty hid the Royal Seal (oksae) when he evacuated from Honggeonjeok's(Chinese) invasion, and Yukjogol (Cave) where Six Boards took their places are keeping fragrance of the history with a thousand-year-old temple, Yeongguksa.
(Quoted from

The trail starts with early summer green. It is just mid-May but getting hot.

The entrance looks like a path to the secret garden.

To celebrate Buddha's birthday(8-Apr, lunar calendar), the temple hangs colorful lights.

 The rock named Samsinhalmae is waiting for you to give a baby if you want. Samsinhalmae means an old lady who can give you a baby. So some people visits here and pray for the baby.

The famous three cascade waterfall. There was no rain recently, thus less water.

The whole picture of Cheontaesan in the deep spring. The center is the top.

This ginkgo tree is 31 meters high and 11 meters in circumference at chest height, and is estimated to be about 1000 years old. The truck begins to branch at a height of about 2 meters. This tree's main branches extend 25 meters from east to west and 22 meters from south to north.  One of the western branches touches the ground, where it has newly stuck roots. This junior tree alone is already taller than 5 meters, with a circumference of more that 20cm at chest height.
According to the local legend, this tree wails loudly in times of serious national crisis. In autumn, the tree coupled with the surrounding environment, creates a magnificent scene.

After passing the ginkgo tree, the main trail (course A) begins.

On the trail, a temple - Cheontaeam - enjoying the spring sunlight and warm breeze.  

Most of mountains in middle Korea has tons of pine tree.

Every 100 meters, the milestone tells how close you are to the peak.  

 Cheontaesan is also rocky mountain specially huge granite, so you will encounter the rope way more than you expect.
At some height, watching the spring mountain spread in Yangsan area. The weather was fine.

Rope way, piece of cake! 

Another rope way, piece of cake too!

Enjoying green scenes..... 

Another rope way.... What the hell.... 
This course is toughest one in this mountain trails. There is De tour but if you conquest this course, you can feel you are alive.  

The top of the toughest course. Now 500 meters left to the peak.  

 Life is something. Though thy beginning was small, yet thy latter end should greatly increase.

In front of the peak, somebody put the guest book.
If you open the page of 15-May, you will see my name on it.   

The peak of Cheontaesan  714.7 meters.

The mid-May is also the season for the Royal azalea.
Almost all mountains in Korea has this flower.

Time to go down.
But it also not easy, rope way plus big sands. Very slippery.

You can't see the top while you go up.
But you can see it while you go down, an irony.

This was the toughest rope way.  

View of Yeongguksa temple 

 Rope way, Rope way!

I love rope way! 

The three treasure of Yeongguksa.  

 Bell shaped stupa of Yeongguksa
This stupa is located about 8 meters behind the monument to the National Preceptor, Wongak, but it is not known to whom the stupa was dedicated. It has the shape of a stone bell, on which unique patterns are engraved. The fact that a lotus petal is carved on the upper and lower part, indicates that it was erected some time between the late Goryeo era and the early Joeeon Dynasty.
Between the lotus petals on the upper base stone are carved small lotus leaves. The top of the stupa is decorated with a boju(pearl shaped stone). This stupa is made of 6 pieces of stone and stands 190cm tall.

Ball shaped Stupa of Yeongguksa
This stupa is located behind the monument to National Preceptor, WOngak, but it is not known to whom the stupa was dedicated.
On this round stupa , unique patterns are engraved. The fact that a lotus petal is carved on the upper and lower part indicates that it was erected sometime betw een the late Goryeo Era and the early Joseon Dyna sty. It is a combined structure of a round stu pa main body and an octagonal roof stone . The detail ed engraving on the roof stone is not clear for the roof tiles are worn.
Including the elaborate boju(pearl shap ed stone) located on the top of the roof sto ne, the
stupa retains all the parts intact . It is estimated to be a stonework built in th e latter Goryeo
period, given its round shape, the style and craftmanship of the lotus petals, It is 184cm tall.

This memorial monument was built for National Preceptor Wongak, who became a high priest of the Seon Order in 1153 (the 7th year of the regin of King Uijong of the Goryeo Dynasty) and was designated as a Royal Preceptor of King Myeongjong in 1171 (the first year of King Myeongjong's reign).
Wongak is known to have become a monk at the age of nine as a disciple of Gyoung, the great Seon Master. The remains of National Preceptor Wongak were enshrined in Yeongguksa Temple, and Han Mun-jun wrote the epitaph in 1180 (the 10th year of King Myeongjong's reign). The text of the epitaph can be found today in an ancient book titled Joseon Geumseok Chongnam (The compelete catalog of epigraphy of Korea).
The body of the monument is a single piece of slate stone, but it was greatly damaged by bullets, making it very difficult to read the epitaph.
The Turtle-shaped pedestal and the four dragons carved on the headstone are highly unique. This monument has attracted considerable interest among academic circles as the period of its foundation has been clearly identified.

 Yeongguksa Temple
 This temple is said to have been built in 668, the eighth year of the reign of Munmu-wang of Shilla, but the exact date is uncertain. The present name of Yongguksa, which means Temple of the Peaceful Country, dates back to Kongmin-wang(1351-74) of Koryo who fled to this temple and offered prayersto Buddha to safeguard the monarchy from the marauding Red Turban bandits from Manchuria. The Taeungjon Hall measures three bays on the front and two bays on the side
with multi-brackets and a gabled roof. Three tiered brackets are installed inside and outside the building. A carved lotus flower is placed on each of the "ox-tongus" shaped ornaments
on of brackets.

This stone pagoda built in the Silla Period was built in the common style, consisting of a three-story body erected on a two-tier pedestal. The pagoda, previously located at an old Buddhist temple site, had collapsed, but in 1942 a Buddhist monk named ]ubongjosa restored it to its present location,
facing east towards Daeungjeon Hall of Yeongguksa Temple.
The upper and lower layers of the two-tier pedestal were accidentally switched when the pagoda was moved. However; this mistake was corrected in 2003 during a cultural heritage repair and maintenance project. The granite structure is presumed to have been built in the latter part of the Unified Silla Period, around the late 9th century.
All the materials used for the finial of the pagoda have been completely preserved, contributing to its rating as one of the best examples of stonework of the late Unified Silla Period. 

Where else you can visit after the tracking?

Near to Cheontaesan, there a town named Okcheon and this town has a street market.  

The street market in Korea opens every 5days, 5th, 10th, 15th, 20th.. of the month. We call it Oiljang.
The market day is various depends on towns. Okcheon street market opens every 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30.  

And you can buy foods, clothes and local products in the market.  

If you like to visit Cheontaesan and experience local street market with a professional guide, please feel free to contact me,



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