Course

Geumgye-ri Chilseon Valley Byeoksongsa Temple Seoamjeongsa Temple Geumdaeam Hermitage
If the west side of Jirisan Mountain offers much to see and eat along Seomjingang River, the opposite side of the same mountain is rich with hidden treasures from Namcheon Stream to Inwol and Macheon. Not many people visit these areas because the valleys are a little too deep for the taste of many, but some argue that they're the places to go if you want to see and appreciate the real beauty of Jirisan Mountain. It's where you'll find Silsangsa Temple as well as Baengmudong and Chilseon Valley. To get to these places, you'll need to pass through the Inwol-Geumgye section that's widely agreed as the most beautiful part of Jirisan Dulle-gil. Other places that are very well worth a visit are Byeoksongsa Temple, Seoamjeongsa Temple, and Geumdaeam Hermitage. Above all, Chilseon Valley is definitely a must-go place, located right in the middle of all these hidden treasures of Jirisan Mountain.

To get to Chilseon Valley, Hamyang is where you want to start. From Hamyang Bus Terminal, you'll easily find a bus that runs through Macheon and Chuseong. If you're coming from Seoul, or more precisely Dongseoul Bus Terminal, take a bus bound for Baekmudong and get off at Macheon. From Macheon, transfer to another bus that goes to Chuseong.
  • How to get to Chilseon Valley?
  • Take a bus from Dongseoul Bus Terminal to Baekmudong.
  • The bus departs at 08:20, 10:30, 15:20, 17:30, 19:00, and 24:00.
    Travel Time: 3 hr 30 min The bus from Macheon to Chuseong runs at an interval of 30 minutes for a ten-minute ride. There are frequent buses found for Hamyang from Dongseoul Bus Terminal and Seoul Nambu Bus Terminal as well as Busan, Daejeon, Jeonju, and Namwon.
  • Hamyang Bus Terminal – Chuseong Parking Lot
  • The bus runs at an interval of 30 minutes from 07:00 to 18:30.
    Travel Time: 1 hr Fare: KRW 3,900
  • Hamyang Bus Terminal: +82-55-963-3745
1day,Geumgye Village and Uitan Village Every road or trail leading to Chilseon Valley passes through Geumgye Village. It's where the Inwol-Geumgye section – the most popular part of Jirisan Dulle-gil – ends and the Geumgye-Donggang section starts. On the opposite side of the village, you'll see the ridge of Jirisan Mountain that leads to Cheonwangbong and Nogodan Peaks. Eomcheongang River flows in front of the village, with a bridge called Uitangyo stretched over it. There used to be a suspension bridge, but it was swept away in the flood of July 1984, along with six local villagers. Many of the locals still remember the flood and the victims whenever they see this bridge.

Uitan Village is on the opposite side of this bridge. The village is situated right below Chilseon Valley. The village was named after 'Uitanso' where they used to make charcoal since the time of the Goryeo Dynasty. If you have passed through Geumgye and then Uitan, that means you have almost reached Chilseon Valley. The road you have taken is the same one taken by a historical figure named Kim Jong-jik some 600 years ago when he was heading to Cheonwangbong Peak. In his book titled 'Yuduryurok', he wrote: "This place will be better than heaven on earth if you bring chickens and dogs to this place, cultivate the land with a bull or cow, and plant cereal grains. I want to stay here for good." This passage shows how he loved this village for its beauty.

After Uitan Village, there is Chuseong Village. This village serves as a base camp for those hiking up to Chilseon Valley. For this reason, just about every household in this village offers lodging and food to visitors as a motel and/or restaurant.
1day,Chilseon ValleyChilseon Valley is the most popularly known valley in Jirisan Mountain. Along with Cheonbuldong Valley in Seoraksan Mountain and Tamna Valley in Hallasan Mountain, Chilseon Valley in Jirisan Mountain is regarded as one of the three most beautiful valleys in South Korea for its depth and size. A few years ago, a newspaper did a survey of travel experts and asked them which are the three most outstanding features of Jirisan Mountain, and most of them answered Cheonwangbong Peak as the apex of the hike, Hwaeomsa Temple as the most important cultural heritage, and Chilseon Valley as the most beautiful site. With this, they added more credibility to their reputation, and made Chilseon Valley a must-visit place for mountain lovers. However, it's not easy climbing the valley. The reason being is that the valley is not only a long stretch of rough terrain, but also because they control access to the place at Seonyudam located halfway to the destination. The trail to the valley is very steep. But once you reach the top of the hill, you'll get to enjoy a panoramic view of the valley. Walk a little further on the even terrain, and you'll reach Duji Village – the only place you can dine in the valley. It can hardly be called a village since there are only two households in total. You can still dine there and buy some snacks and drink. The valley trail is rough from this point on, all the way up to Seonnyeotang. There is an interesting story about Seonnyeotang. A legend has it that seven fairies descended from the heavens to take a bath in this place. A bear saw them, took their clothes, and hung them on a branch. But the branch turned out to be the horn of a deer. After a bath, the fairies searched all over the place for their clothes, and when the deer saw them in this awkward situation, he delivered the clothes to them. The fairies could finally return home in the heavens.
After the incident, the fairies paid the deer for its kindness by letting it live in Chilseon Valley, and drove the bear out to a nearby valley called Gukgol.
If you climb a little more from Seonnyeotang, you'll find a long stretch of forest path from Ongnyeotang to Biseondam. The round trip to Biseondam Pond takes a total of five hours.
Chuseong Village will look like a different place altogether if you see it on your way back down from Chilseon Valley. It won't be a bad idea to spend the night there and enjoy the silence of the mountain village.
  • Travel Tip
  • How to hike Chilseon Valley
  • To pass through Biseondam Pond and reach Cheonwangbong Peak, you must first submit a request to the Korea National Park Service in advance. After your request is approved, a professional guide from the Korea National Park Service will help you throughout your hiking trip.
    Hiking Schedule: Hike Up: 07:00, Monday & Tuesday. Hike Down: 07:00, Tuesday & Friday.
    Inquiries: Jirisan Mountain Hiking Facilities Office
    Tel: +82-55-972-7771
  • Lodging in Chuseong Village
  • Chuseong Village consists of a little over 60 households, and about 40 of them are pensions and inns.
    Inquiries & Reservation: Chuseong Sancheon Eco Village +82-55-964-5006
2day,Byeoksongsa Temple At the start of the forked road in front of Chuseong Village, take the one to your right if you want to go to Byeoksongsa Temple. The road is wide enough for cars to pass through, so you can take your car to the temple if you want. Despite its looks, Byeoksongsa Temple has a long history. It's where a number of Buddhist monks attained enlightenment a long time ago; two of them being Seosan and Samyeong, two of the most well-known and respected Buddhist monks in Korea who organized an army to fight against the invading Japanese during the Japanese Invasion of Korea in 1592. More recently, another famous monk named Gyeongheo meditated and trained here. In addition to them, the founders of both the Seosan Sect and Buhyu Sect trained here in Byeoksongsa. Most of the Seon monks during the Joseon Dynasty belonged to these two sects. As you can see, numerous monks have attained their enlightenment at Byeoksongsa Temple. Some exaggeratingly say that "you can attain enlightenment just by holding on to the door knob of a room at Byeoksongsa Temple."

The first thing you'll notice are a pair of totem poles standing on either side of the entrance. They're the oldest totem poles in Korea. They're old and unique in shape, but what makes them stand out from the rest of the totem poles is the fact that the totem poles appearing in the Story of Byeongangsoe were designed after these two. The Story of Byeongangsoe is one of the 12 pansori pieces and the most obscene of them all. This makes them look even more odd.

Daeungjeon Hall, or the main building of the temple housing Buddha statues, of the temple is very small, and it looks more like an ordinary traditional residence of a yangban, the Korean noble class. Right after the Korean War, the communist partisans used this temple as their military hospital, and Daeungjeon as their headquarter. Right behind the temple, there are two pine trees without any small branches on them. They also have a name: The thin and curvy one is called 'Miinsong,' or a beauty's pine, and the thicker straight one is called 'Doinsong,' or an ascetic's pine, in Korean. There is a folk legend that says you'll become healthy if you pray to Doinsong and beautiful if you pray to Miinsong, and the pine trees mentioned in the legend are none other than these two. The original Daeungjeon used to be situated at the empty lot where the two pine trees stand today, but the sight is now occupied only by a three-story stone pagoda. If you look down in front of Miinsong, and you'll have a great view of the temple and its natural surroundings, including Chuseong Village and Chilseon Valley.
2day,Seoamjeongsa Temple After coming out of Byeoksongsa Temple, climb the straight hill at the forked road in front of the public parking lot, and you'll soon reach Seoamjeongsa Temple. It's located only about 500m from Byeoksongsa Temple. Unlike other temples, Seoamjeongsa Temple is famous for Buddha images engraved on a rock just like the ones at Seokguram Grotto. Just about every rock around the place is engraved with Buddha. There are two large rocks in the middles of the hill as if to serve as a gate. If you go further inside, you'll see a narrow path between rocks on your right, with the rocks engraved with large images of the Four Heavenly Kings. Pass through the narrow tunnel between the rocks, and you'll see the Daeungjeon and Geungnakjeon right next to it. It's the highlight of the temple. On the walls and ceiling, you'll see a countless number of Buddha images carved on the surface. It's the only place in South Korea where you can see so many Buddha images at once. Records show that it took them 12 years to dig into the rock and engrave the Buddha images on the surfaces. It's hard to believe unless you see them for yourself. In addition to the cave hall, another thing you don't want to miss is the Exhibition Hall on the lower floor of Daeungjeon, in which the Avatamsaka Sutra in Gold is displayed. To reach the place, climb down the hill on the side of Beomjonggak, or the bell pavilion, right next to the cliff. Avatamsaka Sutra, or the Flower Adornment Sutra kept at this temple is identical to the one inscribed on the Tripitaka Koreana with over eighty thousand blocks. The only difference is that the words are written with gold powder. The sutra is consisted of more than 80 books in total.
Records have it that it was hand-written by Seon Master Woneung, the founder of Seoamjeongsa Temple. The books are displayed there for everyone to see and copy. Copying a sutra is called 'sagyeong' in Korean Buddhism, and it's regarded as a form of Buddhist practice such as Seon meditation and bowing before the Buddha repeated times. After taking a look around Seoamjeongsa Temple, come down from the mountain on one of the trails of Dulle-gil that leads to Geumgye. There, you can choose to go to Geumgye or Macheon instead of going directly to Hamyang. You may also choose to take a bus bound for Macheon at the campsite of Chilseon Valley or in front of Chuam Villa.
2day,Geumdaeam Hermitage If you climb the hill from Macheon-myeon to Inwol for a little while, you'll see a large sign stone saying 'Jiri Bangjang Jeil Geumdae,' literally meaning 'the most auspicious site in the Jirisan area'. Follow and stay on the trail for about 30 minutes, and you'll reach Geumdaeam Hermitage. The place is also called "Geumdae Jiri", one of the Eight Scenic Views of Hamyang. It's the vantage point in the area for Geumdaeam and Jirisan Mountain. There you can have a panoramic view of Cheonwangbong and Goribong Peaks. Despite its small size, the hermitage is more than 1,000 years old. Records show that it was built during the reign of King Taejong of the Silla Dynasty, and it's where the famous Buddhist monk Seosan trained by going back and forth from Byeoksongsa Temple nearby.

There is also the record showing that Kim Jong-jik left a line of poetry in the early Joseon Dynasty. In addition to these, there are numerous records showing that it's the best place to meditate among the ones at the foot of Jirisan Mountain. Right in front of the temple you will see a very tall tree with a sign saying that it's the oldest and tallest fir tree in South Korea.
  • Other Tourist Nearby
  • From Macheon, take a bus bound for Inwol and get off in front of Silsangsa Temple for a look around the temple, or take a tour of Sanghwang Village famous for terraced rice paddies. You may also choose to cross the Jirisan Mountain ridge on the Dulle-gil trail stretched between Junghang Village and Inwol.