Saseongam Hermitage [사성암]

The King: Eternal Monarch (2020); Moon Lovers (2016); Chuno (2010); The Land (2004)

Lee Lim (Lee Jung-Jin), murderer of the King and traitor to the Kingdom of Corea, hides out in this historic Buddhist temple in The King: Eternal Monarch (더킹:영원의 군주) (SBS, 2020) while he plots the violence that will place him on the throne. He is shown in episode 2 painting dancheong (the traditional vivid Korean decorative designs) on the Temple’s wooden surfaces, as he gives instructions to his henchman.

This temple appears as the hideout of the group of people who planned to assassinate Crown Prince Wang Mu (Kim San-ho) and Prince Wang So (Lee Joon-ki) takes revenge on them in episode 3 of Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo (달의 연인-보보경심 려) (SBS, 2016) and leaves the temple behind him in flames.

In episode 4 of Chuno/The Slave Hunters (추노) (KBS2, 2010), Kim Hye-won (Lee Da-hae) comes to this temple to honor the dead; i.e. her beloved Lee Dae-gil (Jang Hyuk). Song Tae-ha (Oh Ji-ho) crosses her path here the next morning and later comes to rescue her from two men who try to kidnap her.

Also seen in The Land/Toji (토지) (SBS, 2004) as a place to which Gil-sang (Yoo Jun-sang) comes at least two times.

* * *

Saseongam Hermitage [사성암 or in full: 구례 오산 사성암 일원/求禮 鼇山 四聖庵 一圓] is located on the granite cliffs and summit of Mt Osan, in the foothills of Mt Jirisan. It is also known as The Hermitage of the Four Saints, referring to the four head monks who lived and studied here, and practiced asceticism (renunciation of worldly pleasures to achieve a high spiritual state of being). It was founded during the rule of King Seong of Baekje in 544 CE, who was a great patron of Buddhism in Korea. The main hall houses a rock-carved Buddha, which is said to have been carved by the monk Wonhyo using his fingernails. The views from the Hermitage are said to be spectacular, especially at sunset.

On February 29, 1984, it was designated as Jeollanam-do’s cultural property data No. 33, and on August 28, 2014, it was promoted to Korea’s No. 111 scenic spot.

The herimitage is located in the village of Jukma [Jukma-ri/죽마리] in Gurye County’s Muncheok Township [Muncheok-myeon/문척면]. Gurye is approximately 3 hours 15 mins from Seoul by KTX high speed train, or 5-6 hours by bus via Gwangju.

303 Saseongam-gil, Muncheok-myeon, Gurye-gun, Jeollanam-do, South Korea
전남 구례군 문척면 사성암길 303
(문척면 죽마리 산 7-1)
Geolocation: 35.180003, 127.480595

Getting here
Gurye Bus Terminal [구례공영버스터미널]
Take the local bus Gurye-Donghae (Donghae) (구례-동해 (동해)) to Saseongam Hermitage Bus Stop [사성암정]
There is a shuttle bus from the car park to the Hermitage.
Guryegu Station [구례구역], Jeolla Line
Take a taxi to the base of Mt Osan.

— submitted by sarahms
Chuno and details for Moon Lovers added by Marion KDL

4 reviews

  1. Gil-sang

    Small correction + FYI for “The Land”

    As a servant, Gil-sang had no surname to begin with, but when their group fled Joseon (away from the cholera epidemic & Jo Jun-gu (Kim Gap-soo)), he first adopted the common surname “Kim”

    When they settled down at Jiandao (modern-day Yanbian (“Yeonbyeon” in Korean); Koreans avoid using Jiandao/Gando due to Imperialist Japanese overtones) and married Choi Seo-hee for their safety, Gil-sang was written in the family register with the surname “Choi” to preserve the family line of his erstwhile masters.

    1. Many thanks, Lr, for the explanations and details. It should be fine like I adapted it (without surname) now.

  2. The Land

    oh, I thought “The Land” wasn’t included, because that drama was where I first saw this very unique mountainside hermitage…

    Back when Arirang TV aired English-subbed reruns of mostly past historical dramas (and not too focused on K-Pop & business topics), this was one of the last (alongside snippets of “King and I” & “Super Rookie”) I was able to watch (though not fully).

    The only scenes I could remember that were shot here were:
    -Gil-sang (Yoo Jun-sang) doing a Buddhist painting for the main altar as a sort of vow I think, and
    -Gil-sang being led by Imperial Japanese soldiers for his activities in support of the independence movement (to be incarcerated in the notorious Seodaemun Prison)

    1. Thank you, Lr, for these details! Some older dramas are fortunately reappearing on a few streaming sites so fingers crossed you can watch this drama again.

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