songjeong beach and yonggungsa temple

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i’ve been wanting to go to the beach temple since the week i got here. last week, i finally made my way out there. there was just too much wonderful stuff there to even photograph it all, not to mention everything that can’t go in a photo — the smells of the incense everywhere, the cooking bean paste cakes, the steaming pots of tiny sea snails and silkworm larvae that they served for snacks. missing, too, is the sound of buddhist chanting and wooden sticks clanking, the sea pounding the cliffs on which the temple’s situated. still, i did my best.

on the way there, we tramped around the cliffs. found a rotting pigs head covered in maggots. heard it was a chuseok offering. i didn’t take a picture because… who wants to look at a fetid, infested pig’s head?

ben the adventurer did all this and more in flip flops. that’s what happens, i suppose, when you spend your whole childhood barefoot in the forests of alabama.

bean paste-filled goodies.

is it Zen to sell mad buddha and happy pig trinkets?

there were these awesomely noble statues of the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac. some lady went up to each one in turn and kind of petted them all. most people jut left coins in clever places all over them.

buddhas by the beach.

on the bridge, folks were throwing coins, trying to land them in some basins strewn among these pools, while this ajima picked them up.


people brought their own buddha statues to add to this collection.

kids lined up to douse this buddha.

the temple doesn’t open until 4 pm, so you can catch the golden hour when the clouds turn pink.

the temple was fancy.

if i understand correctly, the cards on these lanterns have prayers written on them.

not sure what the thousand tiny buddhas are for…

sweet lord, do these people love taking pictures of themselves.

ben and the goddess of mercy.

gold spray paint?

the sun went down. the moon came out. it was beautiful.



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