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Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Mount Soyo, Dongducheon, Gyeonggi Province: A Mountain which is Dedicated to two Great Monks during Unified Silla Period


Mount Soyo (Hanja: 逍遙山) on the outskirts of Dongducheon City, Gyeonggi Province is the most treasured mountain north of the Han River. Although it is relatively small, only standing 587m (1,926 ft) tall, covered by a lush forest, and dotted by waterfalls and peaks. It is located in the administrative precinct of Soyo-dong.

On the slopes of Mount Soyo rest shrines commemorating Wonhyo and Uisang, two renowned Buddhist monks from the Silla Kingdom, and the Jajae Hermitage, a small temple where Wonhyo practiced asceticism. There are many small waterfalls including Wonhyo Falls, Uisang Falls, Cheongnyang Falls, and Seonnyeotang Falls, which are popular destinations for visitors in the summer. Although Nahanjeon, a natural stone cave, and Geumsonggul Cave, halfway up the mountain, still maintain an air of mystery. 

Moving from the base of the mountain, past the parking lot and shops, and following the flat path, you will find Jajae Hermitage; and, after going a bit further, you will find Wonhyo Falls cascading down between the rocky cliffs. Below the fall is Songni Bridge, which leads straight to the Uisangdae site (587m) at the top of the mountain. The left path off of the bridge leads to a cliff that is the Wonhyodae site; and by following a forest path between rising rock walls, you can trek to the Jajae Hermitage, next to which is a small cave called Nahanjeon. Very tasty spring water wells in the cave and it is called Wonhyo Spring, and its waters are famous for making excellent tea.

The mountain is accessible by using KORAIL-Seoul Metro Line 1 to the Northern Terminus of the Line which is Station 100: Soyosan Station.