660, Sallokbuk-ro, Jeju-si, Jeju-do View map
Gwaneumsa Temple is located at the foot of the northeast side of Mt. Halla in Ara-dong in Jeju City. The temple is widely believed to have been first built during the Tamra Dynasty Era (BC 476~AD 1005), which was prior to the Goryeo Dynasty (AD 918~1392). However, there is no concrete evidence suggesting the exact year of construction or the temple’s original builder. In the early 1700s, when leaders of the Joseon Dynasty proclaimed Confucianism as the national religion and executed a policy to destroy all the Buddhist temples in the Jeju area, Gwaneumsa Temple was demolished. It was rebuilt in 1912 by a Buddhist nun, Anbongryeokwan, and renovated in 1964.
The temple consists of the main shrine, Myeongbujeong Hall, a bell tower, Sanshingak Pavilion, and Bulimun Gate. There is also a Buddhist school run by the Gwaneumsa Temple located in downtown Jeju.
There are many tourist spots near the temple such as a wooden seated Buddhist goddess statue that was designated a tangible cultural asset of Jeju-do in 1999. Other popular destinations include Jeju Natural Monument No. 50, a cherry blossom tree habitat, and the nearby “4.3 Historic Site” commemorating the civil revolution many years ago on April 3rd.
Also located close to the temple are the Mokseokwan Arboretum, Sancheondan, Halla Mountain, Uerimok Valley, Tamra Valley, and Gewaloreum Hill. The steep trail leading up the side of Halla Mountain, “Gwaneumsa Trail,” is particularly popular for its colorful fall foliage and its breathtaking scenery of endless gorges.