December, 2010

This page is written monthly
by Harumi Okochi.
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Ancient Korea

Hello, friends.
This month again is a photo journal by my husband Den Okochi about his recent trip to Korea.
He often goes to Korea, say, 4 or 5 times a year. but this time's trip was a very special one.
Please enjoy visiting old places of Korea.

Trip to Korea, October, 2010
Den Okochi

 Nearly hundred times I have visited Korea, but still there are many unknown places there. This time I have asked friends of here and there in Korea to let me see these special places. Highways have developed so rapidly, and in short time I could see many spots.
October 15
Bongwon-sa Temple

In Seoul, Founded in 889 and moved to the present place in 1784.
Mr. Lee HanSeok, President of International Communication, took me to this temple. Monk Sunam, who has visited Yoyokaku before, showed us round. Monk Sunam is a famous photographer, and he specially takes pictures of lotus flowers. In this temple, a ritual called Yeongsanjae Ceremony is annually held. I wish I could see the ceremony someday.

Main temple
Side temple

Monk Sunam and Mr. Lee
October 16
Sudok-sa Temple

Built in 599. The Main Temple, founded in 1308, is a National Treasure, and is one of the oldest wooden buildings in Korea.
This day, our Korean son Kim DaeYeong gave me a ride, and we visited his family living in Tangjing before coming to this temple.

DaeYeoung's family
Sudok-sa Gate
Main Temple(side)

View around the temple
Kyesim-sa Temple
Daeyeoung and I went to the next temple. From the parking area to the Gate of Kyesim-sa it is not so far, but alongside the street, there was a market selling mushrooms, etc. After the Gate, we have to climb the stairs, but those stairs were damaged by heavy rains, and it was not easy to go up. Then a pond appeared, which parts this world and that. A big tree is used as bridge, and we crossed it. This temple was founded in 654, and renovated in 1350. The natural curves of the chambers of the buildings were very impressive.
Market before the Gate
Pond between this world and that
Bell Tower
Natural curves of chambers are impressive.
This building is under renovation.

Bell Tower and the Main Temple
Gongju City
Friends in Gongju City called me often and hurried me to come to Gongju. History tells that the 25th King of Baekche was born in Japan, on an small island of Karatsu. So for many years, there is a friendship between these two cities. I was welcomed warmly, and stayed two nights with Mr. Song SeokRin, Chairman of Gongju City Tourism Conference.

After the dinner, with the friends of Gongju City.

Breakfast at Mr. Song's house.
Mrs. Song teaches cooking in Seoul.

October 17
Tonghak-sa Temple

Gongju-City held a big festival "The Great Baekche Festival" this year. I could not attend the opening ceremony one month before, so I was here today to see the closing ceremony. The ceremony starts in the evening, so Mr. Song took me to the suburbs to see Tonghak-sa Temple.
This temple was founded in 724, and nuns study Buddhism here. Long way from the parking to the temple is a pheasant road with colored leaves. Since this was Sunday, many people were enjoying hillside walks.Along the valley, there are many small restaurants, where guests take rest after walking.

Riverside pass
Mr. Song and I
Nuns going into the study.

Around the Temple
Yeongpyong-sa Temple
I wanted to eat Lotus Rice, so Mr. Song took me to this temple. This temple is a newly founded one, but many people visit here. A kind of chrysanthemum is full in bloom on the slopes of the hill, and some kind of food is offered to the guests. I enjoyed the lotus rice and the lotus tea. You can stay in this temple too.
Lotus rice
We eat the rice with the lotus leaf.
The master Monk offered us lotus tea.
Pots of Doenjang and Kanjang(both soybean product)
Full in bloom

Main Temple
Baekje Festival closing Ceremony
The Festival continued for one month. I could not come to see the Opening Ceremony, but somehow I managed to see this closing ceremony. It was an interesting ceremony.
The site
The stage
Bridge illuminations

Doll lanterns
October 18
Ursan Onggi EXPO and Yangdong

Mr. and Mrs Choi came to pick me up at East Gongju Highway gate, and we went to Ursan. Takashi Nakazato, the world-renowned potter of Karatsu, who participated in this Expo was off today, so we all went to Yangdong Village (a UNESCO world heritage). This village is separated by a street into two parts, in each part the Lee families and the Son Families live. We were invited by a Lee family, and we were pleased with a bowl of lotus tea.
Onggi EXPO Gate
Takashi Nakazato presentation
Mr. Lee(3rd from left)
Takashi(3rd from right)
Mr. and Mrs. Choi(both sides)

Storehouse of the Lees
300 old building
October 19
Seosengbo Japanese Castle Ruin

Mr. and Mrs. Choi planned to let me see a Japanese castle ruin in Ursang.
Seosengbo Castle was built in 1593 by Kiyomasa Kato, a Japanese lord., at the time of Japanese invasion. This is the biggest among the Japanese castles made at that time. After the invasion, this castle was used by Korean Navy for 300 years.
The whole site of the castle
Old stone walls
Top of the castle

The east sea seen from the castle
We visited Mr. Pak YongHae in Daegu City, and there we parted with Mr. and Mrs. Choi.
Mr. and Mrs. Pak brought me to Mungyong to see a kiln. The 8th generation of Chosen Kiln, Mr. Kim YeongSik let us see an old kiln which was long used until his father's time.Togo Kobayshi, a famous Japanese potter, worked here for ten years. Mr. Kim was invited and came to Saga Prefecture two years ago as a potter of Japan-Korea pottery exchange program. Mrs. Kim offered us tea using Mr. Kim's tea bowls. Mungyong is surrounded with mountains, so night was early. It was dark after 6 o'clock, and we came back to Daegu at eight, and stayed with Mr. Pak.
The old Kiln which was used until his father's time.
Mr. Kim YeongSik
The left cottage
Step mill which makes the clay fine
Mrs. Kim gave us tea.
October 20

8 o'clock in the morning. We left for Andong, which is another UNESCO world Heritage. We visited Andong Art Museum, where, we met two artist who were showing their works then. Mr. Chang, and Mr. Shin are both Mr. Pak's friends. Mr. Shin is from this Andong town, and has been painting the beautiful Andong always. He knows the most beautiful spots of this place, so he guided us. From the height of Buyongdae, Hahoe Folk Village is seen quite well, but the road to the height was a thrilling way. Small pass on the cliff. On the top of this height, we found an old house, and the owner Mr. Ryu invited us to come into his house.
At Andong art Museum
from the right, Mr. Pak, Mr. Chang, me, and Mr. Shin
To climb the Buyeongdae,through this left gate, we selected to go along the cliff pass.
The right-hand small passage of the pine tree leads to the cliff pass.
Hahoe Folk Village is reflected on the rounding river in the mist.
We went for 15 minutes along this narrow cliff pass looking down the amazing view of Hahoe Village and the river.
We found a house on top of this height. Maybe one of the Ryu families, renowned and long thriving in Andong.

From the guest room of this house, we looked down at Hahoe Village.
Next, we went to Boensang Study. In 1613, Ryu SeongYeong built this house to study here. In front of this room, we see rocks of the mountain, which is like a folding screen.
From the study
Also the study buildings

The gate
Mr. and Mrs. Pak (both sides)
Mr. Shin and I in between
 I feel that Korea is trying at the same time to maintain ancient things and to develop new things. Highways are quite progressed, but from the way, we do not see many modern things. Only fields and mountains.
My love of Korea is now too deep to give up. One hour after coming back from Korea, I find myself to be yearning to go there again.


How did you enjoy Den's trip this time?
I am sorry that I could not go together. I have two dear old ones to take care of. But someday, I will go. I will see these beautiful ancient Korea.
Thank you for your company, and I hope to see you again next month.
I wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new year!

Thank you very much for visiting this page.
I hope you will return next month.
Yours, Harumi Okochi
Proprietress of

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