‘Ome autumn leaves are here’ A taste of Namdo enjoyed in Gangjin


A verse of poetry came along with the cool breeze of autumn. The sensibility of autumn was expressed with this single line, ‘Ome, autumn leaves,’ by Yeongrang, a poet born in Gangjin.
This time, we introduce Gangjin to those who want a healing trip, including the birthplace of poet Yeongrang, Wolchulsan.

Wolchulsan / Gangjin-gun

A sense of freedom proportional to the distance

Gangjin-gun, located in Jeollanam-do, takes about 4 hours 30 minutes to 5 hours from Seoul. It’s a very distant place. However, the greater the distance, the greater the sense of freedom from everyday life. The Gangjin tour starts from Wolchulsan, the Sogeumgang River in Honam, which spans both Yeongam and Gangjin. It is often called Yeongam Wolchulsan, but the northern part of Wolchulsan is Yeongam-gun and the southern part is Gangjin-gun. The tour of Wolchulsan, which starts in Gangjin, starts at the ‘Gyeongpodae Trail’. Gyeongpodae is the name of the valley under Wolchulsan (as of October 15th, no entry due to Corona 19), and it is a valley that flows coolly for 2km to the south from Cheonhwangbong and Gujeongbong. You can enter Wolchulsan by following the trail past Gyeongpodae.

Also worth a visit is the Muwisa Temple, nestled below Wolchulsan. As a temple that is over 1,000 years old, it has a majestic yet elegant charm. When you climb Iljumun, the temple spreads like a fan, revealing its majestic appearance. In Geuknakbojeon, there are Geuknakjeon, National Treasure No. 13, and the Monument to the Pyramid of Seongak, designated as Treasure No. 507. Behind the three Buddha statues, there are Buddhist paintings such as the mural painting of the Three Zones of the Amitabha Nyorai (National Treasure No. 313), the Seated Amitabha Buddha (Treasure No. 1314), and the mural painting on all sides of the wall (Treasure No. 1315).

After Muwisa, we head to Baekundongwonrim. The road leading to the garden is 1.5 km long, and green tea fields are spread out. Baekundong Garden is a traditional garden that tells the culture of the retreat of scholars in the mid-Joseon period. With Wolchulsan in the background, the naturalness of the topography was maximized. In addition, if you go through the forest road where more than 10,000 bamboo trees stand like a soldier, you will find the secret garden ‘Baekundong Byeolseo Garden’. Although the size of the garden is not large, the comfortable scenery provides peace of mind. How about taking a quick trip to Gangjin, which embraces the plains, mountains and seas this fall?

Green tea fields I met on the way to Baekun-dong Garden / Gangjin-gun

travel in everyday life

From Baekun-dong Garden at the northern tip of Gangjin, we descend to Gangjin-eup, the living area, and continue our journey. The birthplace of poet Yeong-rang greets tourists right behind Gangjin-gun Office. In Yeongrang’s birthplace, there is a portrait of Kim Yun-sik, and a peony tree, which the poet must have thought of an award after seeing it, is rustically facing each other. The current birthplace was purchased by Gangjin-gun in 1985, and the anchae and Sarangchae have been restored and managed to close to their original shape. If you go up the stairs behind the house of birth, you can meet the Peony Park, where peonies from all over the world are gathered. There is a small artificial waterfall and promenade, giving it a cozy feel. Peony Park is a hidden attraction known only to locals, and it is worth visiting with the birthplace. Additionally, there is a tourist information center between the county office and Yeongrang’s birthplace, where you can get various information.

Yeongrang Birthplace Ginkgo / Gangjin-gun

Sajae is 300m away from Yeongrang’s birthplace. Sajae is the inn where Dasan Jeong Yak-yong stayed for four years when he was exiled to Gangjin. There was no place to accept them because of their exile, but Dasan named the place where they temporarily stayed with the consideration of the mother and daughter of the inn as ‘Sajae’. Sajae means a room that must be protected by four things, and it means clear thoughts, a solemn appearance, reticent speech, and prudent actions. In 2007, in Gangjin-gun, the property was restored to the old site of Dongseong-ri, Gangjin-eup, and now it is operated as a hanok experience center with 9 rooms. In addition, the Dongmun Inn in Sajae sells Dasan Jeongsik (24,000 won for two people), which consists of mallow soup and clam jeon, which Dasan enjoyed.

Now the trip is coming to an end. I go to see Baekryeonsa Temple, Dasan Chodang, and Dasan Relics Exhibition Hall at once. At Dasan Chodang, a cultural commentator wears a jade colored hanbok, talks about the tea Dasan enjoyed, and delivers a cup of green tea. The tea experience is available from 1 pm to 5 pm until the end of October, and you can drink as much as you want for a 1,000 won experience fee.

Dasan Chodang / Gangjin-gun

Meanwhile, changes have also occurred in Gau-do, which attracts the most tourists in Gangjin. Travel convenience was improved by opening a monorail for the transportation vulnerable, and 3,200 tourists visited it during the Chuseok holiday alone. In particular, Gaudo is the only inhabited island among the eight islands belonging to Gangjin, and you can experience all three bridges on land, zip track, and marine sports. While trekking along the island, you can feel the rich taste and hospitality of Namdo at a restaurant run by island residents.

Gaudo Monorail / Gangjin-gun

Source = Kang Jin-gun, Arrangement = Reporter Lee Seong-gyun [email protected]

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