Introduction to Busan
The city of Busan, which is Korea’s second most populated city after Seoul, has a population of some 3.468 million people. Formerly, the city’s name was romanized as Pusan until 2000. The city’s name has been Busan since the 15th century; but during Japanese Colonization (1910-1945), it was known as Fuzan. Busan means “Cauldron Mountain” in English
Busan is located on the southeastern tip of the Korean Peninsula along the coast, which helped to determine the overall physical make-up of the city. In total, Busan is divided into fifteen major administrative districts known as “gu” in Korean and one county, which is known as a “gun.” Busan is located 314 kilometres to the south of the capital of Seoul. To the north and west, Busan is bordered by mountains. And to the south and east, you’ll find that the city’s boundaries run up against the neighbouring sea. The most densely built-up areas of the city are located between the narrow valleys. More specifically, the Nakdong River is located on the west side of the city running up against Gimhae, Gyeongsangnam-do. And to the north, the dominating feature is Mt. Geumjeongsan (802 m), which is also the city’s highest mountain. It’s also to the north that the city runs up against Yangsan and more of Gyeongsangnam-do. Also, and beyond Yangsan to the north lies the city of Ulsan, which is Korea’s eighth largest city.
Economically, Busan is the centre for commerce in the southeast portion of the country with a variety of industry that includes import and export, tourism, and cultural events like the Busan International Film Festival. The port of Busan is the busiest in Korea, and it’s the sixth busiest in the world. And if you include the city of Ulsan and the province of Gyeongsangnam-do, which is known as the “Southeast Economic Zone,” it’s Korea’s largest industrial area.
Busan is known as the summer capital of Korea because of its location and tourist attractions that include six beaches like Haeundae, Gwangalli, Dadaepo and Songdo. Of the six, Haeundae is the country’s largest and most famous. In August, the average temperature in Busan is 26.1 degrees. And in January, the average temperature is a very reasonable 3.6 degrees with snow being a rarity during the winter months.
Religiously, the majority of people from Busan are irreligious at 53.2%. However, this number includes the more traditional forms of Confucianism, shamanism, and Buddhism, for which the majority take as their inherited religious past and customs. The next largest group is Buddhists at 28.5%, followed by Christianity at 17.5% with a split of 12% being Protestant and the other 5.4% being Catholics.
Now, as for the Korean Buddhist temples of Busan, it is rich and varying. The largest and most historic is Beomeosa Temple in Geumjeong-gu. Other more prominent Buddhist temples are Samgwangsa Temple in Busanjin-gu, Seokbulsa Temple in Buk-gu, and Haedong Yonggungsa Temple in Gijang-gun. But the narrow valleys and towering mountains are dotted with these beautiful religious sites at every turn and should be enjoyed to the fullest. The list below is but a handful of these amazing Buddhist temples of Busan.