Originally built in 678, Beomeosa (like most of the temples in Korea) was destroyed during the Japanese Imjin Waeran invasion in 1592. Renovated in 1713, it is a wonderful example of mid-Joseon Dynasty temple architecture. The name Beomeosa means "fish of the Buddhist scripture temple." Located at the edge of Geumjeongsan and amid a wisteria grove that blooms each May, it is Busan's most famous temple, and it feels very far away from the modern city. Originally part of the Hwaeom sect, which believes in all-encompassing harmony, the temple is now administered by the Chongye order of the Seon (or Zen) sect of Korean Buddhism. Several dozen monks live here, and more live in 11 adjacent hermitages.

The Beomeosa complex consists of a main hall, which houses the Seokgamoni Buddha and two bodhisattvas; a bell/drum pavilion (with a three-story pagoda and a lantern dating from the Shilla Dynasty); seven royal palace wings; and three gates. The main hall was rebuilt in 1614 -- look for the dragon's heads carved into its rafters. To the left of the hall is a building that's split into three sections. The first section features murals depicting the eight major scenes from the Buddha's life. Another section is dedicated to the Lonely Arhat, a Buddha saint who attains liberation from the cycle of birth and death, generally by leading a hermetic, monastic lifestyle. The third is filled with statues of Buddha's disciples.

This is a great place to do a temple stay, offering a small glimpse into the lives of the monks who live here.