Yongjoo Temple is recognized as the temple of “filial piety”. This characteristic dates back to the days of King Jeongjo. Suwon city, also, pays much homage to him. In 1790, he re-constructed Yongjoosa in honor of his late father, Prince Sado. The tale explains that the name “yong joo” (Dragon Jewel) came to King Jeongjo in a dream before a memorial ceremony to his father. Many Korean children visit the temple with their parents and they are taught about paying proper respect to their parents and ancestors. It is also a temple where guests may experience the Korean Templestay Program.
Departing the bus from Byeongjeom Station (병점역) to Yongjoosa, you’ll be presented with two directions. On the left hand side of the street, you’ll find a parking lot and large building. This is the area to sign-up and participate in the Templestay Program, where guests can experience the monastic temple culture. On the right- hand side is Yongjoosa.
The first building is the Cheonwangmun (사천왕문), or the Gate of the Four Heavenly Kings. These are some of my favorite examples of the Four Kings. All of them have wide bulbous faces and a menacing presence. Although set behind by a fence, they are about 4 feet away, magnificently detailed and easy to photograph.