The Korean’s Bucket list, the Maisan Mountain Provincial Park in South Korea(마이산 도립공원)

The Maisan mountain (Horse Ear mountain; 마이산) 
The top two peaks rise side by side, which connected each other, so looks like the ears of horse, and thus people said this mountain as the name of Mai(Horse ear) -san(mt.).  The two ears are called each by Sutmaibong(means male horse ear peak (678 m)) and a Ammaibong (means female horse ear peak (686 m)). 
After we visited the Hanok village in Jeonju(전주한옥마을) we headed to the Maisan temple on the next day. It was apart around one hour from Jeonju city by car.This mountain is located in Jinan-gun, Jeonllabukdo province(전라북도) which is a province in the southwest of South Korea.
The Maisan Tapsa( temple)
This mountain was formed of conglomerates which looks like gray pebbles hardened in cement , very unusual case in Korea, was supposed to be rise up from the lake or river 70 million years ago which proved by the fish fossils and shells they left behind in the rocks. In addition, on the south side of the mountain it shows very unique features called by ‘tafoni' which  having honeycomb structure, small cave-like features found in granular rocks and forming by salt weathering, differential cementation, wetting-drying, freezing-thawing cycles and so on. The holes are sized for few centimeters up to some meters. Yes, that' right. Nobody could make the holes like on the wall of gigantic rocks. What a amazing nature ! 
 There is a myth about these two peaks from long long time ago. There was a couple gods had been come down by the punishment from the heaven. They had two children and lived on earth in a while waiting for going back up to the sky. Eventually as the time had come to rise up to the sky, they were ordered to rise up to sky without reaching the public eyes. But just as the moment to going back up to the sky, a village woman saw they were ascending and screamed out enough to reach to the sky. As this reason  they were trapped on earth and transformed into a mountain having the shape of face-to-face two rocks. Many people said that one is the father and his two children peaks (Sutmaibong,male peak) and the opposite one is the mother peak (Ammaibong,female peak). 
Fortunately on the day before I visited there, it snowed. How lucky I was! I put a steps as slow as I can on the snowy path while enjoying the snow-covered scenic beauty. The road from the parking lot to the foot of this mountain, I was told, shows spectacular scenes on April with the splendid cherry blossoms and famous festival opens annually in the spring. Whenever it is, on the way to see the Tapsa temple(pagoda temple) in the winter it was good for me also with full of tranquil air.
 We got an opportunity to see the great creatures mixed so well with the nature by tenacity and effort of one person. This Tapsa (pagoda temple) flanked by dramatic tafoni-riddled cliffs.Generally most of people have lived in citing for truth and justice of the world. However we know that  sometimes it is needed for someone numerous sacrifices, endurance and calm acceptance of whatever comes their way until the big picture changes in one's life. Right, all of us recognize that it is much smart choice to change myself  rather than the world. This is the just case which shows how to change for a person the way of his life when he and his mother country were in deep trouble( during the Japanese occupation), under a bad plight. Here is the amazing place showing the greatness of human being.
The Maisan Tapsa( pagoda temple)
It was erected over 120 of these pagodas, but was left only about 80 pagodas today. It is mystery no matter how the weather was bad, even during the storms that it did not sway or fall such a for long time over 100 years. To one’s amazement, these pagodas were made by the one person only during 30 years in the early 1900 s’ under Japanese controls.


He was Lee-gapyong(1860-1957), hidden hermit, a member of declined royal families of Chosun-dynasty, the last dynasty in Korea(1392-1897), made straight or conically shaped stone pagodas through in a surreal clasp of stacked rock without any aid of mechanical devices or assistance or mortar. He used the bulk of the stone comes from Mt. Maisan itself and some stones were collected from famous mountains throughout the Korea by the hermit Lee.
He stacked the pagodas according to the eight progressive positions of Zhuge Liang in China and a yin and yang order after receiving the message from the God of mountain when he was 25 years old. Actually these pagodas are not typical shape of Korean one. It is rather closed to the shape of ancient pole erected to honor to the sky. Some people let the meaning that Lee maybe got a pain of losing his country by the Japan and wished the independence of country so deeply, had completed pagodas one by one so long times( till the day of independence) despite of the popular belief that he was the weird person far from worldly affairs.
The Main hall of this temple and Cheonji pagoda on the rear side
The most highlight pagoda is maybe the Cheonji pagoda which is located at the top site behind the temple, up to 13.5 meters tall, was divided into two pagodas from the half layer, originally was one piece at the beginning base.

The Eunsusa
 Eunsusa(은수사), the small hermitage located in foot of Sutmaibong and is situated on the left side of main temple, is the matrix as well as important motivation spot of Chosun dynasty. King Taejo, the founder of Chosun dynasty, dreamed that he was given a gold ruler in here. It means the person having this gold ruler should be a king in the future. After he dreamed he regarded here as ‘Soul Mountain’. From few years ago people hold a Sansinje, God memorial ceremony wishing for national prosperity and welfare, on 11th October annually in this small hermitage with these reasons.
How to get there;
*** There is one city tour bus from Jeonju city(전주시) leaving at 8;30am from Hanok village(Lewin hotel르윈호텔). ***They just operate from April to November only.*** If you have a plan stay one night in Jeonju city, it will be more convenient for you to use this bus. The bus stops local food market and beer factory without additional charge. You can call the travel agency and make a reservation if you want.It is Nambuk tour(남북투어 nambuktour.com, Korean only,Tel 1588-1466 , mobile 010-6364-7500 Fee KRW 9000)
**** There is no direct public transportation to  Maisan mountain(마이산) from Seoul.
Seoul >>Jeonju by express bus or train >>Jinan Maisan mountain by bus...better choice
Seoul >> Jinan by express bus from central city terminal >>Jinan Maisan mountain...infrequent case
Soft course..from southern parking lot, Hard course..from northern parking lot of Maisan mountain 
 So you should be Jeonju(전주) or Jinan(진안) at first and take a bus or a taxi. I recommend taking a taxi because buses do not operate so often in case of Jinan route.  Don't forget to get a name card or mobile phone number of taxi driver for your return.
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