Hyangiram is the name of a hermitage and tourist attraction in Yeosu city, Jeollanam-do. Originally a small hermitage, the area is now comprised of a number of temples and shrines, mountains, and a harbor. It is a popular tourist site and a favorite place to watch the first sunrise of the new year.
At the foot of Hyangiram is Impo Village (임포마을), comprised largely of restaurants and motels, which overlooks the South Sea and moves sharply upwards toward the hermitage. Visitors will then climb the 291 steps to Hyangiram. There guests will encounter three small temples and numerous trails that lead to other shrines or to nearby Geumosan mountain. Some of the trails cut through large rocks and are quite narrow. Others afford views of Impo Village and the harbor. The area, like Odong-do and other sites in Yeosu, is known for its camellia groves, which blossom brightly each spring.
Hyangiram dates to the 7th century. In 659, the Buddhist monk Won-hyo built Wontongam, his hermitage. The name was changed to Geumoham in 958 and to Hyangiram in 1715. The site was reportedly used as a training ground for monks during the Imjin War of the late-16th century .
On December 19th, 2009, the hermitage and other main buildings burned to the ground.<ref>http://www2.enewstoday.co.kr/sub_read.html?uid=226457§ion=sc1</ref>
One end of Impo Village looks out onto the South Sea, while the other end terminates at the base of Hyangiram. The village climbs up the hill at a steep angle and the path is lined with motels and restaurants, which offer, among other things, Dolsangat Kimchi (돌산갓김치), a local specialty. After hiking through town, one will then ascend the 291 stairs to Hyangiram. At the end of this trail is a narrow stone staircase which ends at a small plaza centered by Hyangiram's main structure. This building is flanked by two other structures and looks out onto the sea.
There are two trails which start here. If facing Hyangiram, the trail to the left leads to a bell tower and a small temple, Gwaneup Hall. Behind the temple is a flat, vertical cliff where visitors will make small donations by trying to "stick" coins to the rock's face. The other trail, which moves to the right from Hyangiram leads to another temple. Beyond this is a trail that moves up to Geumosan, a small mountain that is said to resemble a turtle's back. At 323 meters, the peak offers a panoramic view of the South Sea, and the rocks that cap Geumosan have peculiar grooves that contribute to the turtle motif.
Hyangiram Sunrise Festival
The Hyangiram Sunrise Festival is held from December 31 to January 1 at Hyangiram. It is said that a person making a wish here on New Year's Day will have it granted . As such, it is one of the most popular places in the county to watch the first sunrise of the new year.
- by bus: Buses 111 and 113 go to Hyangiram from Yeosu Station and the bus terminal. It takes between 60 and 70 minutes to get there.
There is a small parking lot a short distance from Impo Village. Guests who park here will have to walk about 10 minutes before arriving at the village.
The site is open from 6 am to 9 pm between November and February, and from 6 am to 10 pm all other months. Admission is 2,000 won for adults, 1,500 won for teenagers, and 1,000 won for children ages 7-12.
Turtle statues on a fence at Hyangiram
Looking downhill at Impo Village