The Korea Herald

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지나쌤

Free admission to Buddhist temples begins Thursday

By Kim Hae-yeon

Published : May 2, 2023 - 15:42

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Cultural Heritage Administration Head Choi Eung-chon (left) and Ven. Jinwoo, president of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism, greet each other at the Korean Buddhism History and Culture Memorial Hall in Seoul, Monday (Yonhap) Cultural Heritage Administration Head Choi Eung-chon (left) and Ven. Jinwoo, president of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism, greet each other at the Korean Buddhism History and Culture Memorial Hall in Seoul, Monday (Yonhap)

Sixty-five Buddhist temples of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism, South Korea's largest Buddhist sect, will waive admission fees to the general public from Thursday.

However, temples managed by cities or provincial governments, such as the Bomunsa Temple in Incheon and the Goransa Temple in South Chungcheong Province, will continue to charge admission fees.

The final decision was made on Monday through a memorandum of understanding signed between the Cultural Heritage Administration and the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism at the Korean Buddhism History and Culture Memorial Hall in Seoul.

Since South Korea's major Buddhist temples are situated in scenic mountains and national parks, even hikers passing through the temples were being charged admission fees. The fees ranged from 1,000 won ($0.77) to 6,000 won per person.

Free admission starts Thursday when the revised Cultural Heritage Protection Act, which requires the state to make up for the loss of admission fees, takes effect. A total of 41.9 billion won ($32 million) was allocated for the purpose this year.

Under the revised law, the CHA will accept applications for government grants from private owners or managers of state-designated cultural heritage properties that do not charge admission fees until June 30. The government grants should be used for management and preservation purposes.