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Nonsan: A Hidden Gem in South Korea

If you are looking for a place to visit in South Korea that is off the beaten path, you might want to consider Nonsan. Nonsan is a city in South Chungcheong Province, about 150 km south of Seoul. It is not as famous as other tourist destinations, but it has its own charm and attractions that are worth exploring.

Nonsan is also known as Nolmoi, which means dusky or yellow mountain. This name comes from the small hills that rise in the middle of the flat farmlands, where rice and strawberries are grown. Nonsan is the largest producer of strawberries in South Korea, and every spring, it hosts an annual strawberry festival that attracts visitors from all over the country. But Nonsan is not only about strawberries. It also has a rich history and culture that dates back to the ancient times. Here are some of the places that you can visit in Nonsan to learn more about its past and present.

Gwanchoksa Temple Gwanchoksa Temple is a Buddhist temple that was built in 970 during the Goryeo dynasty. It is famous for its giant stone statue of Maitreya, the future Buddha, which is considered the largest stone statue in South Korea. The statue stands at 11 meters tall and weighs 280 tons. It is also known as Eunjin Mireuk, meaning the Maitreya of Eunjin county, which was the old name of Nonsan.

The temple also has other historical and cultural treasures, such as a stone pagoda, a bell tower, and a museum. You can also experience temple life by joining a temple stay program, where you can meditate, chant, eat vegetarian meals, and enjoy the serene atmosphere of the temple.

Tapjeongho Lake Tapjeongho Lake is a man-made reservoir that was created in 1968 for irrigation purposes. It covers an area of 1.32 square kilometers and contains various freshwater fish species. The lake is surrounded by lush greenery and offers a scenic view of the mountains and the sky. You can enjoy various activities at Tapjeongho Lake, such as walking, biking, fishing, boating, or camping. There is also a park, a playground, a fountain, and a cultural center nearby. The lake is especially beautiful at night when it is illuminated by colorful lights.

Myeongjae’s House Myeongjae’s House is the former residence of Yun Jeung, a famous Confucian scholar and politician who lived during the late Joseon dynasty. He was also known as Myeongjae, meaning bright talent. He served as a minister under King Sukjong and King Yeongjo and wrote many books on philosophy, history, and literature. The house was built in 1760 and has been well-preserved until today. It showcases the typical features of a high-class house during the Joseon period, such as a tiled roof, wooden pillars, paper windows, and stone walls. The house consists of several buildings that are connected by courtyards and gardens. You can see how Yun Jeung and his family lived and worked in this house.

Sunshine Studio Sunshine Studio is a film set that was used for the hit Korean drama Mr. Sunshine, which aired in 2018. The drama tells the story of a Korean boy who becomes a soldier for the United States army and falls in love with an aristocratic girl during the early 20th century when Korea was under Japanese occupation.

The studio recreates the historical scenes of Seoul during that era, such as the American legation, the Japanese consulate, the train station, the hotel, and the street market. You can see the props and costumes that were used for the drama and take photos with them. You can also watch clips from the drama on a large screen and learn more about the production process.

Nonsan may not be as popular as other cities in South Korea, but it has its own unique charm and attractions that are worth discovering. If you are looking for a place to experience nature, history, culture, and entertainment in one place, Nonsan might be the perfect destination for you.

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