|Elevation||1,915 m (6,283 ft)|
|Prominence||1,696 m (5,564 ft)|
|Parent range||Sobaek Mountains|
Jirisan is a mountain located in the southern region of South Korea. It is the second-tallest mountain in South Korea after Jeju Island's Hallasan, and the tallest mountain in mainland South Korea. After Jirisan, Seoraksan is the third tallest mountain in South Korea and the second-tallest mountain on the South Korean mainland.
The 1915m-high mountain is located in Jirisan National Park. The park spans three provinces (North, South Jeolla and South Gyeongsang) and is the largest in South Korea. The largest proportion of the national park is in the province of South Gyeongsang. The highest peak of the mountain, Cheonhwangbong is also located in this province. Another well-known peak is Samshin-bong (Three Spirits Peak).
There are seven major Buddhist temples on Jirisan. Hwaeomsa is the largest and best-known temple among these. It contains several national treasures, mostly stone artworks from about 600–900 CE. The mountain is also home to the Cheonghak-dong (Azure Crane Village) alpine valley, which includes the Samseonggung (Three Sages Palace), which is a site celebrating one of Korea's foundation myths.
Every year more than 280,000 people visit Jirisan. Summer and autumn are the most popular visiting seasons. The mountain is listed is advertised as having 10 scenic views. These are ‘Sunrise from Cheonwang-bong peak’, ‘Nogodan Sea of Clouds’, ‘Banyabong’s Nakjo’, ‘Full moon at Byukso-ryung’, ‘Piagol Autumn Leaves’, ‘Royal Azalea Blossoming’, ‘Chilseon Valley’, ‘Seomjincheongryu’, ‘Buril water fall’, ‘Yeonha-Sunkyung’. Jirisan National Park has several hiking routes.
At the entrance to Baemsagol Valley, some 1,300 years ago, there used to be Songnimsa Temple. This temple practiced an annual rite on the Chilwolbaekjung holiday (full moon day of July by the lunar calendar) wherein they selected the most pious monk and prayed earnestly for his safe passage to paradise as a deity. In a certain year, the then highest monk Seosandaesa visited the temple, heard about this Buddhist rite, and guessed that there must be a secret behind it. Seosandesa allowed that year’s chosen monk to pray wearing a silk robe anointed with poison, linked by a silk thread to Sinseodae Terrace. Seosandaesa then hid himself behind a rock to watch. At around 1 am, an imugi anaconda, which was sorry not to have turned into a dragon, slithered up from the valley below Sinseondae Terrace to the sound of roaring water. The imugi jumped upon the praying monk, bit him in the mouth, and disappeared into the water. Seosandaesa returned to the temple, and waited until dawn. Early in the morning, he, together with the villagers, went to Sinseondae Terrace to find that the imugi had died dead, having failed to swallow the whole body of the monk. Seosandaesa now came to know about Songnimsa Temple’s secret of sacrificing a monk to an imugi every year. Thereafter, the valley was named as Baemsagol, which means the valley where an imugi, which failed to become a dragon, died. The village at the entrance to Baemsagol Valley was named Banseon (meaning a "half deity") in memory of the dead monk because he was sacrificed without becoming a deity.
Samshinbong (bong means "peak") is 1,284 m (4,213 ft) high and a popular, but strenuous, day-hike from the Ssanggye Temple entry point (it is the closest major peak from this trailhead). From Ssanggyesa, a trail winds up 2.3 km to Bul-il Falls. From the left turn in the path just before the waterfall, the track continues 6.9 km to the peak (for a grand round-trip total of 18.4 km). Starting from Ssanggyesa (the sa suffix indicates a Buddhist temple), the peak can be reached in 4 hours at a steady pace. There is a helipad near the summit for emergency services. It takes about 3 hours to get down; it is an extremely steep hike. Climbers are advised to bring plenty of water as it is only available from streams beyond the temple grounds. This peak can also be climbed from the back of Cheonghak-dong Village.
During the Korean War, North Korean troops occupied the region. After the United Nations forces took the area, a considerable number of North Koreans remained in the mountains, where they continued a guerrilla war until they were finally beaten in 1955, two years after the cease fire was signed by the belligerents. The Republic of Korea issued an "Anti-Guerrilla Warfare Service Medal" for its troops who fought in the area  and a movie about the fighting was later produced.
In popular culture
The 2015 movie The Tiger takes place in the Jirisan mountain area.
- National parks of South Korea
- List of Korea-related topics
- List of mountains in Korea
- Geography of South Korea
- "Highest Mountains South Korea". www.geonames.org.
- "지리산" (in Korean). Retrieved 2018-06-14.
- "뱀사골" (in Korean). Retrieved 2018-06-14.
- "Republic of Korea: Anti-Guerrilla Warfare Service Medal". Medals of the World. Retrieved 2013-04-07.
- "North Korean Partisan in South Korea". Korean Film Archive. Archived from the original on 2012-05-28. Retrieved 2013-04-07.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Jirisan.|
- Jirisan National Park-Official KNPS Homepage
- Online mashup/interactive map of Jirisan hiking trails (in Korean)
- Korea in the Clouds: A Detailed Guide to Hiking Korea's Mountains
- Jiri-san as a Sacred Mountain, Mason's pages on the religious character and sites of this remarkable set of peaks, slopes and gorges.