Jirisan is considered one of three spiritual mountains of Korea, with Geumgangsan and Hallasan being the other two. It is the south mountain of five Silla mountains.
It is said that 'when a stupid person stays in Jirisan, that person becomes a wise person', thus the mountain got the name Jirisan, meaning knowing the difference. It is also called Duryusan because the mountain ranges starting from Baekdusan continued through the Korean peninsula and reached here. The residence of an enlightened monk is called Bangjang in Buddhism. Taking the profound meaning, this mountain is also called Bangjangsan.
Jirisan National Park designated on Dec. 29, 1967 was the first national park in Korea. It spans 3 provinces, 5 cities and counties and 15 eups and myeons including Hadong-gun, Sancheong-gun, and Hamyang-gun in Gyeongsangnam-do and Gurye-gun in Jeollanam-do and Namwon-si in Jellabuk-do. Its area is 440.517§´ or 130 million pyeong(traditional Korean area measurement unit).
It is 7 times the size of Gyeryongsan National Park and 52 times the size of Yeouido. Of the 20 national parks, this is the largest park on land. Jirisan has about 20 of over 1000m high peaks and passes. 10 major peaks include Cheonwangbong(1,915.4m), the second highest peak in South Korea, Jeseokbong(1,806m), Banyabong(1,732m), and Nogodan(1,507m). The main ridge from Cheonwangbong to Nogodan is about 25.5km or 60 ri(traditional Korean distance measurement unit equivalent).
Its perimeter is 320km or 800ri. Natural beauties created by many valleys and waterfalls have brought its reputation as one of the most magnificent mountains in Korea.
The valleys and waterfalls include Chilseon valley started from Cheonwangbong, Baemsagol valley, Daewonsa valley, Bulil fall, Guryong fall, and Yongchu fall. Many major temples including Hwaeomsa, Ssanggyesa, Yeongoksa, Daewonsa, and Silsangsa, and small temples, and many cultural relics prove that this mountain is the home of Korean Buddhism. Jirisan is a mountain of life, home to many plants, animals, and people.
From the main ridge connecting Cheonwangbong to Nogodan, 15 ridges stretch downward like open hands. 245 species of woody plants, 597 species of herbaceous plants, 15 families 41 species of mammals, 39 families 165 species of birds, and 215 species of insects inhabit the valleys and ridges.
The water sprung from Jirisan forms the Deokcheongang, Eomcheongang, and Hwangcheongang. And the number of spirngs, observation decks, and named rocks are more than 50. Many legends including the legends of Mayago and Banyadosa, and Hoya and Yeonjin are related to Jirisan. A record shows that there used to be over 350 big and small temples in Jirisan. Without taking into account the 7 national treasures, 26 treasures, and numerous local cultural assets, historic sites, and cultural material in the mountai, the mountain itself is majestic.