The Nine Greatest Sacred Mountains of All Korea (5 western & 4 eastern)
Myohyang-san묘향산 DPRK, Pyeongan Province, National Park, 1355m
The Bukhan-san Sub-Range especially Samgak-san 삼각산 840m and Inwang-san 인왕산 388m, and also including An-san, Bugak-san, Dobong-san, Sapye-san, Surak-san, Bulam-san, Acha- san and Nam-san. North and East of Seoul City. Some of these are in the Bukhan-san National Park, others are Local Parks.
Gyeryong-san계룡산 Daejeon & Gongju Cities, National Park, 845m
Jiri-san지리산 Gurye County of South Jeolla Province; Hadong, Sancheong and Hamyang Counties of South Gyeongsang Province; and Namwon City of North Jeolla Province; National Park, Cheonhwang-bong 1915m, Banya-bong 1733m & Nogo-dan 1507m
Halla-san한라산 Jeju-do Province & Island, National Park, 1950m
Baekdu-san백두산 DPRK and China border, National Park, 2850m
Geumgang-san금강산 DPRK Gangwon Province, National Park, 1908m Famous as the "Diamond Mountains"
Taebaek-san태백산 Gangwon Province, Taebaek City, Provincial Park, 1567m (including Hambaek-san of Taebaek-shi, and Cheong-ok-san, Guryong-san and Eungbong-san of Bonghwa & Uljin Counties)
These 9 mountains are the ones I have judged to be the entire Korean nation's holiest, by the criteria explained on this page and my 20 years of visiting them and studying this subject. They break down in a convenient and balanced split between 5 in the central and western regions and 4 in the eastern regions (mostly, the Taebaek Range and its southern extension now dubbed the "Yeongnam Alps"). They are listed here North-to-South. Three mountains from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) are listed, due to our lack of information about historical and current mountain-worship traditions there; those six are labled "DPRK". Click on the name to see my photos and discussion of that mountain and its San-shin shrines.
Nine has long been one of the most sacred numbers in Korean traditional religions (being 3x3), and that is why I have used it here instead of a Western-style "Top-10" or even 12 as I used in the List for South Korea only. See also my discussion of the Gu-san [nine sacred mountains of Korea's Seon Buddhism] for further perspective. There are several shrines and artworks extant in South Korea that depict nine sacred mountains of the entire nation -- these lists can be different from mine. A variety of lists of nine can be made, for example by emphasizing Buddhist, Shamanic, historic or current-pilgrimage elements in the criteria. For example, one could easily replace the Gyeongju O-ak in the list below with Geumjeong-san, Odae-san or perhaps even Palgong-san...