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Local Historic Site: Hyeonchungsa Shrine

A replica of Admiral Yi, Sun Shin's turtle ship is on display at the Korean War Memorial in Seoul. The memorial is adjacent to Yongsan Garrison. (Courtesy photo)

A replica of Admiral Yi, Sun Shin's turtle ship is on display at the Korean War Memorial in Seoul. The memorial is adjacent to Yongsan Garrison. (Courtesy photo)

OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Hyeonchungsa Shrine, located approximately one hour south of the base, has kept the spirit of Korea's most famous naval hero, Admiral Yi Sun-sin, alive for more than 300 years.

The shrine, located at the foot of Banghwa mountain, includes acres of beautifully landscaping, two fish ponds, the house where the admiral grew up, an archery range where he practiced, a museum containing a pictorial story of his life and an example of his famous "turtle ship."

The museum also contains his war diary and sword he carried. The admiral is one of Korea's greatest heroes because of his naval victories against the Japanese when they invaded Korea from 1592-1598 during the Joseon dynasty.

He is credited with winning 23 naval battles without defeat during the war. In the Battle of Myeongnyang, his 13 ships defeated a Japanese force of 333 ships. Admiral Yi is also credited with the perfection of the first iron-clad ship in history. His "turtle ships" carried more cannons than their Japanese enemies and had iron plates on the roof of the ship with spikes to prevent enemy sailors from boarding.

The Korean navy strategy of attack was to fire cannons at long range, as opposed to the Japanese preference for boarding and hand-to-hand combat. The shrine is closed Tuesdays. It's open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from November thru February and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. March thru October. 

No one is allowed to enter one hour prior to closing time.