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Discover Five Centuries of Joseon-Era History in Seoul
Seoul is a deeply-historical city, having served as the capital of the Joseon Dynasty (1392–1910), which ruled the peninsula continuously for more than five centuries. Traces of ancient Seoul, originally referred to as Hanyang, still remain throughout the city today. Anyone wishing to experience the history and traditions of Joseon-era Seoul should head out to the Jongno-gu and Jung-gu districts, where the five grand palaces of Seoul are located; or to Seongbuk-gu, which is abundant with cultural heritage. The itinerary below provides a first-hand experience of Jongmyo Daeje, an ancient ritual, followed by a visit to Seoul’s most vibrant marketplace, before a stroll through the quiet neighborhood of Gye-dong, where century-old hanok (traditional Korean housing) still stand, and finally a luxurious and traditional meal at Samcheonggak, a Korean restaurant located within a forest.
Jongmyo Shrine
Communication Card

"종묘 은/는 어떻게 가야 하나요?" How do I get to Jongmyo Shrine ?

"종묘 (으)로 가주세요. 이곳의 주소는 서울특별시 종로구 종로 157 입니다." Please go to Jongmyo Shrine . It is located at .

"종묘은/는 어떻게 가야 하나요?" How do I get to Jongmyo Shrine ?

"종묘(으)로 가주세요. 이곳의 주소는 서울특별시 종로구 종로 157 입니다." Please go to Jongmyo Shrine . It is located at .

1.

Jongmyo Daeje’s Jeongjeon Jehyang (Rites performed in front of the Main Hall at the Jongmyo Shrine)

The Joseon Dynasty’s Majestic Rituals – A UNESCO World Heritage

 

The Jongmyo Shrine is a sacred space enshrining the spirit tablets of Joseon Dynasty kings and queens. Jongmyo was built by the dynasty’s progenitor, King Taejo (b. Yi Seong-gye), who established Hanyang (present-day Seoul) as the nation’s capital. He placed the shrine to the east of the main palace, adhering to the tenets of Confucianism, the country’s governing philosophy. Jongmyo Shrine consists of Jeongjeon (Main Hall) and Yeongnyeongjeon (Hall of Eternal Peace) where the spirit tablets rest, and other buildings used to prepare for jesa (ancient rites). The tablets of kings whose reigns were the longest and the most accomplished are enshrined in Jeongjeon. The remaining tablets are honored in Yeongnyeongjeon.  

2

Jeongjeon (Main Hall), where the spirit tablets of generations of kings are enshrined /

‘Sinro,’ a pathway said to be used by the spirits

Because Jongmyo is a resting place for the spirits of kings, the shrine adheres to a solemn and restrained aesthetic. Jeongjeon is a wooden building measuring 101 meters on both sides, making it the longest singular structure of its time. The building was extended lengthwise so as to store more tablets, and today its elongated roof, stretching across the horizon, inspires a sense of illustriousness. In contrast, Yeongnyeongjeon is an annex and smaller than Jeongjeon in scale. It can be viewed at one glance, making it more down to earth. Upon entering through Oedaemun, Jongmyo’s main gates, visitors will see a pathway called ‘Sinro’ unfold before them. This pathway is meant exclusively for spirits, and so its use is forbidden to the general public.

 

The Jongmyo Daeje is a traditional ritual quite unlike any other, which has been performed continuously in its original form for more than six centuries. As such, its value has been acknowledged in various quarters, including UNESCO, which registered the Jongmyo Daeje as an Intangible Cultural Heritage. The ritual commences with a royal procession, whereby the king, riding in his royal carriage accompanied by his attendants, departs from Gyeongbokgung Palace and arrives at Jongmyo. After the entourage has made its entrance, sacrificial rites are performed in front of Yeongnyeongjeon, then at Jeongjeon. Great crowds can be seen gathering at Gwanghwamun Square to watch the procession every year on the first Sunday of May, when the royal procession, consisting of the king and 1,200 attendants, moves forward solemnly, their flags fluttering in the wind, with traditional Korean music playing in the background.

3

Royal procession passing through Sejongno Road

The sacrificial rites begin in earnest when the royal procession makes its entrance to Jongmyo Shrine and take two hours each to complete. First, the spirits are summoned through smoke, and then victuals, lovingly prepared, along with three glasses of wine, are offered to them. When the spirits give their blessings, they are sent back again with smoke. The rites take place first at Yeongnyeongjeon then at Jeongjeon, and although the two are similar in form, the latter is larger and more lavish. Up to a thousand observers from the general public are admitted to the shrine on a first-come, first-serve basis so that they may watch the Jeongjeon Jehyang firsthand. For others, video screens and chairs are installed outside and to allow anyone who wishes to see the ritual live on-site.

4

Ilmu, a performance ritual requiring 64 dancers / Ritual participants bowing down to the spirits of ancestors /

Brochures offered in Korean, English, and Chinese, explaining the Jongmyo Daeje

Performances are made intermittently, adding to the solemn and majestic tone of the event, including special music exclusive to the ritual, and a dance called ilmu, requiring a group of 64 to execute. The music was composed by King Sejong (creator of hangeul, the Korean alphabet) in 1446 CE to eulogize the righteous policies and outstanding military service of the kings who preceded him. 

 

The Jongmyo Daeje is an extensive ritual combining music and dance. As the longest and continuously-performed ritual in the world, it is an invaluable heritage, belonging to all humankind; and one that may only be experienced in Seoul.

 

Tip. Jongmyo Shrine – Visitor Information

Address: 157, Jong-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul (Jongno 3-ga Station, Exit 11)

Hours of Operation: 9am–6pm

  • Visits must be accompanied by a cultural heritage interpreter except on certain days (see below). Please refer to the website for tour schedules available in English, Japanese, Chinese, and Korean.

Guided Tours in English: 10am, 12pm, 2pm, and 4pm

  • Unaccompanied tours are possible on Saturdays and the last Wednesdays of the month.
  • Closed on Tuesdays

Cost of Admission: 1,000 won

Duration: About 1 hour

Websitejm.cha.go.kr

Jongmyo Daeje – Event Information

Address: Royal Procession: 1-57 Sejong-ro Jongno-gu, Seoul (Departure from Gyeongbokgung Palace at Gwanghwamun Gate - arrival at Jongmyo Shrine)

Schedule: First Sunday of May

                Royal Procession: 11am–12pm

                Yeongnyeongjeon Jehyang: 1pm–3pm

                Jeongjeon Jehyang: 4:30pm–6:30pm

* Starting times may vary by year

Gwangjang Market
Communication Card

"광장시장 은/는 어떻게 가야 하나요?" How do I get to Gwangjang Market?

"광장시장 (으)로 가주세요. 이곳의 주소는 서울특별시 종로구 종로1.2.3.4가동 창경궁로 88 입니다." Please go to Gwangjang Market. It is located at .

"광장시장은/는 어떻게 가야 하나요?" How do I get to Gwangjang Market?

"광장시장(으)로 가주세요. 이곳의 주소는 서울특별시 종로구 종로1.2.3.4가동 창경궁로 88 입니다." Please go to Gwangjang Market. It is located at .

  9

The lively food alleys of Gwangjang Market

Gwangjang Market – A Diner’s Paradise for Cheap and Diverse Fare

 

A veritable diner’s paradise, Gwangjang Market was Korea’s first permanent marketplace and has been in business for more than a century. A diverse crowd of all ages and backgrounds including parents and children, young couples, travelers from around the world, and the elderly all come here going back and forth between the market’s alleys to enjoy the wide variety of dishes and snacks on offer. Contrary to most other traditional markets frequented by local residents, Gwangjang Market is a highly popular destination for outings, making it often very busy and hectic.

5

Gwangjang Market’s most famous snack, bindaetteok (mung bean pancake) /

Mayak gimbap - the more you eat, the more you want!

Eye-popping sights are everywhere as the visitor explores the various alleys brimming with food and people, resembling a food festival more than a market. Some of the most popular eats include: bindaetteok, or mung beans ground and fried resulting in a yellowish pancake; mayak gimbap, or rice rolled in dried seaweed with fillings – mayak meaning “drug”, referring to the dish’s addictive nature; susubukkumi, sticky rice and sorghum flour dough, fried then filled with sweet bean paste; and finally yukhoe, or fresh raw ground beef seasoned with various spices or sauces, excellent when enjoyed together with spirits. The smell of these and other popular Korean favorites, including tteokbokki (spicy rice cake), sundae (Korean blood sausage), eomuk (fish cake), noodles and more fill the alleys with their aromas, attracting an endless stream of visitors to the market.

6

Main entrance to Gwangjang Market, located on Jong-ro (Road) /

Inside the hanbok (traditional Korean clothing) market at Gwangjang Market, known for its high-quality merchandise

Each food stall has its own tables and chairs lining alleys already jam-packed with visitors – although busy and crowded, this animated scene is what makes Gwangjang Market so delightful. The treats at this friendly market are often inexpensive and generously served. And who knows? You may even make a friend or two with the person sitting next to you, and share a toast! In addition to its food alleys, Gwangjang Market is also famous for its high-quality hanbok (traditional Korean clothing) market, fabric market, and remains Seoul’s biggest imported vintage clothing market.

 

Tip. Gwangjang Market – Visitor Information

Address: 88, Changgyeonggung-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul (Jongno 5-ga Station, Exit 8)

               (To visit the food alleys, use the East Gate, North Gate #2, or the South Gate #1)

Hours of Operation: 9am-10pm (Hours may vary by store)

Gyedong-gil Road
Communication Card

"계동길 은/는 어떻게 가야 하나요?" How do I get to Gyedong-gil Road?

"계동길 (으)로 가주세요. 이곳의 주소는 서울특별시 종로구 계동길 입니다." Please go to Gyedong-gil Road. It is located at .

"계동길은/는 어떻게 가야 하나요?" How do I get to Gyedong-gil Road?

"계동길(으)로 가주세요. 이곳의 주소는 서울특별시 종로구 계동길 입니다." Please go to Gyedong-gil Road. It is located at .

  14

Warmth emanates from Gyedong-gil, one of Seoul’s oldest neighborhoods

A Cup of Tea in a Serene, Traditional Atmosphere - Gyedong-gil Street

 

Gye-dong is a quiet neighborhood a few steps away from the urban jungle that is central Seoul, and which has retained its old-world appearance. Gyedong-gil, serving as the neighborhood’s central axis, is a charming street approximately 700 meters long that stretches from the modern office buildings around Anguk Station to the front entrance of Jungang High School. Stretching along both sides of the street, the stores here display a harmonious blend of past and present, exhibiting an area that has remained both intact and built up over a span of more than a hundred years.

7

“The Hanok” is a café serving traditional teas inside a hanok (traditional Korean housing)

One of the best ways to experience the history and charm of Gyedong-gil is to visit a hanok (traditional Korean housing) remodeled as a café or guesthouse. Manaedang, a guesthouse, was built over a hundred years ago, and was the residence of poet and freedom fighter Han Yongun from 1916-1919. “The Hanok” is a traditional teahouse and café featuring a modern interior in a renovated hanok, with a view of the central courtyard.

 

There are also some unique and interesting places only available at Gyedong-gil. One of these is a showroom for trendy eyeglasses that was renovated from Korea’s very first communal bathhouse, called Jungangtang. The showroom has retained the bathhouse’s original inner structure and facilities, making it even more original and historical. Another interesting spot is a photo studio and café on the site of a former nickel silver pot factory, which attracts many visitors seeking to reminisce about old times.

8

Traditional handicrafts crafted by master artisans on display in a hanok / A souvenir store offering a selection of mementos

Likewise, Gyedong-gil is a treasure trove of unconventional boutiques full of personality and character placed throughout its many alleyways. Here, visitors will find shops in splendid hanok selling traditional handicrafts made by master artisans that they can browse by room; a metalcraft workshop selling original pieces that were made onsite; a designer studio making Korea’s only hand-crafted button covers; or a store displaying adorable and charming dolls collected from all over the world.

"삼청각 은/는 어떻게 가야 하나요?" How do I get to Samcheonggak?

"삼청각 (으)로 가주세요. 이곳의 주소는 서울특별시 성북구 성북동 330-115 입니다." Please go to Samcheonggak. It is located at .

"삼청각은/는 어떻게 가야 하나요?" How do I get to Samcheonggak?

"삼청각(으)로 가주세요. 이곳의 주소는 서울특별시 성북구 성북동 330-115 입니다." Please go to Samcheonggak. It is located at .

20150910 004222

The scenery at Ilhwadang, with a view of Bugaksan Mountain

Samcheonggak–Enjoy Royal Cuisine in a Forest

 

Located within a broad forest at the outskirts of Bugaksan Mountain, Samcheonggak is comprised of six traditional Korean buildings placed in between several well-tended gardens. Initially built to host a historic banquet between the two Koreas in 1974, Samcheonggak continued to be used by politicians until the 1980s as a high-end restaurant, and was generally unknown to the public. When its usage eventually declined, its doors were closed until the year 2000, whereupon it was reopened by the Seoul Metropolitan Government. Currently operated by the city as a cultural facility, Samcheonggak is now cherished by all, and offers traditional performances and hands-on programs as well as Korean cuisine, in a beautiful and natural setting.  

9

Entrance to the Korean Restaurant / A traditional marriage taking place in the Ilhwadang garden

After entering through the main gates, visitors will see a stone wall stretching along a hilly path.  They will then come upon the hanok-style buildings, surrounded by lush, green vegetation. Standing magnificently like a mountain cliff with its courtyard in front, Ilhwadang is where traditional performances are held. The elegant garden behind it is used to hold traditional weddings, and on weekends, people can be seen preparing for the ceremony. The Korean Restaurant which serves royal Korean cuisine and Dawon, a traditional teahouse, can both be reached after passing through the garden at Ilhwadang.

10

Jingujeol, served with the set menu /

Desserts – sikhye (sweet rice punch), tteok (rice cakes), hangwa (traditional Korean sweets), and fruits

The Korean Restaurant offers set menus with scenic views of tree-covered Bugaksan Mountain. Because of its luxurious atmosphere and beautifully-presented dishes, the restaurant is often sought out for hosting meetings between the families of the bride and groom, or entertaining important guests. There are eight set menus, each of their names ending with –sura, which is an ancient suffix used to indicate meals served to the king. The dishes, such as grilled scallops with perilla sauce; fish dumpling soup with abalone; royal sinseollo (royal hot pot); samhapjjim (steamed abalone, sea cucumber and beef braised in soy sauce and vinegar); are prepared with high-quality ingredients using traditional cooking Korean methods. However, no one is obligated to stick to the course menus, and there are many dishes such as galbijjim (steamed marinated beef ribs), bulgogi (grilled marinated beef) and modeumjeon (assorted Korean-style pancakes) that can be ordered individually, along with a wide selection of traditional Korean alcoholic beverages to choose from.

11

Cheongcheondang, a recreation of a sarangchae (guesthouse) from a noble’s residence /

The Yuhajeong Pavilion offers a scenic view of Bugaksan Mountain

After enjoying one of these fulfilling meals, a leisurely stroll around the forested hanok is ideal. In addition to Ilhwadang, the main building, there is also Cheongcheondang, Cheonchudang, Chwihandang, Dongbaekeon, and Yuhajeong, each of which has been positioned throughout Samcheonggak along a walking trail. The stroll through the hanok, built elegantly through traditional architectural methods, among the naturalistic gardens and trees, as well as the opportunity to breathe the clean air of Bugaksan Mountain, will surely put anyone’s mind at ease. Samcheonggak is not unlike a secret garden hidden in a city, where one can also enjoy traditional culture and cuisine!

 

Tip. Samcheonggak – Visitor Information

Address: 3, Daesagwan-ro, Seongbuk-gu, Seoul

* It is difficult to reach Samcheonggak using public transportation. Take a cab from Gwanghwamun Square in Jongno-gu, or take the free shuttle operated by Samcheonggak, which runs once an hour. (Please refer to the official Samcheonggak website for daily schedules)

Hours of Operation: Korean Restaurnant – Lunch 12pm–3pm; Dinner 6pm–10pm

                                Dawon – 10am–10pm

Cost: Set menu - 49,500 won–198,000 won; A la carte - 16,500 won–66,000 won

Reservations: 02-765-3700 (Required)

Websitewww.samcheonggak.or.kr

Discover Five Centuries of Joseon-Era History in Seoul
Seoul is a deeply-historical city, having served as the capital of the Joseon Dynasty (1392–1910), which ruled the peninsula continuously for more than five centuries. Traces of ancient Seoul, originally referred to as Hanyang, still remain throughout the city today. Anyone wishing to experience the history and traditions of Joseon-era Seoul should head out to the Jongno-gu and Jung-gu districts, where the five grand palaces of Seoul are located; or to Seongbuk-gu, which is abundant with cultural heritage. The itinerary below provides a first-hand experience of Jongmyo Daeje, an ancient ritual, followed by a visit to Seoul’s most vibrant marketplace, before a stroll through the quiet neighborhood of Gye-dong, where century-old hanok (traditional Korean housing) still stand, and finally a luxurious and traditional meal at Samcheonggak, a Korean restaurant located within a forest.
Jongmyo Shrine
Communication Card

"종묘 은/는 어떻게 가야 하나요?" How do I get to Jongmyo Shrine ?

"종묘 (으)로 가주세요. 이곳의 주소는 서울특별시 종로구 종로 157 입니다." Please go to Jongmyo Shrine . It is located at .

"종묘은/는 어떻게 가야 하나요?" How do I get to Jongmyo Shrine ?

"종묘(으)로 가주세요. 이곳의 주소는 서울특별시 종로구 종로 157 입니다." Please go to Jongmyo Shrine . It is located at .

1.

Jongmyo Daeje’s Jeongjeon Jehyang (Rites performed in front of the Main Hall at the Jongmyo Shrine)

The Joseon Dynasty’s Majestic Rituals – A UNESCO World Heritage

 

The Jongmyo Shrine is a sacred space enshrining the spirit tablets of Joseon Dynasty kings and queens. Jongmyo was built by the dynasty’s progenitor, King Taejo (b. Yi Seong-gye), who established Hanyang (present-day Seoul) as the nation’s capital. He placed the shrine to the east of the main palace, adhering to the tenets of Confucianism, the country’s governing philosophy. Jongmyo Shrine consists of Jeongjeon (Main Hall) and Yeongnyeongjeon (Hall of Eternal Peace) where the spirit tablets rest, and other buildings used to prepare for jesa (ancient rites). The tablets of kings whose reigns were the longest and the most accomplished are enshrined in Jeongjeon. The remaining tablets are honored in Yeongnyeongjeon.  

2

Jeongjeon (Main Hall), where the spirit tablets of generations of kings are enshrined /

‘Sinro,’ a pathway said to be used by the spirits

Because Jongmyo is a resting place for the spirits of kings, the shrine adheres to a solemn and restrained aesthetic. Jeongjeon is a wooden building measuring 101 meters on both sides, making it the longest singular structure of its time. The building was extended lengthwise so as to store more tablets, and today its elongated roof, stretching across the horizon, inspires a sense of illustriousness. In contrast, Yeongnyeongjeon is an annex and smaller than Jeongjeon in scale. It can be viewed at one glance, making it more down to earth. Upon entering through Oedaemun, Jongmyo’s main gates, visitors will see a pathway called ‘Sinro’ unfold before them. This pathway is meant exclusively for spirits, and so its use is forbidden to the general public.

 

The Jongmyo Daeje is a traditional ritual quite unlike any other, which has been performed continuously in its original form for more than six centuries. As such, its value has been acknowledged in various quarters, including UNESCO, which registered the Jongmyo Daeje as an Intangible Cultural Heritage. The ritual commences with a royal procession, whereby the king, riding in his royal carriage accompanied by his attendants, departs from Gyeongbokgung Palace and arrives at Jongmyo. After the entourage has made its entrance, sacrificial rites are performed in front of Yeongnyeongjeon, then at Jeongjeon. Great crowds can be seen gathering at Gwanghwamun Square to watch the procession every year on the first Sunday of May, when the royal procession, consisting of the king and 1,200 attendants, moves forward solemnly, their flags fluttering in the wind, with traditional Korean music playing in the background.

3

Royal procession passing through Sejongno Road

The sacrificial rites begin in earnest when the royal procession makes its entrance to Jongmyo Shrine and take two hours each to complete. First, the spirits are summoned through smoke, and then victuals, lovingly prepared, along with three glasses of wine, are offered to them. When the spirits give their blessings, they are sent back again with smoke. The rites take place first at Yeongnyeongjeon then at Jeongjeon, and although the two are similar in form, the latter is larger and more lavish. Up to a thousand observers from the general public are admitted to the shrine on a first-come, first-serve basis so that they may watch the Jeongjeon Jehyang firsthand. For others, video screens and chairs are installed outside and to allow anyone who wishes to see the ritual live on-site.

4

Ilmu, a performance ritual requiring 64 dancers / Ritual participants bowing down to the spirits of ancestors /

Brochures offered in Korean, English, and Chinese, explaining the Jongmyo Daeje

Performances are made intermittently, adding to the solemn and majestic tone of the event, including special music exclusive to the ritual, and a dance called ilmu, requiring a group of 64 to execute. The music was composed by King Sejong (creator of hangeul, the Korean alphabet) in 1446 CE to eulogize the righteous policies and outstanding military service of the kings who preceded him. 

 

The Jongmyo Daeje is an extensive ritual combining music and dance. As the longest and continuously-performed ritual in the world, it is an invaluable heritage, belonging to all humankind; and one that may only be experienced in Seoul.

 

Tip. Jongmyo Shrine – Visitor Information

Address: 157, Jong-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul (Jongno 3-ga Station, Exit 11)

Hours of Operation: 9am–6pm

  • Visits must be accompanied by a cultural heritage interpreter except on certain days (see below). Please refer to the website for tour schedules available in English, Japanese, Chinese, and Korean.

Guided Tours in English: 10am, 12pm, 2pm, and 4pm

  • Unaccompanied tours are possible on Saturdays and the last Wednesdays of the month.
  • Closed on Tuesdays

Cost of Admission: 1,000 won

Duration: About 1 hour

Websitejm.cha.go.kr

Jongmyo Daeje – Event Information

Address: Royal Procession: 1-57 Sejong-ro Jongno-gu, Seoul (Departure from Gyeongbokgung Palace at Gwanghwamun Gate - arrival at Jongmyo Shrine)

Schedule: First Sunday of May

                Royal Procession: 11am–12pm

                Yeongnyeongjeon Jehyang: 1pm–3pm

                Jeongjeon Jehyang: 4:30pm–6:30pm

* Starting times may vary by year

Gwangjang Market
Communication Card

"광장시장 은/는 어떻게 가야 하나요?" How do I get to Gwangjang Market?

"광장시장 (으)로 가주세요. 이곳의 주소는 서울특별시 종로구 종로1.2.3.4가동 창경궁로 88 입니다." Please go to Gwangjang Market. It is located at .

"광장시장은/는 어떻게 가야 하나요?" How do I get to Gwangjang Market?

"광장시장(으)로 가주세요. 이곳의 주소는 서울특별시 종로구 종로1.2.3.4가동 창경궁로 88 입니다." Please go to Gwangjang Market. It is located at .

  9

The lively food alleys of Gwangjang Market

Gwangjang Market – A Diner’s Paradise for Cheap and Diverse Fare

 

A veritable diner’s paradise, Gwangjang Market was Korea’s first permanent marketplace and has been in business for more than a century. A diverse crowd of all ages and backgrounds including parents and children, young couples, travelers from around the world, and the elderly all come here going back and forth between the market’s alleys to enjoy the wide variety of dishes and snacks on offer. Contrary to most other traditional markets frequented by local residents, Gwangjang Market is a highly popular destination for outings, making it often very busy and hectic.

5

Gwangjang Market’s most famous snack, bindaetteok (mung bean pancake) /

Mayak gimbap - the more you eat, the more you want!

Eye-popping sights are everywhere as the visitor explores the various alleys brimming with food and people, resembling a food festival more than a market. Some of the most popular eats include: bindaetteok, or mung beans ground and fried resulting in a yellowish pancake; mayak gimbap, or rice rolled in dried seaweed with fillings – mayak meaning “drug”, referring to the dish’s addictive nature; susubukkumi, sticky rice and sorghum flour dough, fried then filled with sweet bean paste; and finally yukhoe, or fresh raw ground beef seasoned with various spices or sauces, excellent when enjoyed together with spirits. The smell of these and other popular Korean favorites, including tteokbokki (spicy rice cake), sundae (Korean blood sausage), eomuk (fish cake), noodles and more fill the alleys with their aromas, attracting an endless stream of visitors to the market.

6

Main entrance to Gwangjang Market, located on Jong-ro (Road) /

Inside the hanbok (traditional Korean clothing) market at Gwangjang Market, known for its high-quality merchandise

Each food stall has its own tables and chairs lining alleys already jam-packed with visitors – although busy and crowded, this animated scene is what makes Gwangjang Market so delightful. The treats at this friendly market are often inexpensive and generously served. And who knows? You may even make a friend or two with the person sitting next to you, and share a toast! In addition to its food alleys, Gwangjang Market is also famous for its high-quality hanbok (traditional Korean clothing) market, fabric market, and remains Seoul’s biggest imported vintage clothing market.

 

Tip. Gwangjang Market – Visitor Information

Address: 88, Changgyeonggung-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul (Jongno 5-ga Station, Exit 8)

               (To visit the food alleys, use the East Gate, North Gate #2, or the South Gate #1)

Hours of Operation: 9am-10pm (Hours may vary by store)

Gyedong-gil Road
Communication Card

"계동길 은/는 어떻게 가야 하나요?" How do I get to Gyedong-gil Road?

"계동길 (으)로 가주세요. 이곳의 주소는 서울특별시 종로구 계동길 입니다." Please go to Gyedong-gil Road. It is located at .

"계동길은/는 어떻게 가야 하나요?" How do I get to Gyedong-gil Road?

"계동길(으)로 가주세요. 이곳의 주소는 서울특별시 종로구 계동길 입니다." Please go to Gyedong-gil Road. It is located at .

  14

Warmth emanates from Gyedong-gil, one of Seoul’s oldest neighborhoods

A Cup of Tea in a Serene, Traditional Atmosphere - Gyedong-gil Street

 

Gye-dong is a quiet neighborhood a few steps away from the urban jungle that is central Seoul, and which has retained its old-world appearance. Gyedong-gil, serving as the neighborhood’s central axis, is a charming street approximately 700 meters long that stretches from the modern office buildings around Anguk Station to the front entrance of Jungang High School. Stretching along both sides of the street, the stores here display a harmonious blend of past and present, exhibiting an area that has remained both intact and built up over a span of more than a hundred years.

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“The Hanok” is a café serving traditional teas inside a hanok (traditional Korean housing)

One of the best ways to experience the history and charm of Gyedong-gil is to visit a hanok (traditional Korean housing) remodeled as a café or guesthouse. Manaedang, a guesthouse, was built over a hundred years ago, and was the residence of poet and freedom fighter Han Yongun from 1916-1919. “The Hanok” is a traditional teahouse and café featuring a modern interior in a renovated hanok, with a view of the central courtyard.

 

There are also some unique and interesting places only available at Gyedong-gil. One of these is a showroom for trendy eyeglasses that was renovated from Korea’s very first communal bathhouse, called Jungangtang. The showroom has retained the bathhouse’s original inner structure and facilities, making it even more original and historical. Another interesting spot is a photo studio and café on the site of a former nickel silver pot factory, which attracts many visitors seeking to reminisce about old times.

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Traditional handicrafts crafted by master artisans on display in a hanok / A souvenir store offering a selection of mementos

Likewise, Gyedong-gil is a treasure trove of unconventional boutiques full of personality and character placed throughout its many alleyways. Here, visitors will find shops in splendid hanok selling traditional handicrafts made by master artisans that they can browse by room; a metalcraft workshop selling original pieces that were made onsite; a designer studio making Korea’s only hand-crafted button covers; or a store displaying adorable and charming dolls collected from all over the world.

"삼청각 은/는 어떻게 가야 하나요?" How do I get to Samcheonggak?

"삼청각 (으)로 가주세요. 이곳의 주소는 서울특별시 성북구 성북동 330-115 입니다." Please go to Samcheonggak. It is located at .

"삼청각은/는 어떻게 가야 하나요?" How do I get to Samcheonggak?

"삼청각(으)로 가주세요. 이곳의 주소는 서울특별시 성북구 성북동 330-115 입니다." Please go to Samcheonggak. It is located at .

20150910 004222

The scenery at Ilhwadang, with a view of Bugaksan Mountain

Samcheonggak–Enjoy Royal Cuisine in a Forest

 

Located within a broad forest at the outskirts of Bugaksan Mountain, Samcheonggak is comprised of six traditional Korean buildings placed in between several well-tended gardens. Initially built to host a historic banquet between the two Koreas in 1974, Samcheonggak continued to be used by politicians until the 1980s as a high-end restaurant, and was generally unknown to the public. When its usage eventually declined, its doors were closed until the year 2000, whereupon it was reopened by the Seoul Metropolitan Government. Currently operated by the city as a cultural facility, Samcheonggak is now cherished by all, and offers traditional performances and hands-on programs as well as Korean cuisine, in a beautiful and natural setting.  

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Entrance to the Korean Restaurant / A traditional marriage taking place in the Ilhwadang garden

After entering through the main gates, visitors will see a stone wall stretching along a hilly path.  They will then come upon the hanok-style buildings, surrounded by lush, green vegetation. Standing magnificently like a mountain cliff with its courtyard in front, Ilhwadang is where traditional performances are held. The elegant garden behind it is used to hold traditional weddings, and on weekends, people can be seen preparing for the ceremony. The Korean Restaurant which serves royal Korean cuisine and Dawon, a traditional teahouse, can both be reached after passing through the garden at Ilhwadang.

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Jingujeol, served with the set menu /

Desserts – sikhye (sweet rice punch), tteok (rice cakes), hangwa (traditional Korean sweets), and fruits

The Korean Restaurant offers set menus with scenic views of tree-covered Bugaksan Mountain. Because of its luxurious atmosphere and beautifully-presented dishes, the restaurant is often sought out for hosting meetings between the families of the bride and groom, or entertaining important guests. There are eight set menus, each of their names ending with –sura, which is an ancient suffix used to indicate meals served to the king. The dishes, such as grilled scallops with perilla sauce; fish dumpling soup with abalone; royal sinseollo (royal hot pot); samhapjjim (steamed abalone, sea cucumber and beef braised in soy sauce and vinegar); are prepared with high-quality ingredients using traditional cooking Korean methods. However, no one is obligated to stick to the course menus, and there are many dishes such as galbijjim (steamed marinated beef ribs), bulgogi (grilled marinated beef) and modeumjeon (assorted Korean-style pancakes) that can be ordered individually, along with a wide selection of traditional Korean alcoholic beverages to choose from.

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Cheongcheondang, a recreation of a sarangchae (guesthouse) from a noble’s residence /

The Yuhajeong Pavilion offers a scenic view of Bugaksan Mountain

After enjoying one of these fulfilling meals, a leisurely stroll around the forested hanok is ideal. In addition to Ilhwadang, the main building, there is also Cheongcheondang, Cheonchudang, Chwihandang, Dongbaekeon, and Yuhajeong, each of which has been positioned throughout Samcheonggak along a walking trail. The stroll through the hanok, built elegantly through traditional architectural methods, among the naturalistic gardens and trees, as well as the opportunity to breathe the clean air of Bugaksan Mountain, will surely put anyone’s mind at ease. Samcheonggak is not unlike a secret garden hidden in a city, where one can also enjoy traditional culture and cuisine!

 

Tip. Samcheonggak – Visitor Information

Address: 3, Daesagwan-ro, Seongbuk-gu, Seoul

* It is difficult to reach Samcheonggak using public transportation. Take a cab from Gwanghwamun Square in Jongno-gu, or take the free shuttle operated by Samcheonggak, which runs once an hour. (Please refer to the official Samcheonggak website for daily schedules)

Hours of Operation: Korean Restaurnant – Lunch 12pm–3pm; Dinner 6pm–10pm

                                Dawon – 10am–10pm

Cost: Set menu - 49,500 won–198,000 won; A la carte - 16,500 won–66,000 won

Reservations: 02-765-3700 (Required)

Websitewww.samcheonggak.or.kr

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