[Eye Plus] Paradise for music players

By Lee Sun-young
  • Published : Apr 19, 2019 - 13:36
  • Updated : Apr 19, 2019 - 13:36

In Seoul, there is a paradise for music players.

Nakwon Instrument Arcade, otherwise known as Nakwon Music Mall, is a one-stop shopping center of over 300 independent music stores -- selling virtually everything related to music. 

(Park Hyun-koo / The Korea Herald)

Located in the vicinity of the tourist-heavy Insa-dong and currently Seoul’s hippest street Ikseon-dong, this shop cluster occupies the second and third floors of Nagwon building, which also houses eateries, practice rooms, a concert stage and a cinema theatre for the elderly.

Here you can find virtually everything about music and musical instruments. From amps, speakers, karaoke machines to orchestra instruments and DJ equipment, the list of items on sale goes as long as nearly 30,000. 

(Park Hyun-koo / The Korea Herald)

There are also businesses servicing professional and amateur musicians. Instrument repair and maintenance is a big part of the business, too.

This year marks 50 years since the building was constructed. At first, it wasn’t at all like now. The building was designed as a residential and commercial complex. Music stores slowly started to gather here and with a music lesson boom in 80s, the largest cluster of instrument shops were born. 

(Park Hyun-koo / The Korea Herald)

(Park Hyun-koo / The Korea Herald)

Over the years, the Nakwon mall has had its ups and downs, once going to the brink of a demolition. Recently, merchants have rolled up their sleeves to reach out to music players, actively promoting themselves via social media, hosting events and so forth.

As part of such events, on May 25, the mall will organize a pop-up flea market of not just musical instruments but also artworks and handcrafts on the building’s rooftop concert stage. The organizers are currently taking registration from prospective sellers via its website, Facebook and other channels, till the end of this month. For more information on the market as well as other events at Nakwon, check out

The arcade opens from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. from Monday through Saturday. Some shops open on Sunday. 

(Park Hyun-koo / The Korea Herald)

(Park Hyun-koo / The Korea Herald)

Photography by Park Hyun-koo

Written by Lee Sun-young