The Korea Herald


Traditional beauty flows in Jeonju Hanok Village

By 김윤미

Published : June 17, 2011 - 18:57

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When it comes to Jeonju travel, the most popular tourist site is Jeonju Hanok Village, located in Pungnam-dong and Gyo-dong. About 700 traditional Korean houses are clustered together with the eaves of their roofs beautifully curved.

The history of the hanok village originates back to the 1910s during the Japanese colonial era. As Japanese merchants took over the business district of Jungang-dong, Koreans moved to Pungnam-dong district, built houses and started living there.

The hanok houses here are not merely houses. They hold exhibitions, museums and cultural experience rooms and it takes a full day to take a thorough tour of the village.
Jeonju Hanok Village (Choi Gap-su/KTO) Jeonju Hanok Village (Choi Gap-su/KTO)

You can start the trip at Gyeonggijeon, the gatekeeper of the royal families of the Joseon Dynasty. Built in the 10th year of King Taejeong (1410) as a place to enshrine the portrait of King Taejo, the founder of the Joseon Dynasty, Gyeonggijeon is the only palace-like building built south of the Han River in Korea.

In front of Gyeonggijeon, a stone called “Hamabi” and two lions stand. An inscription reads: “Those entering Gyeonggijeon, regardless of rank, class, high or low, should get off from their horses. Outsiders are banned from entering.”

Behind Gyeonggijeon, Gyodong Arts Center and Choi Myeong-hee Literary Museum stand side by side.

The two-story arts center holds a variety of art exhibitions and events and allows artists to come in and work there.

The literary museum commemorates the famous novelist Choi Myeong-hee (1947-1998), as both an author and a person. It showcases literary works written by Choi’s hands and things she left. It is open to the public and aspiring writers visit the place all through the year.

The hanok village also has cultural experience halls such as Jeonju Traditional Alcohol Museum where you can try traditional drinks and also purchase them. It is the only traditional alcohol museum in the southern part of Korea, offering lectures and classes on home-brewed drinks and drinking etiquette.

Next to the Jeonju Traditional Alcohol Museum is Hanok Experience Center where you can stay overnight at a yangban house and learn craft works and tea drinking etiquette.

A total of nine houses including Seunggwangjae, where the last surviving member of the Yi dynasty royalty lives, offer hanok accommodation.

To take a full view of the hanok village, you should climb up to Omokdae. Next to the Jeonju Arts & Craft Exhibition Center, follow the stairs up to the hill for 10 minutes. For more information, call (063) 281-5046.

(Source: Korea Tourism Organization)

How to get there:

- By train: Take the KTX from Yongsan Station to Iksan Station. It will take about 1 hour and 50 minutes.

- By bus: Take the bus from Gangnam Express Bus Terminal to Jeonju. It will take about 2 hours and 50 minutes.

- By car: Take the Gyeongbu Express Way, Cheonan-Nonsan Express Way and Honam Express Way. Exit at Jeonju IC.

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