As an important district of Seoul, Jongno has a lot to offer for those interested in Korea’s history and culture. In Jongno-gu: Cultural and Artistic Tour I, we talked about the main royal palace, Gyeongbokgung; the Bukchon Hanok Village; and two of the many museums in the area, National Palace Museum of Korea and National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art.
Now we will continue discovering amazing places you must visit in Jongno! All of them are very close to Gyeonbokgung Palace, so they are easier to get to, except the last two, that you might need to take a bus or subway. Choose your favorite ones and visit them all in the same day!
1. Cheonggyecheon Stream 청계천
This stream is a very popular spot for a relaxing stroll, hanging out with friends or even a romantic date. But it was not always like this. Until 17 years ago, this stream was covered by an elevated highway and, in 2003, the original stream was restored in order to renew the area, covering an extension of 11km. Since then, it became a touristic place that holds various festivals, for example, the famous lantern and lights festivals.
These festivals are magnificent, since a great part of the stream gets fully decorated with colorful thematic lanterns or lights, being a special spot for couples.
2. Jogyesa Temple 조계사
The Jogyesa Temple is one of the major Buddhist temples in Korea, having an important role as the main temple of Jogye order in Seoul and holder of various Buddhist ceremonies and events.
Besides the gorgeous temple constructions, you can see a beautiful Chinese Scholar tree, with over 450 years old. During some times of the year it gets decorated, altogether with the rest of the temple, and looks even more magnificent.
3. Insadong 인사동
Insadong is a neighborhood in the center of Seoul, but it has a main street, known for its mixture of traditional and modern styles. This street is full of cafes, restaurants, stores, museums and galleries and its a common place for sightseeing.
A famous place to visit in this street is Ssamzigil (쌈지길), a shopping complex filled with stores selling the most various beautiful souvenirs. The complex has a few floors and you can go through all of it by following a spiral path that connects them all.
This area is a result of a revitalization from 2006, the ‘Ihwa-dong Naksan Project’. The revitalization included the creation of lots of amazing murals and sculptures by around 70 artists. As a result, many tourists got interested in visiting the place.
The village has not only murals, but also stairs, fences, etc. all transformed into colorful and beautiful pieces of art. Like Bukchon Hanok Village, mentioned in the part I (Jongno-gu: Cultural and Artistic Tour I), Ihwa Mural Village also has people living in it, so it is required attention and respect with the residents.
The Seoul City Wall is another preserved construction from the Joseon dynasty and it was built in 1396. The wall extends for over 18km in the mountains and its height varies between 5m and 8m. Along the wall, there are a total of 6 preserved gates (in the past there were 8) and several trail options for you to choose. Depending on which path you pick, it can take from 1h to 3h to complete.
The address below is for the Heunginjimun Gate 흥인지문, also known as Dongdaemun 동대문. Following the wall from there will give you a nice view of the city and lead you to the beautiful Naksan Park 낙산공원, which is a delightful reward after this trail.
Hope you like the suggestions and have a great experience visiting them!