Paju DMZ

Odusan Unification Tower: Memories between South and North Korea

Formerly a single nation annexed by Japan in 1910’s, South and North Korea has been divided into two since the end of World War II. After that, the 2 Koreas have undergone few rounds of about-to reunification and argument but it ends up they remain divided due to difference in social and political perception. Because of the division, many families were separated and not being able to see each other forever. Odusan Unification Tower serves as a place that treasures the memories and history between the Koreas.

How to get to Odusan Unification Tower

Odusan Unification Tower is located in Paju, the northest city of South Korea. It is in proximity to the boundary between South and North Korea.

The exact address is : 369, Pilseung-ro, Tanhyeon-myeon, Paju-si. (파주시 탄현면 필승로 369)

From Geumchon subway station Gyeongeui Jungang line, get on bus 900 and get off at Tongildongsan Tower station. It takes about 30 minutes for the bus ride. After getting off, you will see a parking lot with a shuttle bus parking there. Then, The shuttle bus drives you up till the actual location where the tower places. It is free of charge and has a bus schedule of 20 minutes interval.

Interior and Exhibition of Odusan Unification Tower


After riding the bus for 5 minutes, you reach the entrance of the tower. Queue up to get your tickets! The admission fee is 3000 won per person and you get a 50% discount if you are a Paju resident. An usher guides your way to the main entrance of the building.

In front of the entrance is a bronze statue of Mansik-Jo, an active leader of independence and democracy demonstration activities during Japan colonization period. And beside it is something looking like a memorial tablet called “Mangbaedan”(망배단). It is a place designated as a consolation for the divided family community to perform ancestral rites or to bow to their family living far at the north. I was understood that foods are prepared for ancestral rites table during Seollal(Lunar New Year) and Chuseok every year on the memorial tablet.

First floor

The first floor is the main exhibition hall. It consists of 2 compartments: a campaign exhibition hall and a permanent exhibition hall. As its name implies, the campaign exhibition hall has various different exhibition themes for each period. The permanent exhibition hall displays the history between North and South Korea, how they were once together such as the experience of North and South Korea participate Olympic as a team, many other memories of them. Also, they show how they anticipate the the future of unified Korea will be if it was achieved.

The exhibition is presented in many creative approaches, making it more interesting and less boring than expected. There is video projected on walls that is kind of 3D, a small booth where you can write unification messages and it will appear on the screen. I enjoyed it even though I am not a “history” person.

Second floor

The exhibition here impresses me very much. The walls are full with pictures and words written by the members of separated family community who lost their family due to the separation of Korea. There are approximately 5500 pieces of work, all expressing the longing for their family and home in the North and hope of unification. They got me really emotional and sorry for their situation…

Besides, there is a theatre broadcasting the life in North Korea, the politics, socials, education, culture of North Korea. However, it is temporarily unavailable now due to the pandemic situation.

Third floor

This is where the observatory hall is placed. They provide an explanation video about the geography, social life and facilities in North Korea. The explanation video is made in 4 languages: Korean, English, Japanese and Chinese for the convenience of foreign tourists.

Forth floor

Here is an observatory lounge where you could enjoy coffee and desserts while indulging in the bird-eye view of the river which serves as the boundary between North and South Korea. This is perhaps the only cafe in South Korea that features North Korea view.

Observatory Deck

Outside the third and forth floor is the outdoor observatory deck. This space is perhaps the highlight of the tower as you could take a look at the North Korea which is at the opposite of the river using the 20X power binoculars provided. The guide map shows some trademarks that could be observed through the binoculars. You could observe some uniquely-designed buildings and, sometimes, some people walking through the hills in the opposite. It was the closest South Koreans could be with the North. I wonder what would a member of the separated family feels seeing the North in close.

My comment

It was a good opportunity to know more about the relation between South and North Korea. Very informative and interesting! But be aware that the empathy for the people who were forced to be separated from their family might overwhelm you. Anyway, do visit Odusan Unification Tower if you happen to go to Paju! Here is their website if you want to know more details.


🇲🇾 Chok Yan Ting

Traveler in South Korea