Ikseon-dong is gaining attention as a new attraction in Seoul. Despite being one of the oldest neighborhoods in the center of Seoul along with Jonggak, Myeong-dong, Dongdaemun, and Gwanghwa-mun, Ikseon-dong was not as well-known until now. It only recently started to become a trend as young artists and entrepreneurs began to open businesses like cafes, restaurants, and handicraft shops with unique concepts and designs. Find your way through the maze-like streets of Ikseon-dong for a personal treasure hunt!
The charm of 100 years of history, Ikseon-dong Hanok Alley
Ikseon-dong’s Hanok Alley
Ikseon-dong’s Hanok Village was first established in the 1920s, and with passing time, modernism had caught up with tradition to create the unique atmosphere found here today. Despite its recent popularity as a tourist attraction, the village is still a lived-in neighborhood, home to many residents.
The twists and turns of narrow alleys may seem all the same, but each path is lined with attractive shops and cafés decorated with characteristics of their own. It’s no surprise that these alleyways are referred to as “photo zones” as the colorful shops make a perfect backdrop for photogenic moments. There are no directions or guide maps within the village, so it’s advised to take note of any shops or murals that stand out to prevent yourself from getting lost.
One of the many unique shops found in Ikseon-dong Hanok Alley is Vintage Bonnie. Vintage Bonnie specializes in selling handmade products with a retro design such as clothing, kitchenware, and other household items. A well-organized showcasing of colorful and elaborate kitchenware can be found on one side, while a fine line of vintage-style clothing fills the other side of the store. A variety of goods are available at reasonable prices, including adorable fruit-shaped accessories and lovely animal dolls.
- Ikseon-dong Hanok Alley
- ☞ Address: Areas of Supyo-ro 28-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul
- ☞ Directions: Jongno 3(sam)-ga Station (Seoul Subway Line 5), Exit 4. → Cross the street and walk straight for approx. 300m along Donghwamun-ro 11-gil Street. (Approx. 3 min)
- Vintage Bonnie
- ☞ Address: 21-17, Supyo-ro 28-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul
- ☞ Directions: Jongno 3(sam)-ga Station (Seoul Subway Line 5), Exit 4. → Cross the street and walk straight for approx. 300m along Donghwamun-ro 11-gil Street. → Take a right turn and walk to the pink building ahead.
- ☞ Operating hours: 12:00-21:00 (Closed Mondays)
- ☞ Vintage Bonnie website: www.vintagebonnie.com (Korean only)
Transform into a Korean at Kukminhanbok Chabim!
Interior of hanbok rental shop, Kukminhanbok Chabim
For unforgettable memories, try on traditional Korean clothes - hanbok! Ikseon-dong’s hanbok rental shop Kukminhanbok Chabim is located only 15 minutes away from the Hanok Alley. The shop offers a wide range of hanbok designs to choose from, including both traditional and modern hanbok. Try on a hanbok of vibrant colors for gorgeous photo results on a bright, sunny day. In addition to hanbok rental service, the shop also provides styling options for your hair as well as accessories to match your hanbok.
- Kukminhanbok Chabim (Insa-dong branch)
- ☞ Address: 4F, 16, Insadong-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul
- ☞ Directions: Jongno 3(sam)-ga Station (Seoul Subway Line 5), Exit 5 → Cross the street and follow the road under Nagwon Music Mall → Turn left at the T-intersection → Walk for approx. 30m and the shop will be on the left.
- ☞ Operating hours: 10:00-20:00 (Open all year round)
- * Operating hours are extended until 22:00 during Gyeongbokgung Palace Night Admission.
- ☞ Rental fees
- - Traditional hanbok: 13,000 won for 4 hours / 25,000 won for one day
- - Fusion hanbok: 20,000 won for 4 hours / 35,000 won for one day
- ☞ Website: www.kukminhanbok.com (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
Authentic Korean pork cutlet, Gyeongyangsik 1920
Outer appearance of Gyeongyangsik 1920
Restaurant Gyeongyangsik 1920 offers authentic Korean pork cutlet menus just like those served in the past. The restaurant’s name derives from the term gyeongyangsik, which refers to restaurants serving quick and light meals that originated from Western restaurants in Japan, which became popular in Korea during the 1970s and ‘80s. The interior is designed with retro-style pink curtains and large sofas, making you feel as if you have slipped into the past.
The two most representative menus at Gyeongyangsik 1920 are dongaseu (pork cutlet) and Hamburg steak. The pork cutlet uses tender pork sirloin and Hamburg steak is served with a savory combination of carrots, celery, onions, and a fried egg. Risotto made with butter and cream is also served along with the main menus for a full kick of flavors.
Gyeongyangsik 1920 often has a long waiting line during meal hours. If you happen to visit during a busy time, make a reservation at the entrance to receive a text message when your turn comes up so you can make better use of your time instead of waiting in line.
- Gyeongyangsik 1920
- ☞ Address: 17-30, Supyo-ro 28-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul
- ☞ Directions: Jongno 3(sam)-ga Station (Seoul Subway Line 5), Exit 4. → Cross the street and walk straight for approx. 200m along Donghwamun-ro 11-gil Street. (Approx. 3 min)
- ☞ Operating hours: 12:00-23:00 (Break time 15:00-17:00 / Open all year round)
Peaceful healing experience at the historic Unhyeongung Royal Residence
Scenery of Unhyeongung Royal Residence
Unhyeongung Royal Residence was once the house of Heungseon Daewongun, the father of Joseon Dynasty’s 26th ruler, King Gojong (r. 1863-1907). Despite its location in the middle of the city, Unhyeongung Royal Residence remains peaceful and quiet. The harmony of traditional buildings with green trees in the background is just like a work of art. In particular, Unhyeongung Royal Residence’s backyard is filled with trees that provide shade for a perfect resting spot during hot summers.
Reenactment of King Gojong and Empress Myeongseong’s Marriage Ceremony
(Credit: Unhyeongung Royal Residence)
A variety of events are prepared for visitors to enjoy at Unhyeongung Royal Residence. A major must-see event at Unhyeongung Royal Residence is the reenactment of King Gojong and Empress Myeongseong’s marriage ceremony that takes place twice a year. The first ceremony for this year has already taken place but the next ceremony is due to take place on September 30.
- Unhyeongung Royal Residence
- ☞ Address: 464, Samil-daero, Jongno-gu, Seoul
- ☞ Directions: Anguk Station (Seoul Subway Line 3), Exit 4. Walk approx. 100m to Unhyeongung Royal Residence. (Approx. 2 min)
- ☞ Operating hours
- - Early April - Late October: 09:00-19:00 (Last admission 18:30)
- - Early November – Late March: 09:00-18:00 (Last admission 17:30)
- * Closed Mondays (except when Monday is a public holiday)
- ☞ Admission: Free
- Reenactment of King Gojong and Empress Myeongseong’s Marriage Ceremony
- ☞ Event period and location:
- - First half year: 14:00-16:00 April 29 / Unhyeongung Royal Residence front yard
- - Second half year: 14:00-16:00 September 30 / Unhyeongung Royal Residence front yard
- ☞ Website: www.unhyeongung.or.kr (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
Experience Korea’s warm-heartedness, Pojangmacha Street
Ikseon-dong Pojangmacha Street
Follow the streets of Ikseon-dong leading to Nagwon Shopping Street and you will notice tented food stalls. These food stalls that also frequently appear in Korean dramas are called pojangmacha. Pojangmacha usually consists of a cooking area and small dining tables where customers can see the cooking process right in front of their eyes.
Meals at Ikseon-dong’s Pojangmacha Street
Pojangmachas offer a variety of beloved Korean street-foods such as jeon (pancakes), udon, ramyeon, eomuk (fish cake), tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes), and more. Most menus are available at a low-cost, usually less than 10,000 won, and go great with alcohol. For an unforgettable night out in Korea, don’t forget to stop by Ikseon-dong’s Pojangmacha Street!
- Ikseon-dong Pojangmacha Street
- ☞ Directions: Jongno 3(sam)-ga Station (Seoul Subway Line 5), Exit 6. → The 100m-long street leading to Donghwamun-ro 11-gil is Ikseon-dong Pojangmacha Street.
- ☞ Operating hours: 19:00-02:00 (next day)
- * Operating hours of each pojangmacha may differ, but many operate with the hours listed above.
- ☞ Jongno-gu Cultural Tourism website: tour.jongno.go.kr (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
- ☞ 1330 Korea Tourism Hotline: +82-2-1330 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)