When talking about Gangneung in Gangwon-do, Sin Saimdang (1504-1551) and Yi I (pen name Yulgok, 1536-1584) are people that muse be in it. Knowing that Sin Saimdang is the one engraved on the 50,000 won currency of Korea and Yi I is the one on the 5,000 won currency, one may understand the meaning of Ojukheon House. The house was where Sin Saimdang, a symbol of a good wife and wise mother, lived and her son Yi I was born. She was considered as a genius painter with excellence in poetry and painting at the time. Sin Saimdang was born and lived to the age of 38 and Yi I was born and grew to 5 years old here.
“Ojukheon (black bamboo house, 烏竹軒)” got its name because it had lots of black bamboo. There is also a room in anchae (women’s quarters) with a name plate that reads “Mongryongshil (dream dragon room, 夢龍屋)”. It was named as such because Sin Saimdang dreamed a dragon when she carried and gave birth to Yi I. Even trees in the house have a long history as shown by Yulgokmae (a 600-year-old plum tree), a crape-myrtle over 600 years in a yard, an old pine tree in front of Munseongsa Sadang and a bamboo forest surrounding the house. Yulgok Memorial Hall, Folk Musenum, Pine Souvenir Shop and Ojukheon Municipal Museum are housed all in one place with Ojukheon. It was also the main stage of a Korean TV drama centering on Sin Saimdang “Saimdang, Light’s Diary.”
* This article is based on Top 10 Tourist Routes recommended by Korea Tourism Organization.
24, Yulgok-ro 3139beon-gil, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do