Palace Morning Tour
Jogyesa Temple is the center of Zen Buddhism in Korea, and is famous for being located in the city. From the busy streets of Jongno, follow the road towards Anguk Subway Station, and you will see Jogyesa Temple.
The first thing you will notice at the temple are the lovely trees. These locust trees and baeksong trees in front of the Daeungjeon, the main temple building, are about 500 years old. One locust tree is about 26-meter high, and in the summer, provides a large amount of shade to enhance the mood of the temple. The baeksong tree is designated as a Natural Monument.
The Daeungjeon building is a stately building built in 1938. The Dancheong is particularly beautiful with all the different colors painted on it, and inside the building is the statue of Seokgamoni. In front of the Daeungjeon building, you can also see a seven-storey stone pagoda containing Jinsinsari.
Jogyesa Temple does not give off the solemn and traditional air of the other temples located deep in the mountains, or offer the seasonal scenery of the mountains and the sea. But because it is located in the middle of the city, the transportation is convenient, and is well connected to the surrounding areas. It is good for tourists on a tight schedule.
Along the street around Jogyesa Temple are many Buddhist specialty shops, selling such things as prayer beads, Buddhist writings, incense, as well as souvenirs such as dolls and key chains. If you are interested in Buddhism, these stores may be worth looking around.
The Opening and Closing of the Royal Palace Gates and Royal Guard Changing Ceremonies
In ancient times, the royal guards of Joseon Dynasty performed the given task by guarding the Gwanghwamun Gate, the entrance of Gyeongbokgung Palace where the king ruled the country. Since 1469, the ceremony has taken place and its record has been consulted for the present reenactment ceremony.
Sumunjang (Royal Guard) Changing Ceremony
10:00, 14:00 / 20 minutes per ceremony
Gwanghwamun Gate Guard-on-Duty Performance
11:00, 13:00 / 10 minutes per ceremony
Sumungun (Gatekeeper) Military Training (outside Hyeopsaengmun Gate)
09:30, 13:30 / 15 minutes per ceremony
* Please note that the schedule is subject to change.
* Event may be cancelled in case of rain.
Gyeongbokgung Main palace: center of power, politics, economy, and culture
Gyeongbokgung (Palace Greatly Blessed by Heaven) was built in 1395, three years after the Joseon Dynasty was founded, and it served as the main palace for more than five hundred years.
With Mount Bugaksan to its rear and the Street of Six Ministries (today’s Sejongno) outside Gwanghwamun Gate, the main entrance to the palace, Gyeongbokgung stood in the heart of the capital city.
It was steadily expanded over nearly three hundred years before being reduced to ashes during the Japanese invasion of 1592. For the next 276 years the palace grounds were left derelict until finally being rebuilt in 1867 under the leadership of Prince Regent Heungseon Daewongun. The restoration was completed on a grand scale, with 500 buildings crowded together in a labyrinthine arrangement.
Within the palace walls were the Outer Court (oejeon), offices for the king and state officials, and the Inner Court (naejeon), which included living quarters for the royal family as well as gardens for leisure and play. On its extensive premises were other palaces, large and small, including Queen’s residence (Junggung) and the Crown prince’s residence (Donggung).
As Gyeongbokgung was the symbol of national sovereignty, it was demolished during the Japanese occupation. In 1911, ownership of land at the palace was transferred to the Japanese Government-General.
In 1915, on the pretext of holding an exhibition, more than 90 percent of the palace buildings were torn down. Following the exhibition the Japanese leveled whatever still remained.
The Japanese also built their colonial headquarters, the Government-General building, directly in front of Gyeongbokgung. Restoration of Gyeongbokgung to its former glory has been ongoing since 1990.
The colonial Government-General building was removed, and Heungnyemun Gate was restored to its original state. The inner Court and Crown prince’s residence were completed.
Gwanghwamun Gate and the Palace Wall Four gates tell of the dynasty’s glory
Gyeongbokgung Palace is surrounded by five-meter-high walls that extend over 2,404 meters. The walls are pierced by four large gates: Geonchunmun to the east, Gwanghwamun to the south, Yeongchumun to the west, and Sinmumun to the north. The names, in that order, symbolize spring and wood, summer and fire, autumn and metal, and winter and water, and originate from the yin and yang concept and the theory of the five elements. Gwanghwamun, the main gate, has three entrances and a broad, two-story pavilion. Watchtowers once stood at the southeast and southwest corners of the palace wall. The southwest tower was demolished during the Japanese occupation, while the southeast tower, Dong-sipjagak, eventually has become isolated in the middle of a busy street intersection, where it remains today.
Geunjeongjeon and Vicinity Core area of the palace restored to its original magnificence
Geunjeongjeon is the main throne hall of Gyeongbokgung. The name means that ‘all affairs will be properly managed if Your Majesty demonstrate diligence.’ The king’s affairs of state, including meetings, receptions with foreign envoys, and most importantly, the coronation ceremony, were all conducted here. From the outside the hall appears to have two floors, but inside a lofty ceiling reveals a magnificent one story chamber. In front of the hall extends a great courtyard covered with hewn granite stones and enclosed by colonnade which forms a wall. Outside the entrance, a colonnaded outer wall forms another courtyard. To the south of here stands Heungnyemun, the second gate. This outer area of Geunjeongjeon was destroyed during the Japanese occupation, when the Japanese Government-General building was built. In 2001 Heungnyemun, the outer wall, and Yeongjegyo Bridge were restored to their original state.
Sajeongjeon and Vicinity Where the king managed routine state affairs
Sajeongjeon means ‘hall where the king should think deeply before deciding what is right or wrong.’ Here the king held daily morning meetings with his officials, and presided over seminars on state affairs. To the east and west are Manchunjeon and Cheonchujeon, two auxiliary buildings with heated floors for the king’s comfort during the cold seasons.These two buildings were originally connected to Sajeongjeon by long corridors, but the corridors were dismantled during the Japanese occupation and have not been rebuilt, making these halls look like separate buildings. Manchunjeon was burned down during the Korean War and restored in 1988. The series of small rooms in front of Sajeongjeon, called Naetanggo, were used to store private property of the royal household.
Gangnyeongjeon and Gyotaejeon A glimpse into everyday life in the royal household
Gangnyeongjeon was named after the third of the Five Blessings (longevity, wealth, health, love of virtue, peaceful death) and served as the king’s living quarters. Here the king read, rested, and attended to state affairs privately with his entourage. Each room at both sides of Gangnyeongjeon is divided into nine sections and arranged in a “井” layout. Court ladies stayed at night in the rooms surrounding the center room, which was used exclusively by the king. Gyotaejeon is presumed to have been built in 1440. Gyotaejeon was the queen’s main residence, where she oversaw the efficient operation of the palatial household.
Heumgyeonggak and Hamwonjeon Buildings near the Inner Court served the needs of the royal household
Heumgyeonggak lets us glimpse how the king of an agrarian society strived to understand the movements of celestial bodies and to accurately measure time for the benefit of his people. In 1438, King Sejong ordered the construction of Heumgyeonggak, where many of his scientific inventions, including the rain gauge, sundial and water clock, as well as instruments for astronomical observation, were installed. Hamwonjeon, a building used for Buddhist events, is also believed to have been built during King Sejong’s reign. After their destruction by fire several times, these buildings were last rebuilt in 1888, only to be dismantled in 1917, ostensibly to provide building material for Changdeokgung Palace, which had been destroyed by fire that year.
Jagyeongjeon and Vicinity Queen dowager’s residence
Jagyeongjeon was the residence of Queen Dowager Jo, the mother of King Heon-jong, the 24th monarch of the Joseon Dynasty. Queen Dowager Jo played a critical role in bringing King Gojong to the throne. In return, Gojong’s father, Regent Heungseon Daewongun, rebuilt the queen dowager’s residence as the most elegant living quaters on the palace grounds. ‘Jagyeong’ means ‘wish for much happiness for senior royal ladies’ – the king’s mother and grandmother. The original structure was destroyed twice by fires, and the existing complex was built in 1888. Of all the living quarters in Gyeongbokgung, this is the only structure dating to the Joseon period.A number of buildings are clustered in the Jagyeongjeon compound.
To the north is Bogandang, the bed chamber with a heated Ondol, a traditional Korean floor heating system. To the east are Cheongyeonnu and Hyeopgyeongdang, which served as living rooms in the summer. The west wall is decorated with engraved designs symbolizing longevity and various flowering trees, making it perhaps the most beautiful wall in the palace. On the wall surrounding the rear garden is Ten Longevity Chimney.
Donggung and Vicinity Residence of the crown prince
Donggung was the residence for the Crown prince and the Crown princess. The crown prince was regarded as a rising sun, which is why his living quarters were built to the east of the king’s palace. Jaseondang in the west served as the royal couple’s residence; Bihyeongak in the east was where the crown prince studied and took care of state affairs. On the site of Chunbang and Gyebang in the south there used to be government offices for education, protocol, and guards for the crown prince. Donggung was situated outside the royal palace until 1427, when Jaseondang was built under King Sejong. After being burned down during the Japanese invasion of 1592, the East Palace was rebuilt in 1867. Then, in 1914, the Japanese colonial government removed all structures from the area under the pretext of holding an exposition. The buildings we see today were restored in 1999.
Hamhwadang and Jipgyoengdang Residence for concubines and court ladies
To the north of Gyotaejeon, the queen’s living quarters, were residence known as Heungbokjeon and facilities for concubines and court ladies. Over the years, numerous buildings and the servants’ quarters surrounding them were destroyed. Of all the original buildings in this area, only Hamhwadang and Jipgyeongdang remain; they were needed by the Japanese to operate a museum. Heungbokjeon was similar in construction to Gyotaejeon, though one level below in status. Ham-hwadang and Jipgyeongdang are connected by a corridor. One record states that King Gojong received foreign envoys here when he resided in Geoncheonggung.
Hyangwonjeong and Geoncheonggung King Gojong’s palace within a palace
In the rear garden of the concubines’ quarters is a square pond named Hyangwonji, in the center of which lies an islet. A pavilion named Hyangwonjeong stands on this islet. While Gyeonghoeru feels magnificent and masculine, Hyangwonjeong appears intimate and feminine. A bridge once led north to Geoncheonggung, but it was destroyed during the Korean War and a new bridge was built to the south. Hyangwonjeong was created when King Gojong built Geoncheonggung in 1873 to forge political independence from his father. Geoncheonggung included separate living quarters for the king and the queen, as well as a study. It was here that the tragedy struck in 1895, when Queen Myeongseong was assassinated by the Japanese. Geoncheonggung was dismantled in 1909, and in 1939 an art museum opened in its place. After Korea’s liberation from Japan, the art museum was operated as a folk museum until it was removed. In 2007, all buildings but Gwanmungak were restored.
Jibokjae and Vicinity Harmony of Qing Chinese and traditional Korean styles
Because Gyeongbokgung suffered heavy fire damage in 1876, King Gojong moved temporarily to Changdeokgung. He returned in 1885. At that time, Jibokjae and Hyeopgildang Pavilion were moved from Changdeokgung to an area west of Geoncheonggung, King Gojong’s residence, and were used as a library and a reception hall for foreign envoys. Jibokjae’s side walls were made of brick in the Qing Chinese style. From the outside, Jibokjae looks like a one-story building, but inside it has two stories. Parujeong is an octagonal, two-story pavilion with columns decorated in the Qing Chinese style. Hyeopgildang is a traditional Korean house with a heated Ondol floor. The three buildings are connected by interior corridors.
Taewonjeon and Vicinity King Gojong strives to secure legitimacy for his rule
King Gojong was not born a prince to the preceding king. For this reason he and his father, Price Regent Heungseon Daewongun, constantly had to wrangle with questions over the legitimacy of King Gojong’s accession to the throne. As part of King Gojong’s efforts to secure the legitimacy of his reign, he built Taewon-jeon Shrine to house the portraits of preceding kings. Taewonjeon is presumed to have been built in 1868 to house the portrait of King Taejo, founder of the Joseon Dynasty. Later it was used as a royal coffin hall for deceased queens. Mungyeongjeon was built to house the spirit tablets of the deceased. All of these facilities were removed during the Japanese occupation. After the military coup of May 16, 1961, the Presidential Guard Unit of Cheongwadae was stationed here. This area was restored to its present aspect in 2006.
Gyeonghoeru Pavilion The apex of architectural beauty
Gyeonghoeru was where the king threw formal banquets for foreign envoys. The king and his party went up to Gyeonghoeru to enjoy a sweeping view of the palace and Mount Inwangsan. Originally a small pavilion, Gyeonghoeru was greatly expanded in 1412 under King Taejong. The pavilion was burned down during the Japanese invasion of 1592, but rebuilt in 1867 as a wooden, two-story structure with a floor area of 931 square meters. The first level has no walls but 48 stone columns. The second floor has different levels: the three seating bays at the center are highest, the next twelve bays are a few centimeters lower, and the outermost twenty bays are the lowest. The higher his rank, the closer an official was seated to the center. Gyeonghoeru is said to have been built according to the principles of I Ching (Book of Changes).
The three bays at the center of the raised floor symbolize heaven, earth, and man, and the 12 bays around them symbolize the 12 months of the year. The outermost 24 columns symbolize the 24 seasonal subdivisions. On the ridges of the roof are 11 figurines of mythical creatures, the largest number on a roof of any traditional building in Korea. to protect the building from fire or water damage. One of them was excavated during dredging work in 1997 and is now displayed at the National Palace Museum of Korea.
Sujeongjeon and Gwolnaegaksa Government offices inside the palace
Government offices on the Street of Six Ministries (today’s Sejongno) outside the palace were collectively called Gwoloegaksa, and those inside the palace were called Gwolnaegaksa. Gwolnaegaksa was west of the palace’s throne hall, and consisted of many small buildings classified into one of four categories: administrative offices including the Royal Secretariat, which assisted the king with state affairs; offices engaged in Royal family's living and activities including the Office of Eunuchs and Bureau of Ceramic Production; a unit in charge of scientific study such as celestial observation and time measurement; and a military unit responsible for guarding the palace. Of all these buildings, Jiphyeonjeon, the Hall of Worthies, is the only one remaining. It is where Hangeul, the Korean alphabet, was invented under King Sejong. Rebuilt in 1867, its name was later changed to Sujeongjeon. It served as the cabinet office during the Reform Movement of 1894. Nearly all the buildings of Gwolnaegaksa were removed in 1915 by the Japanese to make way for an expo, and the area remains almost vacant today.
National Folk Museum of Korea
The museum is committed to the survey, research, collection and exhibition of cultural relics reflecting various aspects of Korean people and their life today and in the past.
It comprises three permanent exhibition halls focused on the themes of the cultural history, daily activities, and the life of Korean people, and an open-air exhibition area. The museum’s most popular attractions include the exciting hands-on activities and exhibits for children.
Cheongwadae Sarangchae is a space to learn about Korean culture and the history of former Korean presidents. The area is comprised of a planned exhibition hall where various special exhibitions are held, Korean culture exhibition hall, Korean food (hansik) promotion hall on the first floor and Cheongwadae Hall which introduces former Korean presidents and Haengboknuri Hall which presents the future vision of Korea on the second floor.
Highlight of Tour Spot
Most people understand Korea for K-pop and strong IT Industry.
But, have you noticed Korea is the country has thousands of history and a racially homogeneous nation?
If you are international traveler, you might know Seoul is one of rare cities has hundreds years history footprints.
You will see high-tech right next to thousand-year-old tradition. Palace is the one of popular historical places.
Chosun Empire has ended in 1910 while Seoul has been the capital of Josun dynasty for the past 500 years.
There are 5 important palaces you don’t want to miss and they are the most popular places for visitors.
What is first impression of the word "Palace"? Place for kings and noble families? It is true but only the part of it.
You will see the area where kings and families lived with 2000 people ruled whole nation.
There is only parts of palaces remain which makes many people find they are only for king and family.
Palace was the place for discussion how to rule the country.
The palace was like a huge company runs a big organization, nation where 2000 people are working together inside.
Most people now understand the palace only for king and family after modern city development.
After the second world war, family of Korean empire became normal average people and there is no more empire.
All palaces belongs to Republic of Korea. Does your country have king and family?
Do you still have the palace for them? There is no more king and family in Korean society.
But most of Korean all remembers them and their history as they are all important part of history although it was not happy ending.
There were 2 big important functions of palace. "Kweol" is where all governors, ministers, scholars and king got together and made
important discussion and decision.
"Koong" is located in the center of the palace where king and king’s family stay.
You can enjoy more if you understand the whole palace was designed for efficiency of communication with people who visit or stay palace.
There are places for politics, living area for king and family, and gardens. Take a close look and feel how all the functions and locations are designed and connected.
There are 5 palaces in Seoul. Gyeongbokgung, Changdeokgung, Changkyeong-gung, Gyeongungung(Deoksu Palace), and Gyeongheegung.
Eastern Asia palaces are noticed that the mainly common characteristics of the design are "naturalism" and "humanism" but the philosophy behind and representation style element are differed from the country.
Learn about the old days, social classes religious sentiments, the whole 5 thousand years of history of the trendy and high-tech city, Seoul.Learn about issues, information about annual income, and enjoy every hot spots of Seoul with perfect guide.
After understanding the general explanation of Seoul, you will be no longer a stranger in Seoul.Choose the best tour course right now, Seoul City Tour no.2 course.Feel the sentiment of Koreans, and learn the past and present of Seoul through the best Seoul daily city tour.
- Seoul historical ,Cultural and heritage tour of Seoul
- Visit an exhibition center to learn about the past, present and future of Korea’s culture and politics
- Explore Gyeongbokgung Palace, the largest of the Five Grand Palaces and arguably Seoul’s most beautiful
- Learn about life in Korea from ancient times to today at the National Folk Museum
- Witness the importance of Buddhism in Korean culture at Jogyesa Temple
- Hotel pickup and transport by air-conditioned vehicle included