Tradition & Culture - Bukchon Hanok Village
※ Precautions to Take When Visiting Bukchon Hanok Village
Due to the increasing amounts of visitors to the Bukchon Hanok Village area, the number of
complaints from residents living in the village about disruptions in their neighborhood has increased.
Unlike Namsangol Hanok Village or other folk villages, Bukchon Hanok Village is not meant to be a
tourist attraction. Although many of Seoul's hanoks can be found clustered together in this area,
Bukchon Hanok Village is a residential neighborhood where people actually live.
Please keep this in mind and follow the precautions below when visiting Bukchon Hanok Village:
- Please keep noise levels to a minimum (e.g. no loud voices, horsing around, filming, etc.)
especially in the 31 Gahoe-dong area
- Please do not litter
- Please keep group visits to a maximum of 10 people
- Please do not use microphones or loudspeakers
- Please do not take photos or film the insides of houses, even if the door is open
Please note: The heavily residential areas of Bukchon Hanok Village (31 Gahoe-dong, 33
Gahoe-dong, etc.) will no longer be offered as part of the Seoul City Walking Tours.
About Bukchon Hanok Village
Bukchon Hanok Village sits between the two palaces of the Joseon Dynasty, Gyeongbokgung and
Changdeokgung. Unlike other hanok villages, Bukchon was not created for tourists but it is a living
village inhabited by Seoulites, comprising about 900 hanoks spread across 11 dongs
(administrative sections). The reason there are so many traditional houses in this area is that many
yangbans (people from the ruling class) lived here during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910).
With its recently-opened hanok gallery, craft workshop and hanok restaurant, the village is
increasingly important as a center for culture and the arts. There are also a number of museums of
traditional Korean culture including the Gahoe Museum, the Han Sangsu Embroidery Museum, the
Museum of Korean Art and many more.
31, Gahoe-dong: the center of Bukchon Hanok Village
The most famous part of Bukchon Hanok Village is Gahoedong-gil (Alley) in the 31, Gahoe-dong
area which amazes visitors with the sight of hundreds of hanoks clustered together in midtown
Seoul and with the stunning panoramic views over the city from the top of the alley. Gahoedong-gil
is also popular with tourists because it is said to be the finest of the "Bukchon 8 Views", eight great
views of Bukchon Hanok Village which also include the view of Changdeokgung from the Wonseo-
dong area and the open hanoks on the path past the stone walls of Changdeokgung. Preservation
of the past is paramount here and so the area’s recently opened western-style restaurants and
clinics were all established inside hanoks, maintaining the traditional exteriors.
Rakgojae - a hanok guesthouse
Rakgojae, which means “enjoying the arts of scholars in the old days,” is a guesthouse for
international visitors. It was originally founded in 1934 for Jindanhakhoe (an academic institute) in
order to research the history and literature of Korea but was converted to its present use in 2003.
Unlike other Bukchon hanoks, Rakgojae is surrounded by walls and has a spacious courtyard. The
inside of the house has all the modern facilities which overseas guests would expect whilst outside
in the courtyard is a beautiful tranquil garden of pine trees and bamboo.
The traditional liquor brewery
The traditional liquor brewery
Makgeolli (raw rice wine) is a traditional Korean alcoholic drink which is also popular with visitors
from abroad. In Gahoe-dong, there is a traditional liquor brewery where makgeolli is made
according to the time-honored method by Kim Taeksang, a keen student of traditional liquor
making, who also brews yakju (medicinal wine) and soju (distilled liquor). At the brewery, visitors can
learn about the brewing process of a type of soju called “samhaeju,” a type of liquor once served at
palace functions. Samhaeju, which is colorless, is matured several times at a low temperature giving
it an intense flavor and a very pleasant aftertaste.
At Gahoe Museum, visitors can explore the role of symbol-bearing talismans in the lives of Koreans.
Symbols include the kalopanax tree whose sharp thorns are said to prevent possession by evil
spirits, tiger bone which is said to ward off malicious spirits and illness, and a peach tree branch
which is also said to repel diseases and bad spirits. Some talismans can be used to accompany
family prayers for good health and when making a wish. The museum also houses a variety of
landscape and folk paintings.
A selection of talismans
Museum of Korean Art (former Museum of Korean Buddhist Art)
The museum first opened in 1993 as the Museum of Korean Buddhist Art, but was re-opened in
2011 as the Museum of Korean Art to include Korean relics and artwork that span various genres.
The Museum of Korean Art houses more than 6,000 Buddhist artworks including paintings,
sculptures, crafts and ritual items. Of special artistic value are Buddhist paintings and statues of the
Buddha from the Joseon Dynasty which have given experts some very useful insights. The museum
also organizes a program of temporary exhibitions alongside its permanent collection.
It is recommended to book a Bukchon Hanok Village Walking Tour Guide at least three days in
advance via the website. Tours start from the right-hand side of Unhyeongung (Palace) and last
approximately three hours. Unhyeongung can be reached via Exit 4, Anguk Station, Subway Line 3.
For further information, call +82 (0)2 2171 2459.
Bukchon Traditional Culture Center (+82 (0)2 3707 8388) can provide a walking guidebook for
Bukchon Hanok Village although visitors are advised to get detailed information about the village
from the website in advance in order to make the most of their visit.
Another tourist attraction close to the village is Gyedong-gil (Alley), the location for “Winter Sonata,”
a famous Korean television drama series.
A vintage door handle on the main gate to a hanok
Sonamu (pine tree) Gallery