Jeonju, located in the southwestern part of the Korean Peninsula in northern Jeolla province has the most favorable of geographical conditions, including vast plains and proximity to the sea. Jeonju has best maintained the Korean traditions and culture through hanok (Korean traditional houses), hansik (Korean traditional cuisine) and hanji (Korean traditional paper) as well as pansori, a Korean traditional genre of musical storytelling performance, which was designated as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2003.
JEONJU Special Features
- Center of Korean Food Industry – Jeonju plays a leading role in the Korean food industry, being a specialized venue for the Korean food cluster and having the best food industry-related R&D infrastructure. Jeonju has been hosting the International Fermented Food Expo (IFFE), the world’s only fermented food exposition.
- Michelin Guide’s Beautiful Places to Visit in Korea – Jeonju Hanok Village has been included in the famous Michelin guide as one of the most beautiful places to visit in Korea. It is not only with the mouthwatering delicacies you’ll get there, but also you’ll be able to witness 700 well preserved traditional houses (Hanok) in one location.
- UNESCO City of Gastronomy – Jeonju has kept its cultural heritage well maintained, particularly with traditional food, thus it was designated by the UNESCO as a City of Gastronomy. Jeonju is popular for Bibimbap, Korea’s main representative dish.
Featured Venues of Jeonju
- GSCO – GSCO, Gunsan Saemanguem Convention Center is in Gunsan, Jeollabuk-do. Gunsan is known for Saemanguem, the biggest land reclamation project in Korea. With this project, it has the world’s longest man-made sea dyke. The facility consists of a convention hall with 2,000-person capacity, 10 meeting rooms and 3,000㎡ wide exhibition halls where free wifi is accessible. Including the 4 star Best Western hotel, there are over 1,000 guest rooms that can be easily accessed near the center. Two historic events held here were the UCLG ASPAC Congress 2016 and ICAMDATA 2016.
- Hotel Le Win – Hotel Lewin in Jeonju, has one large and one small banquet hall suitable for various occasions. The large banquet hall can seat up to 400 people and is suitable for international conferences, seminars, weddings, birthday parties, and other coming-of-age celebrations, while the smaller banquet hall is ideal for smaller conferences, engagement parties, and other events. The Jeonju International Film Festival and 2017 FIFA U World Cup were held here.
- Kensington Resort Jirisan Namwon – A variety of convention services, small and large, can be provided. One main event held here was the Asian Gate Bowl Championship 2016.
Jeonju Featured Activities
- A walking tour on Jeonju – Explore Jeonju Hanok Village on foot
In the heart of the city of Jeonju stand numerous heritage sites, including Pungnammun, Gyeonggijeon Shrine, Jeondong Cathedral, Crafts Exhibition Hall, Jeonju Treasures Center and the Museum of Traditional Wine. All are close by and within walking distance. One which stands out is the Jeonju Hanok Village.
- Gyodong Dawon (교동다원), Best tea flavor and ambiance – Gyodong Dawon is a local favourite and is considered by visitors to be among the best teahouses in Jeonju Hanok Village. Its interior aesthetics and authentic tea flavors continue to attract tea manias and visitors from all over the country. Inside the teahouse compound, two hanoks stand parallel to each other with a narrow yard in between. Six to seven, short, fine-grained wooden tables are set up inside the main hanok which has built over 80 years ago. In addition, Korean traditional decorations can be found throughout the teahouse. The most popular tea at Gyodong Dawon is hwangcha or yellow tea, which, moderately fermented, has a light, clean taste. It is also called ‘goppulcha,’ as it is believed to be an effective cold remedy. The fish painted inside the teacups give an illusion of swimming in the tea. Finally, the wheat crackers served with the tea, go perfectly well with it, enhancing the pleasure of tea drinking.
- Dalsaeneun Dalman Saenggakhanda (달새는 달만 생각한다), Cozy ambiance – Dalsaeneun Dalman Saenggakhanda, which translates to ‘A lark thinks only about the moon,’ is very cozy with its quaint interior and pretty decorations. It is often called the ‘niche teahouse.’ The blackboard on the outside of the building announces the ‘tea of the day,’ while the owner’s self-drawn paintings of flowers, trees and landscapes on the walls inside create a sentimental ambiance. Dim lighting by shaded lanterns enhances the coziness, as well as minimal furniture of only four tables. Of the four tables, the one with the best view is located by the window draped with ramie fabric. Dalsaeneun Dalman Saenggakhanda is a must-see for romantics.
- Gosin (고신), Harmony of past and present – Gosin (‘go’ means old; ‘sin’ means new) is a hanok teahouse that strikes a balance between traditionalism and modernity. The first thing that comes into view as you enter the hanok compound is a white parasol and matching white chairs set against pine trees and shrubs in its yard. The ‘modern’ section of the hanok has a wooden table by the window and a pristine white couch on the opposite side, while the ‘traditional’ section has short wooden tables and floor cushions on ondol (underfloor heating). Even the beverages, bolster the meaning in the name of the teahouse. Visitors may try a range of traditional teas like mogwacha (quince tea), ssukcha (wormwood tea), nokcha (green tea) and yujacha (citron tea), as well as modern drinks like fruit juice and coffee. The owner recommends trying the flavorful kkotcha (flower tea).
- Indulge in the food heaven
Jeonju is perhaps best known for its food. The fertile Honam Plain and the clear waters of the region are said to be contributing factors in the city’s nationwide food fame. Bibimbap is the city’s signature dish, and it can be found everywhere throughout the town. You can also try goldongban, “the food of the kings” from the Joseon period.
- Jeonju’s Lyrical Past – A taste of old Korea
Geumsan-sa, located on the slopes of Mt. Moak, is filled with Korean cultural treasures of stone pagodas, stone lanterns and wooden halls all which are designated national treasures by the government. The centerpiece of Geumsan-sa is the awe-inspiring Mireukjeon Hall, a one and only massive three-story traditional structure in the country which has been designated as National Treasure No. 62.
- Captain of the Honam Plain – Jeonju has, for ages, been the political, economic and cultural center of the Jeolla provinces. Although in modern times it’s has been eclipsed in size by the city of Gwangju, Jeonju remains a compelling destination in the region. Jeonju sits in the heart of the Honam Plain, a wide stretch of lowland that possesses Korea’s most fertile farmland and, hence, is known as the breadbasket (or rice bowl, as it were) of Korea. Not surprisingly, therefore, Jeonju is rightfully famous for having the best food in the country, with the city’s bibimbap acquiring acclaim.
- Jeonju Hanok Village – No place epitomizes old Jeonju better than Jeonju Hanok Village. Located in Pungnam-dong, near the old Pungnammun Gate in the southeast corner of the city, Jeonju Hanok Village is home to one of Korea’s largest collections of Korean traditional hanok homes. Here, you can leisurely stroll through block upon block of hundreds of elegant wooden Korean homes, many of which have now been converted into guesthouses, museums, galleries and teahouses. You could literally spend the day wandering through the neighborhood’s romantic, clay wall-lined alleyways, discovering the neighborhood’s treasures.
- The Sounds of Old Korea – Jeonju has a rich heritage in the Korean traditional arts, especially in music. You would be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t take in some of this musical culture during your stay. The Jeolla provinces are known as the heartland of Korean traditional music. Many of the country’s finest musicians are from this region. Jeonju is famous as the home of Korea’s pansori tradition. Pansori has often been compared to “folk opera,” or the bluegrass tradition of American Appalachia. It’s a form of musical storytelling featuring a single vocalist accompanied by a drummer and is particularly representative of Korea’s culture.
- The Land of Bibimbap – The star of Jeonju’s cuisine is the Jeonju bibimbap. A representative dish of the Joseon era and one of the most popular of Korean foods today, Jeonju bibimbap – rice mixed with vegetables, meat, egg and about 30 other ingredients – is packed with flavour and nutrients and served with an almost intimidating number of side dishes.
- Geumsan-sa Temple – Once you’ve had enough of downtown Jeonju’s charms, you might wish to take a short half-hour bus ride (take the #89 bus from Pungnammun) out of town to nearby Gimje, home to the massive Buddhist monastery of Geumsan-sa, one of Korea’s most important Buddhist temples.
- Hanok Stay – Gateway to traditional living
Built in 1908, Hagindang House is the oldest hanok and the only private residence designated as a cultural asset in Jeonju Hanok Village, a Slow City site. One can experience traditional living through Hanok visits. Nearby, there are cultural attractions including Gyeonggijeon, Jeonjuhyanggyo Confucian School, and Nambu Market.
1. Worindang, Yeongam – Yeongam, the venue for the F1 Korean Grand Prix, is a city of wide open plains and beautiful beaches. It is also home to Worindang (월인당), a hanok minbak (inn). Sitting atop a hill between Wolchulsan and Eunjeoksan Mountains, Worindang offers a remarkable view of the vast plains. All its rooms have ondol flooring, which was completed by layering flat stones at the bottom, spreading loess over them, and covering the top with hanji. Each room is also equipped with a maru, which lets in plenty of light and breeze.
- Seongyojang House, Gangneung – Seongyojang House is an old hanok in Gangneung, which is well known for its Gyeongpo and Jeongdongjin Beaches, as well as well-preserved heritage sites. Outside the house are trees that are hundreds of years old, a large red lotus pond, and a pavilion overlooking Gyeongpoho Lake and East Sea. Inside, the original architectural designs remain, while the kitchen, shower room and restrooms have been renovated for the convenience of the guests.
3. Farm Cottage, Gapyeong – Farm Cottage is an old hanok compound located near Cheongpyeongho Lake and Ihwawon Garden in Gapyeong. Two buildings, Seongchunje and Cheollije, feature a total of ten traditional hanok rooms. The morning sight of mist rising above the tiles of the cottage buildings is not to be missed at this beautiful, old hanok.
4. Ogyeonjeongsa House, Andong – Built more than 430 years ago, Ogyeonjeongsa House stands between Andong Hahoe Village, a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site, and Buyongdae Cliff, which offers a magnificent view of Nakdongang River. In addition to comfortable lodging, this historic hanok offers various hands-on experience programs including traditional games and hanji craft. Moreover, the famous Hahoe Village and Byeongsanseowon Confucian School located nearby provide more special opportunities to immerse in traditional culture and beautiful nature.
5. Hagindang, Jeonju – Built in 1908, the Hagindang was also the first venue to host a performance in Jeonju, thanks to its features of ancient royal architecture such as ceilings that reach the height of two floors and walls that can be propped open to allow more space. Nearby cultural attractions include Gyeonggijeon, Jeonjuhyanggyo Confucian School, and Nambu Market.
6. Gyeongju Hanok Program – Gyeongju Hanok Program offers a special opportunity to explore and stay at one of the ancient hanok-style academies: Woramjae, Seoakseowon, Jongojeong or Dongnakdang. It has been said that history is so rich and alive in Gyeongju, the ancient capital city of Silla Dynasty, that sounds of ancient scholars can still be heard from the yard of the academies. All hanoks have ondol rooms, and offer easy access to Bulguksa Temple, Seokguram Grotto and the Royal Tomb of King Taejonmuyeol.
The name Jeonju literally means “Perfect Region” (from the hanja 全 (전; jeon) for perfect, 州 (주; ju) for region). We welcome you to JEONJU!!!
Featured Image Source: Hanbok Trend and Fashion Show in Jeonju Hanok Village, Feel Korea In Jeonju, March 21, 2017, jeonjucity.kr