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Bukchon Hanok Village

Coordinates: 37°34′59″N 126°59′01″E / 37.58306°N 126.98361°E / 37.58306; 126.98361
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Bukchon Hanok Village
LocationJongno District, Seoul, South Korea
Coordinates37°34′59″N 126°59′01″E / 37.58306°N 126.98361°E / 37.58306; 126.98361
Original useNeighborhood for the aristocracy
Websitehanok.seoul.go.kr (in English)
Korean name
Revised RomanizationBukchon hanok maeul
McCune–ReischauerPukch'on hanok maŭl

Bukchon Hanok Village (Korean북촌한옥마을) is a residential neighborhood in Jongno District, Seoul, South Korea. It has many restored traditional Korean houses, called hanok. This has made it a popular tourist destination, which has caused some friction with the residents who live there.[1]


The area of Bukchon, which consists of neighborhoods: Wonseo-dong, Jae-dong, Gye-dong, Gahoe-dong and Insa-dong, was traditionally the residential quarter of high-ranking government officials and nobility during the Joseon period. It is located north of the stream Cheonggyecheon and Jongno, hence named Bukchon, which means north village.[2][3]


The Bukchon Hanok Village is preserved in modern society and is renewed as a unique tourist sight. An alleyway of traditional houses lining the street is like time travel. In 1997, amid the movement of urbanization in Seoul, the Asian financial crisis occurred. Under huge financial damage, the Korean government resolved to preserve traditional Hanoks instead of removing them as old buildings.[4] The movement for the preservation of Hanoks occurred in 2000.[5] Close to tourist spots such as Gyeongbokgung Palace and Changgyeonggung Palace, Bukchon Hanok Village is an ideal place to learn about Korean traditional architecture and cultures. A poll of nearly 2,000 foreign visitors, conducted by the Seoul Metropolitan Government in November 2011, stated that exploring the narrow streets of Bukchon was their fourth favorite activity in Seoul.[6]

According to data by the Bukchon Traditional Culture Center, 30,000 people visited the area in 2007. However, after the village was featured in television programmes, such as 2 Days & 1 Night and Personal Taste, the number rose to 318,000 in 2010.[7] Between October 2016 and June 2017, the Tourism Research institute reported that an estimated 37,100 people visited during the week and 54,200 people visited on weekends.[1]

According to the Korea JoongAng Daily, Bukchon Hanok Village was the top destination in Seoul for tourism.[8] Following the rise in popularity, the Korean government is also putting effort into developing Bukchon Hanok village as a new tourist destination. For example, traditional Hanoks are renovated as cultural centers, guesthouses and hotels, restaurants, and tea houses.[9] In 2014, there were about 920 Hanok institutions for commercial uses. [10] However, tourists can visit Hanoks that remain untouched. One example is Baek Inje’s house. Also, renovating Hanoks into cafes is a current trend. Hanok cafes are a type of cafe that offers Korean classic desserts such as rice cake and porridge, as well as trending ones. The reason for the increased population of Hanok cafes is that they offer visitors time to enjoy foods and drinks while experiencing the inside of traditional architecture.Moreover, some Hanoks are renovated into workshops for artists and designers.[11] Those young people purchase and renovate old Hanoks with sustainable materials.[12] Other than sightseeing, there are places where tourists can enjoy various kinds of activities. For example, one can experience the kimchi-making process at the Seoul Kimchi Academy.[13] In addition, the Korean and Seoul organizations offer walking tours around Bukchon Hanok Village that offer tourists a rich experience and understanding of the unique place. Other activities include pedicab tours, photoshoots, and the rental service of Hanbok, Korean traditional clothes.

Concerns from locals[edit]

People currently still live in the area; in 2016, it was reported that 3,534 people lived in the village. Tourists greatly outnumber residents, which has caused some friction. Some residents have put up signs that discourage tourists from loitering near their homes.[1] The Seoul tourism website advises visitors to keep noise levels to a minimum, avoid littering, keep group sizes small (fewer than 10 people per group), and respect the privacy of each home.[14]

The loss of Hanoks is a major problem in Bukchon as well as other Hanok towns. In Bukchon, the funding for the remodeling of Hanoks is not enough, and it makes residents uncomfortable to live in such traditional houses without modern home electrical appliances.[15] Excessive urbanization policies of the town by the government have caused a dramatic decrease in Hanoks as houses. Due to these lasting concerns, it is concerned that residents will disappear from the community and that the town will lose neighborhood connections. In addition, excessive tourism in Bukchon Hanok Village has been an issue for residents. For example, there was a rule in which tourists could visit the Bukchon Hanok Village from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday through Saturday and not visit on Sunday as a result of an arrangement with residents.[16] Moreover, in 2018, residents gathered in their neighborhood and appealed to tourists to respect their privacy [17] Websites such as Visit Seoul note detailed etiquette for tourists during their visit to Bukchon Hanok Village and warn that the place is a residential area before it is a tourist sight. It is advised that tourists refrain from talking in loud voices. The struggle of the local residents caused by the tourist attraction remains a complex issue in Korea.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Choi, Soo-hyang (2018-09-21). "(Yonhap Feature) Overtourism challenges plague S. Korea's top attractions". Yonhap News Agency. Retrieved 2023-08-17.
  2. ^ Joe, Yong-hee (28 June 2002). "Old area offers eye-opening slumber party". Korea JoongAng Daily. Archived from the original on 29 June 2013. Retrieved 24 April 2013.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  3. ^ "Seoul Hanok". hanok.seoul.go.kr. Retrieved 2023-08-17.
  4. ^ <142620127> "Jong Bong-hee - The Hanok renaissance. Koreana. 34(1), 27-29".
  5. ^ "Shon. D., Byun. G., and Choi. S - Identification of Facade Elements of Traditional Areas in Seoul, South Korea. Land, 12(2), 277".
  6. ^ "Mt. Nam Tops List of Foreign Tourists' Favorites". The Chosun Ilbo. 28 November 2011. Retrieved 23 April 2012.
  7. ^ Kim, Hyung-eun (16 November 2012). "Historic Bukchon besieged by tourists, businesses". Korea JoongAng Daily. Archived from the original on 27 January 2013. Retrieved 17 November 2012.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  8. ^ "Korea JoongAng Daily - [WEEKEND GETAWAY] Seoul's top destinations in 2023".
  9. ^ "Visit Korea - Bukchon Hanok Village (북촌한옥마을)".
  10. ^ <96347677> "Jo, W., Lee, C.-K., & Reisinger, Y - Behavioral intentions of international visitors to the Korean hanok guest houses: Quality, value and satisfaction. Annals of Tourism Research, 47, 83–86".
  11. ^ <25044189> "Jahn Jin-sam - Evolution of Hanok--Good or Evil? Traditional Homes Display New Potential. Korea Focus, 15(1), 78–80".
  12. ^ "Culture Trip - Bukchon Hanok Village may be South Korea's best hidden secret".
  13. ^ "Korea Net - How vegan travelers can enjoy and eat well in Korea".
  14. ^ "Visit Seoul - Bukchon Hanok Village". english.visitseoul.net. Retrieved 2023-08-17.
  15. ^ <25044189> "Jahn Jin-sam - Evolution of Hanok--Good or Evil? Traditional Homes Display New Potential. Korea Focus, 15(1), 78–80".
  16. ^ "Quartz - Seoul's Bukchon Hanok Village is fighting back against excessive tourism".
  17. ^ "The Korea Times - Bukchon residents protest excessive tourism".

External links[edit]