Gangwon Province, South Korea
|• Revised Romanization||Gangwon-do|
(Yeongseo: western Gangwon; Yeongdong: eastern Gangwon)
|Subdivisions||7 cities; 11 counties|
|• Governor||Choi Moon-soon (Democratic)|
|• Total||16,875 km2 (6,515 sq mi)|
|• Density||90/km2 (200/sq mi)|
|• Flower||Royal azalea|
|• Tree||Korean pine|
|• Bird||Red-crowned crane|
|ISO 3166 code||KR-42|
(Yeongseo: western Gangwon dialect; Yeongdong: eastern Gangwon dialect)
|Website||Official website (English)|
Gangwon Province is a province of South Korea, with its capital at Chuncheon. It is bounded on the east part by the Sea of Japan, and borders Gyeonggi Province to its west, and North Gyeongsang Province and North Chungcheong Province to its south. Its northern boundary is the Military Demarcation Line, separating it from North Korea's Kangwŏn Province. Before the division of Korea in 1945 Gangwon and Kangwŏn formed a single province. Pyeongchang County in Gangwon hosted the 2018 Winter Olympics and 2018 Winter Paralympics. Gangwon will host the 2024 Winter Youth Olympics.
Gangwon-do was one of the Eight Provinces of Korea during the Joseon Dynasty. The province was formed in 1395, and derived its name from the names of the principal cities of Gangneung (강릉; 江陵) and the provincial capital Wonju (원주; 原州).
In 1896 Korea was redivided into thirteen provinces, and the two districts were merged to re-form Gangwon-do Province. Although Wonju rejoined Gangwon-do province, the provincial capital was moved to Chuncheon, where it remains today.
In 1945 Gangwon-do (along with the rest of Korea) was divided by the 38th parallel north in 1945 into American and Soviet zones of occupation in the south and north respectively, which led to Wonsan joining the province's northern half in 1946 to serve as its administrative center. In 1948, the southern half of the province became part of the new Republic of Korea. As a result of the Korean War Armistice Agreement of 1953, the boundary between the South and North Korean portions of the province was shifted northward to the Military Demarcation Line.
Gangwon-do is bounded on the west by Gyeonggi-do province, on the south by the provinces of Chungcheongbuk-do and Gyeongsangbuk-do. To the north lies the province's North Korean counterpart, Kangwŏn province. The province's landscape is dominated by the Taebaek Mountains (called Taebaek Sanmaek) which almost reach the sea. As a consequence the coast is very steep.
Gangwon-do and its North Korean counterpart Kangwŏn are together referred to as the Gwandong region. The region west of the Taebaek Mountains is called Yeongseo, while the region east of the mountains is called Yeongdong. The term "Yeongdong" is frequently used in reference to transportation services from Seoul, the national capital. Thus, one might catch a bus or train on the "Yeongdong Line," or drive to Gangneung on the Yeongdong Expressway.
Gangwon-do's Köppen climate classification's climate class is sometimes humid subtropical, because in some of its areas, especially in most of Yeongdong, it's Cfa. Otherwise, its climate class is Hot-summer humid continental climate, because it's Dwb in some mountain areas, Dfa in eastern areas, Dfb in eastern mountain areas, and Dwa otherwise. The Taebaek Mountains causes different climates in Yeongdong and Yeongseo.
The climate of Gangwon-do is influenced by the latitude. In summer along with the higher temperature and there is high humidity, but in winter the weather can be very cold owing to high pressure from the east of the Asian continent. According to Korea Meteorological Administration's data, average temperature are very different. In Yongdong, average temperature is 11.0 °C (51.8 °F), and Yeongseo is 10.8 °C (51.4 °F). All of this province's average temperatures range from 6.6 to 13.1 °C (43.9 to 55.6 °F). and the yearly amount of rainfall is 1,300–1,900 millimetres (51.2–74.8 in), and it's concentrated on mountain area. It is one of the snowiest areas in South Korea.
The full area of Gangwon-do (in North Korea and South Korea) is 20,569 km2 (7,941.74 sq mi), South Korea's Gangwon-do covers 16,874.59 km2 (6,515.32 sq mi). The province is renowned for its agricultural produce, especially potatoes and fish (cuttlefish and pollock). Mineral resources from the province include iron, coal, fluorite, limestone and tungsten. There are some hydroelectric, thermoelectric power plants in the region.
Culture and Heritages
Many historical heritages are in this region, like the Later Silla era's Bell of Sangwonsa, North–South States Period era's Iron Seated Vairocana Buddha of Dopiansa Temple, Goryeo era's Main Gate of Imyeonggwan Guesthouse, and Joseon era's Documents of Sangwonsa Temple. Other popular heritages, like Ojukheon are located.
Established in 2002, Chuncheon National Museum is operated by the central government for the purpose of classifying and reserving. The local government also has some of museums, including Park Su-geun Art Museum, and Taebaek Coal Museum. Purpose-built private museums, such as ChamSori Gramophone Edison Museum are being operated.
In Gangwon Province, almost of the regions hold festivals. Gangneung Danoje was listed in UNESCO's Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity
Geographically, Gangwon Province has several national parks as well as some natural monuments.
Because of its geographical environment, Gangwon Province is composed of mountains or basins. For the reason, locals mainly make food with potatoes or buckwheat. All regions of the province have seasoned vegetable rice. For example, Jeongseon County is famous for Jeongseon thistle rice; Yeongwol County is famous for Yeongwol buckwheat rolls; Hwacheon County is famous for Hwacheon trout rice in a stone bowl and Hwacheon goatsbeard rice; and Yanggu County is famous for Yanggu dried green radish cuisine. In coastal regions, they mainly eat fishes and salted seafood. For example, Donghae City is famous for Donghae steamed fish; Sokcho is famous for Sokcho Squid Sausages; and Samcheok is famous for blowfish soup. These are normally very simple and easy to cook, like the province's traditional food.
National Parks & Nature Monuments
Thanks to the Taebaek Mountains, Gangwon Province has 4 national parks & several natural monuments.
- Seoraksan National Park has rocky terrain around the peak, Daecheong-bong. It was also listed in Man and the Biosphere Programme. The government designated the area as a nature reserve in 1965 and UNESCO designated it as a biosphere reserve in 1982. It was also the first Korean national park to be named under the National Park Law in 1970. It is popular with tourists and nature enthusiasts. It is home to many rare taxa of flora and fauna. The reserve has an area of 163.6 square kilometres and includes many mountain peaks measuring over 1,200 metres above sea level, the tallest being Daecheongbong, at an altitude of 1,708 metres. The ranges are composed largely of dissected granite and gneiss. The park is valued for its floral diversity. There are about 1,013 species of plants known, with 822 vascular plant species. Pine trees such as the Siberian pine are abundant on the southern slope while the northern slopes of the mountain range are characterized by oaks and other deciduous trees. Thuja grow Thuja grows in the deep valleys. Dwarf pines and yews grow on low and high slopes. Juniper, hawthorn, Juniper, hawthorn and Manchurian fir can be found. Other plants include forsythias and saw-worts. Rare plants in the reserve include Hanabusaya asiatica. 1,562 animal species have been classified so far. Local fauna include otters, Siberian flying squirrel, kestrel, Chinese sparrowhawk, lenok, Chinese minnow, and spotted barbel. Endangered animal taxa include Tristram's woodpecker, Korean goral, and Korean musk deer. Cultural landmarks in the reserve include the Buddhist temples Baekdamsa and Sinheungsa.
DMZ Museum 
This large museum has a surprising amount of English in its narration of the history of the DMZ, as well as exhibits such as US Pow letters and extensive photos. It's inside the Tongil Security Park, on the left side of the road as you approach the Goseong Unification Observatory.
- Odaesan is located in the center of Baekdudaegan, and it was assigned as a national park in 1975. Odaesan is one of the holy places of Korean Buddhist cultures.
- Chiaksan is derived from the southwest side of Odaesan, and it's close to Wonju. In 2014, Wonju city & Korea National Park Service collaborated to make walk routes.
- Taebaeksan is a traditional and historical "holy mountain," and it was assigned as a national park on October 22, 2016. Taebaeksan Mountain is located at the fork of Baekdudaegan Mountain Range, which starts its range from bagdu into the south, heading to Jirisan Mountain. Ever since it has been designated as a provincial park, Taebaeksan Mountain has widened its realm and thus designated as the 22nd national park. The park ranges from Gangwon-do Province to Gyeongsangbuk-do Province (Bongwha-gun) and is 70.052km in area. There are various cultural assets in Taebaeksan Moutain including Cheonjaedan, a place where a harvest ceremony had held for thousands of years, and Geomryongso, source of the Han River. It also has various and outstanding ecological landscapes including the biggest wildflower habitat in the country (Geumdaebong Peak to Daedeoksan Mountain), yew habitat around Janggunbong Peak, and Baekcheon Valley, the world's southernmost lenok habitat.
Hantaan River penetrates Cheorwon County's volcanic terrain having several natural monuments. This area was a place of a fierce battle during the Korean War and it is a common rafting route nowadays. Around this river, the first Hantavirus hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome virus, Hantaan River virus was found. This virus was named after the river. Hantavirus Genus is referred this virus's name.
Walking where culture and nature meet 
Gangneung is a very rich site, full of beaches connecting each other from north to south along the coast, these beaches are covered with pine tree forests, planted by natives in order to block the sea breeze. Thanks to the proximity of these forests and the beaches, it is very calm and, also, funny to take a walk back and forth. Summer in Gangneung is full of floral scents mixed with the sea. When traveling around Gangneung coffee shops and Chodang Sundubu can’t be missed. Sundubu is made of pure water of the Oriental Sea, it takes the name from Heo Gyun’s father, Chodang. Anmok Port, a little one, got to know as a street fulfilled with coffee vending machines.These vending machines are well known because of their coffee blend, that tastes so different because of the way their owners mix it. It is said that this street turned into coffee street because it is a good place where coffee experts discuss about coffee and love to make comparisons among the coffee products sold from these vending machines. The real adventure is to take a walk along this street with a paper cup of coffee, even if this attitude, nowdays, tends to disappear because of the multiple coffee shops.
The Second Tunnel
“Found in the DMZ” was found by Korean guards listening to the sound of explosions under the ground during their shift. After determined excavation on March 19, 1975, “The Second Tunnel” was discovered. It was for a sudden raid by the North Korean Army into South Korea. The second tunnel is composed of a firm granitic layer, is 3.5 km in length, and various in depth from 50m-160m. About 1 km of it is nowadays open to visitors.
Woljeong-ri Station 
Woljeong-ri station is a historical building in the DMZ at Cheorwon. This tourist attraction, which can only be visited on escorted security tours of the DMZ, is an abandoned train station on the northernmost end of Korail's Gyeongwon Line. Near the station there was a small yard where rail stock was stored or shunted before leaving for Wonsan, now in North Korea, along the former Gyeongwon Line. Behind the station building there is the wreck of a train bombed during the Korean War. The train was used by the North Korean army and was bombed by U.N. forces. In 2012, as part of the history of its time, it had become a place where artists meet and exhibit their works.
Goseong Unification Observatory Building 
While this area was part of North Korea from 1945–53, today this building is the closest most South Koreans can get to glimpsing that world. There are binoculars installed on the viewing deck, and inside the observatory is a large map labelled with mountain names and the locations of military installations. Kiosks here sell liquor, cash, postage stamps and other souvenirs from North Korea. On a clear day, you can get a good view of Kumgang-san, about 20 km to the west. Despite the solemnity of the place, the parking lot is cluttered with souvenir shops and restaurants. On the other side of the lot is the Korean War Exhibition Hall, which provides something of a primer on the war.
Gangwon Province has many tourist attractions, as well as natural monuments, e.g., Namiseom, Tong-il Observatory (similar of Dora Observatory), Soyang Dam and Jeongdongjin. A memorial center of the novelist Lee Hyo-seok is in Pyeongchang County. Along the coast of the Sea of Japan, many seaside resorts are located, including Gyongpo Seaside Resort.
The province also houses the largest Ski Resort in South Korea, the Yongpyong Resort.
According to the 2015 census, 16.4% of the population follows Buddhism and 24.1% follow Christianity (17.5% Protestantism and 6.6% Catholicism). 58.7% of the population is not religious and 0.8% of the population follows other religions.
In Gangwon-Province, some main lines are being operated. First of all, Jungang Line is connected to Seoul Metropolitan Subway System. Yeongdong Line and Taebaek Line are derived from the Jungang Line. Gyeonggang Line was constructed, but currently it's not perfectly connected to the Seoul Metropolitan Subway System. KTX trains launched from Seoul to Gangneung on 22 December 2017 via Gyeonggang Line, but they still run a part of the Jungang Line. In 2016, a plan was passed to extend the KTX line from Gangneung to Sokcho.
Gyeongwon Line and North Dong-hae Line of the main lines are blocked by the Military Demarcation Line.
Gangwon Province has several military airbases, while civil passengers can use only two airports, Wonju Airport and Yangyang International Airport. Wonju Airport is shared with the Republic of Korea Air Force, like Daegu International Airport and Gimhae International Airport,
Total Gangwon Province's road length is 9,800 km (6,100 mi), and the pavement was completed 75.1%. Some historical and traditional ridges have survived, like Daegwallyeong. It has many routes, like a Route 7 which is included in AH6.
It also has Controlled-access highways. Yeongdong Expressway is the first express way in the region, and Gwangju–Wonju Expressway, Jungang Expressway, Donghae Expressway, Seoul–Yangyang Expressway were built, afterwards. Seoul–Yangyang Expressway has the longest road tunnel in South Korea.
Like the railways, Gangwon Province is connected by intercity bus networks in South Korea. All cities and counties have intercity terminals, which connect other cities or counties in the region or connect outer cities, districts, and Inchon International Airport.
Gangwon Province has many harbours. Some harbours are a fishing port, but other harbours are used for special purposes. For example, Mukpo Harbour functions as an exporting hub for cement & coal from Taebaek Mountains. Sokcho Harbour functions as a fishing port, a passenger harbour and an exporting hub for iron ore. Also recently, Korea Gas Corporation built the LNG Platform Center in Hosan Harbour.
- Domestic Ferry
- International Ferry
Gangwon FC bases itself in the region, owned by the Gangwon Province. Jin-seon Kim, the Governor of Gangwon Province announced to establish it on April 28, 2008 and it was established on December 18, 2008.
Also Daeyung Killer Whales was established in 2016, originally based in the region.
Wonju DB Promy is a professional basketball team, based in Wonju, Gangwon Province. It was established 1996. Currently, it donated coals in the collaboration with a local government-owned company, Korea Coal Corporation
List of All Gangwon Province's sport clubs
|K League 1||Gangwon FC||2008|
|Korea National League||Gangneung City FC||1999|
|K3 League Advance||Chuncheon FC||2010|
|K3 League Basic||Pyeongchang FC||2008|
|WK League||Hwacheon KSPO WFC||2011|
|KBL||Wonju DB Promy||1996|
|Asia League Ice Hockey||High1||2004|
|Asia League Ice Hockey||Daemyung Killer Whales||2016|
Significant Sport Events
The 1999 Asian Winter Games were held in Gangwon Province between 30 January and the 6th of February 1999. South Korea, the host nation ranked 2nd in these games.
The 2018 Winter Olympics was held from 9 to 25 February 2018 and the 2018 Winter Paralympics was held from 9 to 18 March 2018. Almost all of the events were held in Pyeongchang County. Alpine skiing events were held in Jeongseon County, while some of indoor events were held in Gangneung.
The 2024 Winter Youth Olympics is scheduled to be held in Gangwon Province.
|— City —|
|1||Wonju||원주시||原州市||341,130||1 eup, 8 myeon, 16 haengjeong-dong|
|2||Chuncheon (Capital city)||춘천시||春川市||283,951||1 eup, 9 myeon, 15 haengjeong-dong|
|3||Gangneung||강릉시||江陵市||215,721||1 eup, 7 myeon, 13 haengjeong-dong|
|6||Samcheok||삼척시||三陟市||70,371||2 eup, 6 myeon, 4 haengjeong-dong|
|— County —|
|8||Hongcheon County||홍천군||洪川郡||70,961||1 eup, 9 myeon|
|9||Cheorwon County||철원군||鐵原郡||48,699||4 eup, 7 myeon|
|10||Hoengseong County||횡성군||橫城郡||46,662||1 eup, 8 myeon|
|11||Pyeongchang County||평창군||平昌郡||43,782||1 eup, 7 myeon|
|12||Jeongseon County||정선군||旌善郡||38,993||4 eup, 5 myeon|
|13||Yeongwol County||영월군||寧越郡||40,330||2 eup, 7 myeon|
|14||Inje County||인제군||麟蹄郡||33,061||1 eup, 5 myeon|
|15||Goseong County||고성군||高城郡||30,749||2 eup, 4 myeon|
|16||Yangyang County||양양군||襄陽郡||27,515||1 eup, 5 myeon|
|17||Hwacheon County||화천군||華川郡||26,489||1 eup, 4 myeon|
|18||Yanggu County||양구군||楊口郡||24,264||1 eup, 4 myeon|
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Gangwon-do.|
- Gangwon travel guide from Wikivoyage
- Official website (in English)
- 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, Official Homepage