Jeonju is 1h30 from Seoul by train, in the province of Jeollanam-do. It is a city known to tourists, as it is home to a very beautiful village of traditional Korean houses. Often, old villages look like sleeping beauties. All is calm and serenity. Not so in Jeonju  ! It is a very dynamic place, where it is easy to combine visiting tourist sites with cultural activities. Not to mention its many good addresses for budding gourmets.

Although very touristy, Jeonju is charming, with its hanok village bordered to the east by pretty mountains, its incredible cultural richness, its gastronomy and its particularly lively nightlife. It will appeal to all those who want to discover a more “provincial” Korea, without going too far from Seoul or going off the beaten track.

The summary below will help guide you through this long presentation of Jeonju. And to complete this tourist guide of Jeonju , you will also find a map and indications to guide you in the city.Contents

  1. Jeonju Hanok Village
  2. Pungnammun Gate
  3. Gyeonggijeon and the Royal Portrait Museum
  4. Jeondong Catholic Cathedral
  5. Jeonju Hyangggyo
  6. Omokdae and Imokdae
  7. Jaman Mural Village
  8. Foodie Jeonju
    • The bibimbap, this essential dish
      • Where to eat a bibimpbap in Jeonju?
    • Gyodong Dawon Tea House
    • Nambu Market
  9. Jeonju the cultural
    • Jeonju International Sori Festival
    • Hanji making workshops
  10. How to get to Jeonju?
    • Map of Jeonju and its sights

Jeonju Hanok Village

It’s quite unique to see a collection of more than 700 traditional houses still inhabited within a decidedly modern city like Jeonju . It is in the village that cultural and tourist activities are concentrated: many hanok have been transformed into a tea room or a guest house, some host craft workshops or hanbok shops , the traditional Korean garment.

One of the best-known traditional houses, and certainly one of the oldest, is called Hakindang . It is preserved as Folklore Property No. 8. It is now a guest house, made up of a harmonious set of pavilions, surrounded by a beautiful pond. If you pass by, you may be lucky enough, like me, to find the doors open and to be able to take an admiring look.

Hakindang House in Jeonju.

In Jeonju , the arteries are wide, and it is pleasant to walk there. It is sometimes necessary to deviate a little from the all-troubled path, to discover pretty houses with gardens in the narrower streets. Here, the slow life takes on its full meaning: time seems suspended, we slow down, we take the time to stroll. If you decide to sleep in a hanok , you will wake up in absolute calm, which contrasts with the daytime activity. You can even hear the rooster crow!

In Korean: 전주한옥마을 ( Jeonju hanok maeul )
Address: 29 Eojin-gil, Wansan-gu
Transportation: From Jeonju station, take express bus 5-1 or 79 and get off at “Jeondong station”.

Pungnammun Gate

Jeonju ‘s South Gate is called Pungnammun (National Treasure No. 308), and it’s the only one in the city still standing today (after being destroyed by fire in 1767 and being rebuilt in 1768). It is the only remnant of Jeonju Fortress , demolished in 1907 by Japanese colonial forces.

Its architecture is quite unique, as its columns span the first and second floors of a wooden superstructure. You can’t visit the inside, but you can freely walk around it. In the evening, it is very nicely lit.

In Korean: 전주 풍남문 ( Jeonju Pungnammun )
Address: 1 Pungnammun 3-gil, Wansan-gu
Open all year round.

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Gyeonggijeon and the Royal Portrait Museum

The Gyeonggijeon shrine dedicated to the Yi clan of Jeonju is located in a huge shaded park, which is very pleasant to walk through. Many places are good for selfies, and many Koreans in hanbok pose. In addition to the park and its countless buildings, don’t forget to visit the Royal Portrait Museum, which houses the portrait of King Taejo, the founder of the Joseon dynasty.

We owe the practice of royal portraits ( eojin in Korean) to Confucianism: according to this philosophy, a portrait was equivalent to a spiritual representation of the person painted on the painting. Objects of worship and symbols of the divine authority of kings, they were often made in full size, with a wealth of detail on the clothes. Painting a royal portrait was a huge honor for court artists, and those who were allowed to do so were chosen very rigorously.

The portrait of King Taejo

To find out more, you can consult the article I dedicated to this essential visit: Gyeonggijeon and the Museum of Royal Portraits in Jeonju .

In Korean: 경기전 ( Gyeonggijeon )
Address: 44 Taejo-ro, Wansan-gu
Entrance fee: 3,000 won (approx. 2.00 USD)

Jeondong Catholic Cathedral

Jeondong Cathedral (National Historic Site No. 288) is across from Gyeonggijeon. Its Romanesque and Byzantine style and its red bricks contrast with the other buildings of the Hanok village of Jeonju . The twelve-windowed central bell tower, with its domed twin towers on either side of the central spire, is particularly beautiful.

This historically significant church was built on the site where, in 1791, two early Korean Christians, Yun Ji-chung and Gwon Sang-yeon, were the country’s first Catholic martyrs. Designed by Father Poisnel, a French churchman, it was completed in 1914.

In Korean: 전동성당 ( Jeondong Seongdang )
Address: 51 Taejo-ro, Wansan-gu
Open year-round. Free admission.

Jeonju Hyangggyo

Of all the traditional buildings in Jeonju City , the most elegant is said to be this Confucian school, especially in the fall. And it’s not me who would say the opposite! With its five ginkgo trees that are over 400 years old and its peaceful atmosphere, I was carried away by the memory of the scholars of the Joseon Dynasty who studied here.

Jeonju Hyanggyo was a public institute of secondary education during the Joseon Dynasty. There are two distinct spaces: the Daeseongjeon shrine, in the center, was used for rituals. Myeongnyundang Hall was used for study. Today, it is a place where we seek to educate children in traditional values ​​and ethics in general. Rites dedicated to Confucius are performed there twice a year, in spring and autumn.

It is such a beautiful and romantic place that it is often used as a film set.

In Korean: 전주향교 ( Jeonju hyanggyo )
Address: 139 Hyanggyo-gil, Wansan-gu
Open 9am-6pm in summer, 10am-5pm in winter. Free admission.

Omokdae and Imokdae

You have to go east of the village to visit the two historic pavilions Omokdae and Imokdae. You must first climb a hill to reach Omokdae, where King Taejo is said to have rested after a victorious battle against the Japanese. Walk around the wooden walkway, so as not to miss the very pretty viewpoints of the hanok village below.

A bridge across the expressway then takes you to Imokdae on Mount Seungamsan. This place is said to have been a playground for King Mokjo, the great-great-grandfather of King Taejo. A 15th century ballad tells that as a child, Mokjo played war here with his friends.

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If you were to see only one of these monuments, prefer Omokdae, which is more scenic.

Omokdae Korean traditional pavilion in Jeonju

In Korean: 오목대 ( Omokdae ), 이목대 ( Imokdae )
Address: 55 Girin-daero, Wansan-gu
Open year-round. Free admission.

Jaman Mural Village

Not far from the two pavilions Omokdae and Imokdae, there is an old area of ​​Jeonju , a little abandoned, which has been revitalized by the realization of murals. Many take characters from Studio Ghibli animated films (Totoro, Howl’s Moving Castle, etc.) or are representations linked to popular culture.

These very colorful representations give freshness to this place and make the walk a very pleasant moment, even though we are in a disadvantaged neighborhood.

In Korean: 자만벽화마을 ( Jaman byeokhwa maeul )
Address: 1-10, Jamandong 1-gil, Wansan-gu
Open year-round. Free admission.

Foodie Jeonju

Jeonju is known as the “city of taste”. In fact, it owes its reputation to three elements: the cultivation of rice in the plain of Honam, that of wild vegetables in the surrounding mountains, as well as fishing in the waters of the Yellow Sea.

UNESCO has included Jeonju in its network of “creative cities”, because the city has made enormous efforts to maintain a centuries-old culinary tradition: exchanges with other Cities of Gastronomy, participation in international forums, support for local chefs, etc In short, it is a city where you can eat divinely well.

The bibimbap , this essential dish

Bibimbap , which means “mixed rice””, is a classic dish from the Korean culinary repertoire. It is made of rice topped with a variety of vegetables and meat, to be mixed with red chili paste ( gochujang ). A good balanced bibimbap should have at least the five basic colors (yellow, white, red, black and green) and the five basic flavors (sweet, salty, salty, spicy and bitter). It is usually served in a heated stone bowl, which makes the rice crackle, but it can also be enjoyed cold.

@Jacques Beaulieu / Flickr

Jeonju ‘s version uses bean sprouts ( kongnamul ) and the rice is cooked in beef bone broth. The filling is also more elaborate, pushing the flavors to the extreme. If we add acorn jelly ( hwangpo muk ) and beef tartare ( yukhwe ), then we have a very chic dish… and very expensive!

There are of course other specialties to try, such as cow hoof soup ( ujok tang ), bean sprout rice soup ( kongnamul gukbap ) or jajangmyeon noodles with water ( mul jajangmyeon ). Let yourself go to test!

Where to eat a bibimpbap in Jeonju?

  • Hanguk-jip at 119 Eojin-gil: This restaurant has been serving the traditional version since 1952.
  • Gyodong Croquette, at 126 Gyeonggijeon-gil: this street restaurant serves fried buns or baguettes filled with bibimbap for 3,000 won (approx. €2.2). Inventive!

Gyodong Dawon Tea House

There are several very nice teahouses in Jeonju , but this one is my favorite. We are here in a traditional wooden house, with a wide opening towards the garden through which we enter. The place is quiet and conducive to meditation and high quality tea.

Traditional South Korean Gyodong Dawon Tea House in Jeonju

If there were no more places, try your luck at Daho, at 12-3 Taejo-ro.

In Korean: 교동다원 ( Gyodong dawon )
Address: 65-5 Eunhaeng-ro, Gyo-dong, Wansan-gu
Open every day except Tuesday, from 11 am to 10:30 pm.

Nambu Market

There is a saying that no wedding can take place without going to the Nambu market! Because in Nambu, you can literally find everything, furniture, clothes, and of course, food!

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This incredible market is well known for its nightlife: the crowd rushes through the narrow aisles, does not hesitate to wait long minutes to access street food dishes to take away, it’s vibrant and exhilarating. Not to be missed in the early evening, before heading back to Seoul.

In Korean: 전주 남부시장 ( Jeonju Nambu sijang )
Address: 2-242 Jeonong 3-ga, Wansan-gu,
Open year-round. Free admission.

Jeonju the cultural

Jeonju International Sori Festival

Every year, at the beginning of October, this traditional music event enchants music lovers. From pansori , the Korean sung story, to world music, this is an opportunity to make great musical discoveries. ‘Sori’ means both ‘sound’ and ‘voice’ in Korean. It is a festival that dates back to the early 2000s and lasts a few days.

Photo credits: Sori festival

En coréen : Jeonju segye sori chukje Address : 1F Conference Hall ,
Sori Arts Center of Jeollabuk-do, Sori-ro 31, Deockjin-gu, Jeonju-si
Site Internet :

Hanji making workshops

Hanji is the name given to traditional Korean paper. Made from long mulberry fibers, it is as fine as Japanese paper, and Jeonju has made it one of its tourist attractions. To boast of its sturdiness and durability, a proverb says that Korean paper lasts 1000 years, while silk only lasts 500 years. It is used in various artistic fields, including painting, calligraphy, crafts and architecture.

If you particularly like Korean paper, a visit to the hanji museum in Deokjin-gu district is a must. It exhibits more than 3,000 objects, and you can learn about all the manufacturing steps. But this museum is relatively far from the hanok village , so I invite you to go to the Fan Cultural Center instead, where you can make your own hanji fan . A beautiful souvenir to bring back from your stay!

In Korean: 전주부채문화관 ( Jeonju buchae munhwagwan )
Address: 93 Gyeonggijeon-gil, Wansangu
Open year-round. Free admission.

How to get to Jeonju?

Reaching Jeonju by train from Seoul
KTX bullet trains depart from Seoul or Yongsan stations, with 6 daily trips. You get to Jeonju in about 1h50, for an amount of 34,600 won (about 25 USD). Ordinary trains depart from Yongsan station, but if they are cheaper (13,800 won, approx. 10 USD), it will take you 2h40 to travel. Once there, take a taxi from Jeonju station to the village, count around 6 to 8,000 won (approx. 4.5 to 6 USD).

Reaching Jeonju by bus from Seoul
There is a special shuttle that allows you to reach Jeonju by bus from Seoul. Read our article which explains everything in detail: The shuttle bus to the Jeonju hanok village . If you want to use a local bus, you can catch one at the Express Bus Terminal or Nambu Terminal in Seoul. In both cases, count 2h50 of journey.

Getting around Jeonju
Walking is recommended, as everything can be done on foot. But you can rent Segways, scooters or electric bikes, from 8,000 won (6 USD) for 1/2 day.

Finally, I give you the link to the website of the city of Jeonju (in English): it will provide you with welcome additional information.

I hope this comprehensive guide helps you plan a day trip to beautiful Jeonju . It is a city that is definitely worth visiting in South Korea.

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Mohamed SAKHRI

Discover team

On this blog you travel with us around the world and discover beautiful places, stories, cultures but also mysterious places and some are even bizarre.

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