Whenever I find myself with some free time, one activity that I wholeheartedly indulge in is meticulously curating my Instagram feed. There’s something exhilarating about selecting the perfect tone for each photo and showcasing them seasonally. For me, autumn in Korea is a cherished playground, second only to spring. During the late-October to mid-November period, I embark on delightful journeys in search of picture-perfect spots adorned with colorful fall foliage.
Last autumn, as the crisp breeze gently swept through, I found myself drawn back to Unhyeongung (운현궁), a former royal residence located in the heart of Seoul’s Jongno district (종로구). This wasn’t my first time running down Sam-il Road (삼일대로) with excitement, eager to reach the ticket booth right at the entrance of the palace complex. I had previously visited this small yet picturesque palace during the flower blooming season earlier that same year, captivated by the plum blossoms flourishing within the palace walls.
Upon learning that the place is open to the public free of charge, I couldn’t help but feel a hint of skepticism regarding the ticket booth’s purpose. However, to my surprise, I discovered that they offer an audio guide rental service and provide vouchers for purchase. For a nominal fee of only 1,100 Won, you can enjoy an immersive experience, listening to the captivating origins of Unhyeongung as you explore every nook and cranny. Alternatively, you have the option to pick up a free multi-language brochure, providing a brief overview of the palace’s intriguing history.
Unhyeongung served as the residence of Heungseon Daewongun, the father of King Gojong during the Joseon Dynasty. The palace carries immense historical significance, closely intertwined with the lives of the prince regent and his royal son. Throughout Emperor Gojong’s rule, Daewongun’s influence held a prominent role, making Unhyeongung a hub for significant political activities. Over time, it was transformed into a majestic royal palace. Notably, the grand wedding ceremony of the king and his wife, Myeongseong, also took place within these hallowed walls.
Following the Japanese annexation of the Korean peninsula, numerous structures within the palace grounds suffered destruction or damage, leading to the transformation of this once grand palace into a smaller historical site in Seoul. Despite its diminished size compared to other palaces in the area today, Unhyeongung has never been neglected. Its resplendent Joseon-era architecture continues to captivate visitors, especially during the autumn months when the site is adorned with brilliant hues of red, orange, and vivid yellow. The allure of Unhyeongung’s picturesque scenery remains an irresistible treat for the eyes, drawing those who seek to immerse themselves in the beauty of Korea’s rich history.
Autumn Shots at Unhyeongung
09:00~19:00 (April to October)
09:00~18:00 (November to March)
Closed on Mondays (open if public holiday falls on that Monday)
Admission fees: None
Audio guide rental fees: 1,100KW
How to get there
⇒ Take Seoul Subway line 3 (orange line)
⇒ Get off at Anguk station (안국역)
⇒ Get out of exit 4
⇒ Walk straight for 2 minutes to get to the main entrance
서울 종로구 삼일대로 464 운현궁
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