Travel Winter in Korea

Visiting Nijimori Studio During Winter in Korea

Since the COVID-19 cases reported in December 2019, the whole world was put in an unprecedented crisis and lingering uncertainty like unavoidable lockdowns and travel-ban. Korea was one of the very first countries that imposed such travel restrictions until the plight was fully eased after some time, in the beginning of this year.

Because it was yet not easy to fly internationally from Korea during the peak of the pandemic, visiting a place that exudes a pretty exotic vibe could be considered a great alternative. Nijimori Studio (니지모리스튜디오) in Dongducheon city appears to be one good example. After having noticed that online platforms were raided with its beautiful pictures, I too visited the place shortly that winter.  

Opened to the public in September 2021, Nijimori Studio abruptly gained a lot of attention and became a popular tourist spot despite having to take a 2-hour train-and-bus ride from downtown Seoul as well as its 17$ worth of admission fee. It was the brainchild of director Kim Jae-hyeong and originally served as a filming space for several Japanese-period Korean TV series and variety shows before being turned into a theme park. 

Perched on the foothills of Chilbong mountain in Gyeonggi province, the mini foriegn village is also known by the locals as the Japanese village of Dongducheon (동두천 일본마을) and at the time a car ride seemed to be the most convenient choice of transportation to get there (even though you can make your way to the city via intercity buses or trains, you still need to grab a taxi cab further to the village). 

Upon arrival you will have to stop by for a ticket at a selling machine by the parking area. The entrance fee is 20,000KW. Next to the vending machine is the main Torii gate where you will be asked to provide proof that you are over 19 years of age before passing through because of a reason that there is an adult-only corner hidden somewhere in the village.  

On the not very spacious site of 30,183-square-meter, you can expect a bit of light time-travel that would take you back to the buzzy Edo period (1603-1867) of Japanese history. It features a huddle of facilities set in traditional Japanese housings including nifty souvenir shops, classic tea houses and restaurants, a bookstore with ‘no-kid zone’, a kimono rental shop, an antique store, ryokans, and many picturesque areas that are perfect for photo ops.

Visiting this little corner of Nippon during the cooler months, you can experience a chilly stroll in the presence of the scent of freshly burned charcoal. But there is no reason to get cold feet when the place is filled with warm shelters installed with furnaces and boardgames.   

In the heart of the village, there is a small but scenic pond called Hoshino Hikari (호시노 히카리 연못) that collects fresh water running down a stream from the Chilbongsan alley. Encroaching into the pond, a bright red pavilion ‘Kanaugak (카나우각)’ is established adding an elegant touch to the scene. And when the pond freezes, the view can easily become even more terrific.   

Aside from these attractions, the park also has at least 7 shrines scattering throughout the area. Each shrine is displayed with different kinds of animal statues representing the creatures that are revered as messengers of Shinto deities such as rabbit, wolf, fox, and cat.    

The Nijimori Studio also offers a special event that visitors can participate in.  At 2 o’clock in the afternoon, a samurai duet show is held in an open space nearby an antique store. It is a confrontation between the Sorano and Aino families. The attendances will be sorted into the two team and compete through a series of fun simple games from rock-paper-scissors to ddakji (딱지), a Korean traditional child play. The winner will be awarded with a handful of tokens that can be used for services inside the village (too bad that I didn’t recall how much the rewarded token was worth).

Although it is not a big theme park where you can indulge in rich Japanese culture in Korea, its secluded atmosphere and lovely exotic views during the coldest time of year can surely make Nijimori Studio a great destination for winter getaway.

More Shots from My Last Visit at Nijimori Studio

Quick Info About Nijimori Studio

Operating Hours: 11:00 - 21:30 (last entry 20:00)

Entrance Fees: 20,000KW (minors aged under 19 is not allowed in)

Parking Fees: 3,000KW (for the first 5 hours)/ 1,000KW per hour (after the 5-hour parking)

Naver Map: Nijimori Studio
경기 동두천시 천보산로 567-12 니지모리스튜디오 

Access Map

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