Insadong is a legendary pocket of Seoul that locals as well as tourists have flocked to for it's various
traditional and modern attractions that make up a full afternoon to see. The area's streets are filled
with shops, tea houses, cafes, art galleries, restaurants, performances, and culture.
Insadong's history goes all the way back to the Joseon Dynasty where it served as a residential
area for it's proximity to the government halls and palaces. The main street of Insadong we know
now was back then, a place of study for painters.
During the Japanese Colonization period, many of the aristocrats had to leave their homes and sold
their belongings in Insadong, and it became a hub for the trading of antiques.
Still to this day, Insadong stands as the city's largest marketplace for traditional antiques and crafts.
It contains 40% of the nation's antique shops and art galleries and 90% of the country's traditional
This has made it an excellent choice for tourists in shopping for real traditional Korean souvenirs.
Younger locals can be seen browsing and sitting at cafes at Ssamzie-gil.
A popular date spot and the centerpiece of Insadong, this four storey open air market winds up like
a spiral and you pass stores that sell everything from jewelry, stationary, clothing, accessories, toys,
art, crafts, cafes, and restaurants, both traditional and modern. When you arrive at the very top, make
sure to check out the view!
From Insadong's main streets, street alleys lead you to various traditionally korean restaurants and
Insadong Chatjip (tea house) (인사동찻집):
Around Insadong hosts many other Seoul's top attractions including Gyeongbokgung palace, at the
west of the northern mouth of the main street and Changdeokgung palace to the east. In the middle
of the street, an alley leads you to Jogyesa Temple.
In the Southern end you'll find Tapgol Park, a park known for it's historical significance as the place
where Koreans declared their independence from Japan in 1919.
The oldest bookstore in Seoul is also in the area called "Tongmungwan"
as well as the oldest tea house "Kyung-in Art Gallery."
But as well as the traditional, there's also the new. You'll find cool eateries and cafes that have put a
new spin on old traditions.
Miss Lee's Cafe:
The metal 'lunchbox,' Sausage, rice, egg, kimchi, topped with seaweed.
Old school 'bingsu'
똥빵, literal translation means poo bread... it's a playful spin on boongo bbang. Red bean and
walnuts are filled inside!
Culture is what sets Insa-dong apart from other commercial neighborhoods in Seoul, and it's worth a trip just for the famed restaurants and cafes selling rice cakes and red bean soup.
For a more detailed guide on what to eat at Insadong check out some listings here orhere!
Ssamzie-gil Opening Hours:
Everyday: 10am - 8:30pm
Seoul-si > All Area
Anguk Station, Exit 6
Walk straight all the way once you come out and you will see the long stretch known as Insadong on your left after approximately 5-10 minutes.