Palace Where East Meets West




One of the five great palaces of Seoul, Deoksugung Palace is a quiet oasis in the center of the busy city, welcoming international tourists and locals alike into its gorgeously well-kept grounds. Although it is a shadow of its former self, occupying just one-third of its original space and with just one-tenth of its original buildings left intact, it is nevertheless one of Seoul’s most picturesque sites, with its unique blend of traditional Korean and Western neoclassical architecture and an abundance of beautiful gardens.


The original complex was built sometime during the Joseon era (1392-1910) and was used by the King’s relatives. However, after King Seonjo was forced to flee the capital after the Japanese invasion in 1592, all the official royal palaces were burnt down and the returned king had to temporarily move into Deoksugung – the only palace that survived the invasion. After the death of King Seonjo, a fight for the throne commenced. The new King Injo moved to a bigger palace and Deoksugung remained largely unused for the next 270 years.


The palace came back to prominence in the late-19th Century, when the last emperor of the Joseon Dynasty, King Gojong, declared it his new residence in 1897 after spending a year in the Russian Legation following the assassination of Queen Min by the Japanese in 1895. The palace began to undergo a massive transformation as western-style buildings, statues, and gardens were constructed on the palace grounds, a symbol of Gojong’s efforts to modernize Korea. However, his efforts to modernize Korea ended in vain, as Japan effectively took over Korea in 1905, before annexing it in 1910. King Gojong died in the palace in 1919, which instigated the March 1st Korean Independence Movement. After his death, the palace was opened to the public as a park by the Japanese colonial government and the palace’s iconic Seokjojeon Hall became an art gallery. 


Deoksugung Palace remains open to the public every day except Monday, until the 21:00, with final admission at 20:00. The Museum of Modern & Contemporary Art runs a museum annex on the west wing of Seokjogwan Hall, and there is a palace treasure exhibition in the hall’s east wing. There’s also a ceremonial changing of the guard that takes place at the palace main gate three times per day. 


Company NameDeoksugung (덕수궁)
Category Family & Living Social
Phone02-771-9951, 02-751-0734
URLs Homepage
Languages Available English Japanese Chinese
Opening Hours[Palace]
09:00 - 21:00
*Last admission 1 hour before closing

[Changing of the Guard at Deoksugung Palace]
Tue-Sun 11:00, 14:00, 15:30

[Seokjojeon Royal Museum]
Ground floor: Tue-Sun 09:00 - 18:00
Floor 1, Floor 2: Tue 09:30, 11:00, 13:00, 15:00, 16:30 / Wed, Thur, Fri 9:30, 10:30, 11:00, 11:30, 13:00, 14:30, 16:00, 16:30 / Sat, Sun 09:30, 10:30, 11:00, 11:30, 13:00, 13:30, 14:00, 14:30, 15:00, 15:30, 16:30
Closed DaysMondays

5-1 Jeong-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea 덕수궁 중화문

Take Lines 1 or 2 to City Hall Station and go out Exit 2. Deoksugung Palace is located directly in front on the station.

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