Written by Roni Rosen
If you have no plans today or you just love museums, you have to visit the National Museum of Korea! It’s free to enter and there is so much to see. I went spontaneously on Sunday and not only had an amazing time, but ended up staying the whole day. The museum itself is three floors high and filled with paintings, statues, scrolls, and many other historical artifacts. I viewed some remarkable parts of Korean history while visiting. Then I ended up grabbing something from the museum cafe and taking a relaxing stroll through the park!
To start the day off I headed towards Line 4 and got off at Ichon Station. Luckily the station connects directly to the front of the museum so it was extremely easy to get to! Once I arrived I instantly noticed the amazing view you can get of the city.
After admiring the view for a bit, I decided to head into the museum! When I went I had to make a reservation online, but as of recently, you can just walk in, no reservation is necessary! Just make sure to double-check the current restrictions online before going.
Once in the museum, I made sure to explore everything! From the Paleolithic period to Buddhist statues to even the mesmerizing white porcelain gallery, everything was so interesting.
I was able to see some incredible historical Korean art, learn about the many dynasties, and discover the origins of Confucianism. There was an entire area dedicated to Buddhist statues that you just must see in person! The museum actually preserves over 5,000 years’ worth of Korean history and cultural artifacts. You can find information and artifacts dating back to the Gojoseon period (108 BC) all the way to the most recent dynasty in Korea (the Joseon dynasty).
On the first floor, a breath-taking ten-story pagoda is displayed! This pagoda actually used to stand at the Gyeongcheonsa Temple. The ten-story pagoda is considered an extremely important landmark of Korean cultural history. It exhibits the peaceful fusion of traditional and foreign components. Other pagodas each have different meanings in Buddhism, depending on what they are made of and how tall they are. For instance, a five-story pagoda symbolizes the 5 elements (earth, water, air, wind, and fire).
At the time I went, the museum was also displaying exhibits about Egypt, Central Asia, and Japan! I was able to see traditional Samurai armor and a sarcophagus, which ancient Egyptians used to bury their leaders in.
After about three hours of exploring, I decided to go to the gift store. I got some lovely postcards and bracelets for my sister there. I wandered around the park next door when I left the museum, and it was absolutely fantastic!
I got to see the trees right before winter on the way to the park! The colors were stunning, and they added to the uniqueness of the experience.
There was an awesome spot named Dragon Falls in the park. There were also several paths to explore, as well as some adorable cats!
After walking through the park, I found this outstanding pavilion (정자) right on the lake! You can actually walk on it and enjoy the amazing view of the museum (which is across the lake). I sat down in the pavilion and watched the sunset! Luckily while I was sitting, a musician came and started playing the flute. It was an amazing experience and a perfect way to end the day.
If you are in the area or have some free time, you must visit the National Museum of Korea! It was a fantastic experience and I learned so much. I was shocked that I spent the whole day there, it was so relaxing! The museum opens at 10 am every day and closes at 6 pm (on Wednesdays and Saturdays it is open until 9 pm), and again it’s free! Definitely check it out when you can.
You can find more information here: https://www.museum.go.kr/site/eng/home