5 days in Seoul, Korea- 5/17-5/22/2023

Day 1
Arrival/Korean BBQ
Day 2
Gyeongbokgung Palace
Hoa's Birthday at Mr. Ahn's Craf Magkeolli
Day 3
Changdeokgung Palace
Secret garden
Jongmyo Shrine
Dinner at Kyoyan Siksa
Day 4
Meyeong-Dong Cathedral
Hop on Hop off bus
Gwanjang Market
Cheonggyecheon Stream
Dinner at Yakitori Mook
Day 5
War Memorial Museum
Lotus Lantern Festival
Bukchon Village
Hongdae street
Dinner at Dono & Cocktails

Day 3: Jongmyo Shrine - 5/19/2023

 Located in Jongno-gu, Seoul, Jongmyo Shrine is one of the most refined and solemn architectures in the city that was built according to Confucian ideals.

The Confucian stress on maintaining a link between the ancestors and their descendants led to the consecration of shrines like Jongmyo. People believed ancestor’s spirits protected them from harm.  Jongmyo Shrine contains the spirit tablets of late kings and queens. People performed many Confusion sacrificial rites for them here. None of these buildings within the shrine are decorated lavishly in order to emphasize the solemn nature of the shrine. This was a primary worship place for kings throughout the Joseon Dynasty.

The royal ancestral traditional ritual of Jongmyo shrine is a combination of ceremony, music, and dance that has been performed for over 500 years since its standardization in 1462.

 Currently, once year, on the fist Sunday of May, descendants of the former Korean royal family perform these rituals here at Jongmyo shrine.

The entrance of Jongmyo Shrine.


Panoramic view of the entrance of Jongmyo Shrine


View of the park from the entrance.


Jongmyo Shrine is a guided tour so you can not walk in on your own.  Once the tour is over, you have to leave the premises and not allowed to roam around.

Claire is and excellent our tour guide with an Australian accent.


Claire is explaining that the center of the path is reserved for spirits and we are not allowed to walk on it.

The two side of the pathway is reserved for regular people to walk.


The sign said: Please do not walk on this path.  This is for the spirits.


We are heading toward the inside of the shrine.


A beautiful and peaceful pond surrounded by mature trees.



The Hyangdaecheong was used as storage for ritual utensils and is located away from the main hall, close to the southern entrance gate.


To get in we are requested to remove our shoes and leave them outside.


They do not allow people inside a spirit chamber so this room was turned into a replica of what a spirit chamber looks like, which lets you get a sense of what it’s like inside the main halls.


  Spirit chambers that hold the spirit tablets are hidden away in darkness and cannot be seen by visitors. 

On the left you see a replica of two spirit tablets within wooden boxes at the back of the room, sitting on top of a platform. On the right are urns that are used for offerings.



This is a picture of how a ritual ceremony looks like.


Claire, our tour guide reminded us not to walk in the center as it is reserved for spirits.



Jaegung is a small complex of three building enclosed by a wall, located close to the main Jeonjeon hall.


The King and the crown Prince entered trough the main gate of Jaegung and stayed here to purify their mind and bodies,.


The King and the crown Prince exited the west gate and then entered Jeongjeon the main hall, through the east gate to perform rituals.


Panoramic view of the interior of Jaegung hall.

This area is where the King and crown prince made their preparations for ancestral rituals.


The area was used by the ruling king and his party as a waiting area when the King came to the shrine to take part in any rituals and other official ceremonies.


The buildings in this area are fairly small.



One of the 3 building inside Jaegung.


Our guide telling us how the Main hall used to look like.


A ceremony is held 5 times a year, in each season and the last month of the year during Joseon Dynasty but today it is held on the 1st Sunday of May and the first Saturday of November.

It is considered one of the rare cultural events combining Ritual music and Dance inscribed as intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.


Jeongjeon Hall (Main hall)

Jeongjeon hall is the main hall and the most important structure at Jongmyo Shrine. It is the location of the memorial tablets of 19 Joseon kings and queens. At 357 feet in length, the building is said be the longest single wooden structure in the world.

In front of the building lies a massive stone courtyard surrounded by walls on all sides.


When founded in 1395, it only held seven spirit chambers. Over the years, many alterations and additions occurred. In 1546, the building was expanded to 11 spirit chambers. In 1726 it was expanded to 15 chambers and finally once more to 19 chambers in 1836. At a time it was believed this building was the longest in the world.




Main gate to Jeongjeon hall


We are in the Yeongnyeongjeo area.


Main gate leading to Yeongnyeong (hall of Peace) It was built in 1421 when Jeongjeon could not longer accommodate any more spirits tablets.


The interior of the hall is under restoration.


The hall used to contained 16 chambers, housing 16 kings and 18 queens. Its design is very similar to Jeongjeon, with a wall surrounding a large stone courtyard and a long thing building.


 The design of the building has red walls and columns supporting a magnificent tiled roof that seems to float over the rough stone yard in front of it.


The tour is over and we are walking back to entrance. The whole tour is about an hour long.




NEXT...Dinner at Kyoyan Siksa




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