There are number of traditional villages maintaining its original condition. Among the most sinificant villages are three noble villages (Hahoe, Yangdong and Hangae), two fortress villages (Naganeupseong, Seongeup) and two farm villages (Oeam and Wanggok).
Namsangol Hanok Village
In downtown Seoul and adjacent to Korea House, the village displays the architecture and gardens during the Joseon period (1392-1910). Five authentic traditional Korean houses that were scattered in the city were moved here. A large pavilion overlooks a tranquil pond and an outdoor stage where dances and dramas are performed on weekends. An exhibition hall exhibits traditional handicrafts. Pieces of furniture that reflect status of people who lived in the houses were placed inside the buildings and traditional crafts and works by intangible cultural assets artists and other souvenir goods are sold here. On the courtyard, visitors will also try Korean folk games and plays like Jegi, Yut, top spinning, Tuho or teeter-totter. Among the interesting items only found in Korea is Jigae, a device for carrying loads on the back. It is usually made of pines. You need two natural wooden logs, from which a limb branches off a short length from the upper part of each log. Stand the two wooden logs upright with both inclined a top toward each other. Sticks 3-4 struts in between the two logs, and tighten them securely. Tie shoulder straps to the top and the bottom. On the part where the carrier's back is in direct contact, attached a thick straw-woven pad. When it rests on the ground, support at the strut with a wooden stick, with a split end like a pair of scissors. To celebrate 600th anniversary of Seoul, a time capsule was buried on 29 Nov 1994. The time capsule, which is shaped like the bell of Bosingak, contains 600 artifacts representing the life and culture of contemporary Seoul citizens. The time capsule will be unearthed 400 years after on November 29, 2394.
Bukchon Hanok village
In the north of downtown Seoul is a large concentration of traditional Korean houses against an excellent landscape background. While much of the rest of Seoul rushes headlong into the high-tech glitz of the 21st century, the quaint neighborhood of Bukchon hangs on tenaciously to its traditional past. The sight of a number of Hanok built next to each other, sharing a wall and touching each other's eaves, will give you a glimpse into the friendly and open-hearted lifestyle of Koreans. Endless winding alleys and old-fashioned Korean traditional Hanok homes is one of Seoul's most picturesque areas - every turn yields a myriad of charming images. It is an enchantingly Byzantine labyrinth of rustic stone and clay walls, handsome wooden gates and private courtyards. It is a breathing reminder that even in the heart of the urban jungle. You can come on any given day and you will undoubtedly see couples taking photos with the surround Hanok-scape, newlyweds taking their wedding photos, and quite often television shows or ads being filmed here, too.
Korean Folk Village
Located 35km south of Seoul is the open air living museum which recreates the life-style of several centuries ago. Set in a natural environment occupying approximately 980,000㎡, visitors can experience the authentic atmosphere with over 260 traditional houses reminiscent of the late Joseon Dynasty including various household goods from the different regions. All these features have been relocated and restored to provide visitors with a general view of Korean food, clothing, and housing style of the past era. A wide assortment of residential structures, from the straw-thatched cottages of commoners to the 99-room mansion of the noble class, has been re-created to help illustrate the diversity of traditional Korean culture. The structures are good examples of housing styles once owned by peasants, farmers and government officials. The Korean Folk Village, peopled by real artisans and craftsmen dressed in traditional Korean costumes, is a functioning community displaying how things really were. It is the place where artists and artisans ply their trades. Here you can see numerous workshops and handcrafts recreating the traditional scene; pottery, baskets, winnows, bamboo wares, wooden wares, paper, brass wares, knots, fans, musical instruments, iron wares and embroidery are practiced. Traditional Korean life also comes alive with a treasure trove of household goods and furnishings from the different regions found in each of the homes. Of special interest is the Ondol floor heating system which was used to heat homes during the harsh Korean winters as well as the ubiquitous Jangdokdae storage containers found outside all buildings. Usually outside of a home to bask in the sun, the jars normally contain soy sauce, fermented soybean paste, thick soybean paste mixed with red pepper. The Korean Folk Village offers various performances, including Farmer's music and dance, tightrope acrobatics, traditional weddings, traditional teeter-totter, and seasonal cultural and art performances, as well as many other events. The acrobatic spins by some of the performers as they race around the arena are always a big hit with the audiences. An equally impressive acrobatics tightrope act, or Jultagi, designated as the Intangible Culture Property No. 58 that dates back to the Three Kingdoms era (BC 57 - AD 668). The traditional marketplace located at the rear of the village features a number of food stands where visitors can sample the exotic flavors of Korean cuisine including such popular culinary delights Pindaetok, a Korean-style pancake that goes well with Dongdongju, an alcoholic beverage made from rice.
Located at the southwest hilly side of Mt. Seolhwa and about 10km south of Asan city, has the geographic feature of its approach at low-lying land and its end at elevated south or the southwest, allowing the people to enjoy much of sunshine. Further, the mountain at the back blocks the freezing wind in winter. The village entrance is marked by a small stone bridge, a group of totem poles, and pine forest. Lee Sajong of Yean Lee family moved here in the 16th century, since then, Yean Yi clan has lived here for generations. Today the homes of scholar-officials as well as some 50 thatched roof cottages remain preserved in their original form. The village exudes old, rustic charm. The stonewall paths ringing the village heighten its flair. Along the pathway, stonewalls spanning 6km connects each of the some 60 houses, most of which are thatched cottages representing typical village layout of central Korea. All houses in the village are surrounded by stone walls, and some of which have water channel through which a clear stream of water from Mt. Seolhwa directs into their gardens. The layout of the village is well harmonized with barley fields, rice paddies, fruit trees like persimmon, gingko, quince, date or chestnuts, flowering trees and forests, all these features combined create truly rural scenery. The Yeongam, Songhwa and Champan residences are among the famous structures of the village. The Yeongam residence is home to one of the most beautiful Joseon gardens. The village offers not only visual stimulation but home-stays as well, and visitors can try a hand at farming and spend a night in a traditional Korean home. Oeam village is in itself a living folk museum that maintains the unique traditional style of the region with traditional houses, straw-roofed housed, stone walls and gardens just like the way they used to be. The village has much more value in being preserved than any other place because people actually live in its traditional settings. The Oeam folk village provides visitors a chance to appreciate Korean traditional heritage and their lifestyles.
Located about 45km southeast of Jeju city, the village embodies the ancient spirit of Tamna, as the island was known a long time ago. Seongeup was the former provincial capital founded during the Goryeo period (918-1392). Its traditional architecture has been preserved with government assistance. The town is surrounded by various sizes of peaks in a subtle way. There are several winding roads and wooden bedstead and trees laid in the intersection for the purposes of resting and meeting. The village was built with a unique style of construction technology. There are nearly 400 local houses, which are all fully functioning. The thatched-roof rock homes surrounded by lava stone walls welcome visitors, and here you will discover much of unique lifestyle of Jeju. You will also see several Jeongnang gates, which has been long known symbol of this peaceful island. Water pots set in bamboo baskets, which were carried by women on their backs, and huge jars to keep the water from a distance, are on display in the courtyards. Traditional rest room, Tongsi with a pig for tourist purpose, is also among the attractions of the village. Tongsi is located opposite to a kitchen and in a corner of the yard. It is designed to inhibit sewage back flow. The Jeju people displayed their ingenuity by using manure and garbage as a resources. The village's tangible cultural assets include old houses with their households, Confucian schools, old government buildings, fortress sites and totem status, etc. Intangible assets include folk songs, folk games, local food, folk craft skills and their dialect. Gal-ot, orange-brown clothing worn by Jeju people, is for sale on the premises of the folk village. The cloth is made of natural textiles and dyed from squashed green persimmons. Persimmon extract makes the cloth more durable and also acts as a preservative. The Gal-ot has excellent ventilation qualities.
Located about 16km north of Gyeongju, is less well-known Yangdong village where the two families of Walseong Son family and Yeogang Yi family lived. It is a traditional village embracing a simple and unadorned natural beauty, which is registered on the UNESCO World Heritage List. It is a relatively less known village which used to be a middle upper-class town during the Joseon dynasty (1392-1910). Over 150 small and large houses and two shrines which were built according to the harmonious theory of Yin and Yang have been handed down from generation to generation in their original and elegant forms, thus the village has been more popular especially among those who love traditional Korean architectures. Most of the houses are still occupied by villagers but some are empty, making it more comfortable for you to examine them. A walk through Yangdong will help you to imagine the life of noblemen during the Joseon dynasty. Just north of the village stands the guardian mountain Solchangsan which breaks into four branches as it descends from the Mujangbong peak. At the entrance to the village, the view is interrupted by steep ridges, making it impossible to guess its grand scale from outside of the valley. Most of the grand old houses can only be seen up close. There were more than 600 houses here, but with the influx of modernization and change of lifestyle, the traditional houses decreased. The houses, built according to the harmonious theory of yin and yang have been handed down from generation to generation in their original elegant forms. Most of the people here are the descendent of Son and Yi family. Most of the houses are still occupied by villagers but some are empty, making it more comfortable to examine them. Of the significant buildings of the village is Gwangajeong pavilion. It was built by Son Jungdon (1463-1529) whose pen name is Ujae. He served the government as minister of home affairs during the reign of Seongjong. The house has a square layout with inner court, Gwangjeong. The women's quarters appears to be a simple structure with square pillars. At the back of the house is shrine with a gabled roof, and round pillars, and a wooden-floored veranda with a railing. Since the pavilion is located on the high ground level at the entry of the village, it has a wonderful view of the natural surrounds. In the front are two giant gingko trees, which is said to have planted in memory of the pavilion being built. Hyangdan is a beautiful tile-roofed house complex. It was built in 1543 at the order of King Jungjong as a home for the ailing mother of Yi Eonjeok (1491-1553), who had just been appointed to the governor of Gyeongsang province. Originally, here stood a 99-roomed house, which was later destroyed. The number of rooms was reduced to 56 when the building was reconstructed in 1976. Mucheomdang is the home of Yi Eonjeok's father, Yi Beom. Built in 1460, it shows simple but elegant workmanship with special highlight on functionality. The signboard bearing calligraphy on the right was written by the Regent of King Gojong, The sign says 'Left sea refined and scholarly'', a reference to the scenery and scholarly associated with the nearby sea. Simsujeong pavilion was built in 1560 in memory of Yi Eongwal, whose pen name is Nongjae. Refusing to accept any official position, he is said to have devoted himself to caring of his old mother on behalf of his elder brother, Eonjeok. It is the largest pavilion in the village. Another attractive house is Seobaekdang. It has all the scale and formality of a mansion. Built in the 1454, it is the home of the Son family, the founder of this village. A giant juniper tree of some 500 years old stands graciously boasting fully of its dignity. A geomancer, Seol Changson who selected this place as the best site for a home, predicted that three great figures would come from this house in which the spirits of Mt. Seochangsan are condensed. The first was Son Jungdon (1463-1529), who became a famous government official of impeccable integrity. The second was a famous Confucian scholar Yi Eonjeok, who was born here in his mother's maiden home. The 3rd great figure has yet to appear. It is appraised with a great value with its magnificent view along the mountain valley, the old traditional houses well harmonized with a nature. A walk through Yangdong can help you to imagine the life of a nobleman during the Joseon dynasty.
About 25km west of Andong is famous traditional village, Hahoe. As is set on the knob of land that causes the river to form a S-shape loop meaning Hahoe, the village is named as such. So that it resembles the shape of the Taebeuk, great absolute or a lotus blossom floating in the water. The Nakdong river flows smoothly by, bordered by sandy beaches. Overhead rears the strange rock cliffs. Thanks to this topography, the village was safe from outside influence and hence the village is well preserved to this day. The village itself contains various typical Korean houses preserved since the early Joseon dynasty, which makes it one of the best traditional villages for the firsthand experience of old tradition. The village, established by the Pungsan Ryu clan in the 15th century, was the home of noblemen. Some 460 Korean traditional houses, both large and small, are well preserved because of its location and of its cultural value. The village is more popular with mask carving and its mask play so called Byeolsin-gut, the shamanistic ritual dated from the Goryeo dynasty (918-1392). Furthermore, the houses, named Yanjindang, Chunghyeodang, Bukchondaek, Namchondaek, Ogyeonjeongsa, and Gyeongamjeongsa, etc, are important materials for the study of the life style and the house structure of the high ranked officials during Joseon Kingdom. For its beautiful natural scenes, cultural value, and the folk tradition of the Confucianism, this village is one of the best preserved traditional Korean villages. Today, about 300 residents are living here in traditional houses. Queen Elizabeth II came to visit this village on April 21, 1999. Standing at the entrance of Hahoe village, the Mask museum exhibits 250 Korean masks and 250 foreign masks allowing the visitors to compare the different types of the world.
Daeyuli is a small traditional village located in Gunwi, Gyeogsanbukdo province. Hanbam village or Daeyul-ri is a traditional village, inside which about 140 several houses which are several hundred years old houses are still fully functioning, retain much of their perfection intact. It is also very rural and any visitors will be fascinated by walking through the narrow walled alleys. The village, screened three sides by high mountains, is also famous for its stone-walled alleys leading up to each house.
It is located in Gyeongsang Bukdo province and in the west of Daegu. Hangae is the word for large ford. Topologically, the village is considered the most auspicious spot in the area surrounded three sides by Mt. Yeongchui and water at its front. Hangae village was first founded by Yi Woo, who had served as the magistrate of Jinju during the reign of King Sejong (1418-1449). Since then, it has become a consanguineous village for Seonsan Yi clan. The village has been estimated as valuable cultural heritage because it has many traditional Korean houses surrounded by the winding clay-stone-wall which shapes a conspicuous contour of the village in harmony with the remarkable scenery. At present, the village has about sixty Korean houses some of which were either transformed or rebuilt in modern style. Not far from the village is a burial of royal umbilical cords of King Sejong's offspring. There are 17 containers made of granite with their lotus leaf-shaped top stones (102㎝ in circumference and 42㎝ in height), rounded middle stones (26㎝ in height, 80㎝ in lower diameter, and 75㎝ in upper diameter), rectangular lotus leaf-shaped foundations (125.5㎝ in length and 60㎝ in height), and a stone cabinet. It is the only place that keeps almost all the umbilical cords of the princes.
On a low hillside covered with a dense pine forest, dozens of traditional Korean style tiled houses are spread in clusters in a very attractive and friendly atmosphere. It is Daksilmaeul Village, where a clan of the Andong Gwon family has been living together for half millennium. The trail leading to this distinctive Neo-Confucian lifestyles village starts from Naeseongcheon Bridge and the guiding stream is crystal clear and full of minnows. On a rock at the entrance of the trail, four words were carved into it that means "The blue village where benevolent gods live" One landmark site is Cheongamjeong pavilion that was built on a huge flat rock that looks like a turtle. Around the pavilion, an artificial pond was made with the valley stream and a stone bridge was made for the pavilion. Therefore, the pavilion seems to float on the back of a turtle swimming in the pond. The pavilion is the epitome of a Joseon era garden, and a group of weeping willows only adds to the beauty of inherent here. About 15 minute walk from Cheongamjeong Pavilion is Seokcheonjeongsa House with an annex that has two different roof styles. Located some distance from town, Chuwonjae is a household shrine where the descendants of one Andong Gwon family perform memorial services for their accentors. The house is built in the shape of a square and located on a hilltop, overlooking the whole village.
The village is in the south of Goseong on the northeastern coast. Set by the splendid natural environment and surrounded by 5 peaks, it is less well known small village consisting of twenty one traditional Korean houses. There is a narrow brook flowing through the village, making it more attractive and rural view. This is a collective village inhabited from around the 14th century by Ham, Choi and Kim clans. It is where Ham Buyeol (1363-1442), a high education official of late Goryeo dynasty (918-1392), lived in retirement when he opposed the foundation of the Joseon dynasty. The distinguishing characteristics of the village are the differences shown in the roof tiles. The houses are irregularly placed and the direction, size, and placement of their roof tiles differ, creating a strongly varied compositional beauty. The walls and thatched-roof cottages and the trees and green fields make the picture of the village complete. This is a result of the houses being true to nature in terms of function and use, nature and the environment, and appearance and form, thus attaining the highest state of architectural beauty. The double-winged tiled-roof houses are rare examples of northern Gangwon province residence layout. The noteworthy structure is a barn that is situated below the eaves in front of the kitchen. All the houses in the village have been kept well as an original form and they are significant showcase of traditional life and culture. With the belief being that digging the ground would ruin shape of the village, they do not have wells, but every house puts the jar on the chimney. It is within an easy access from Hwajinpo.
It is a huge complex of Korean traditional houses, located in Gangneung. Seongyojang is a word for prow of the boat as the site resembles it. Seon-gyojang is a house built by Lee Naebeon, a native of Jeonju when he moved to Gangneung. As a private residence, it lacks nothing, being complete with outer quarters, inner quarters, servant quarters, annex, and pavilion. The manor is one of the largest estates remaining from the Joseon dynasty. It was built in stages over many years, with construction continuing even today. The earliest portion of the house (now the inner quarters) was constructed in about 1756, what is now the outer quarters, Yeolhwadang in 1815. A year later added the Hwallaejeong pavilion and the lotus pond in the outer garden, and eastern annex in 1920. In the late 19th century, an awning made of Russian copperplate was built in front of Yeolhwadang pavilion in the outer quarters. The house is still occupied today by a descendant of the founder. The composition of this house is particularly beautiful for overlapping of vertical lines between the buildings. With low mountains in the back, the separate structures, simply treated, are agreeably arranged.
Located in Hamyang, Gyeongsangnamdo province, Gaepyeong village was so named because its layout resembles that of four bamboo leaves joined together in the shape of the character Gae meaning to 'lie between'. The village contains a number of traditional houses, including the house of Jeong Yeochang, the Old Odam House, and the house of the Hadong Jeong clan, as well as thatched-roof cottages and paths lined with stone walls. The stone-wall paths show the model of the beauty-pleasure-skill scheme that can be achieved by natural materials. It is true art that rises above the limits of the fundamental levity of Confucian aesthetics based on exploitation by the ruling class. The stone-wall paths, which demonstrate the naturalness of stone and altruistic harmony, are the model of true art and hence the attainment of true beauty and pleasure.
Namhae is a famous for its splendid natural landscape. The island, comprising 68 islands of which only 3 islands are inhabited, is the third largest island in Korea. The island features natural wonders, lovely beaches, ancient temples, trekking trails and historical sites. Shaped like an hourglass, the mountains are high and rugged while the scenery is picturesquely rural, offering a pastoral view. On the southern tip of the island is one of Korea's most attractive beaches situated below the rugged spires of mountain. Terraced paddies in Gacheon village are one of the must-stops in Namhae. Long and narrow stair-like paddy fields spread over hills by the blue sea. A village set on the cliffy hill overlooking the ocean creates a unique mood of the islands.
Jeonju Hankok village
Jeonju is a city of historical charm and interest. For several years after 1930, Koreans started to build Hanok Village mainly as a reaction to the continued expansion of Japanese influence. The village, about 252,000㎡ in size, stretches from Pungnam-dong to Gyo-dong and today there are some 650 Korean traditional houses, still retaining the elegant forms. A traditional culture center offers visitors a chance to experience Korean traditional plays. The traditional craftworks exhibition hall showcases a variety of old Korean arts. The wine museum displays how traditional spirits are made. Hanji paper museum is an excellent facility where visitors can glimpse of its history, production, and its use. The Korean traditional life experience park, showing the life of a typical noble in the Joseon dynasty is not to be missed. A short walk from the village is one of the most unique buildings in the area, Cheondong Cathedral, built at the turn of the 20th century by French priests on the site where several Catholic missionaries and converts were martyred. The oldest Western-style building in the city, it provides a poignant contrast to the traditional Korean structures right across the street. Jeonju hosts several festivals like Jeonju Sori (Sound of Voice & Music) festival, International Film festival, Hanji festival, Dano faestival, Peach festival, food festival, and Daesasup festival.
West of Suncheon sits Nagan fortress and folk village. It is said that the site of a town existed from the Baekje kingdom (BC18-AD660), but when Japanese invasions grew more frequent in the late Goryeo dynasty, a fortress was built here. The fortress was built first in 1397 into a mud rampart. Later in the 16th century, the fortress was reinforced with stones, subsequently became the castle. Unlike other fortresses, the Nagan fortress is situated on a wide plain. It was built on naturally square stones, varying in size from one to two meters. The total length of the 4m high fortress wall is 1,410m. About 230 traditional thatched roof houses are still functioning. Near the east gate is a Confucian academy and shrine. No longer teaches local youths here. At the center of the village is a monument dedicated to General Lim Gyeongeop (1594-1646) for his outstanding service as the county chief. A memorial service is annually held here in the honor on the first full moon day of the year. In this village grow 15 large old trees. They are believed to be 100 to 400 years old, including 7 nettles, two homoiocelties asparas, one zelkova, and three gingkos. Ten of the trees were planted along the 150m-long wall. By the market place stands 28m-tall and 10.2m high height gingko tree. These trees were believed to have planted as a means of wind breaker or screening. One unusual aspect of the town is that it was inhabited by a number of different clans rather than having one dominant one. In every October, the town holds a huge food festival featuring a hundreds of traditional Korean delicacies.