Ready for Another Hanok Village? Ikseon Hanok Village

In Seoul, you can see some Hanok villages in Seoul. Bukchon Hanok Village (북촌한옥마을) and Namsan Hanok Village (남산한옥마을) are representative Hanok villages in Seoul. However, did you know that there is a Hanok village which became a hot place in Seoul nowadays? The answer is Ikseon Hanok Village (익선동한옥마을). It is the oldest Hanok village in Seoul. Ikseon Hanok village is located near Jongno 3-ga Station (종로3가역)
which you can take subway line number 1, 3, 5. Take exit number 4 and cross the road. Then you can see a small alley. You can find Ikseon village by walking along to the alley.

Source: Google Maps


During the Japanese colonial era, Japan government tried to make a new section of a city in Jongno, made of modern buildings. However, Jeong Sae Kwon (권정새),who was the first property developer in Korea and also a nationalist, bought all land of Jongno to protect Hanok. Then, he modernized Hanok so that people can live. It is near Bukchon Hanok Village. Bukchon Hanok village was a residence of the upper class however Ikseon Hanok Village was a residence of ordinary people so it is more small and modest compared to Bukchon Hanok village. Ikseon Hanok Village is not that big so you can look around the village in an hour. In 2004, city planned to redevelop Ikseon Hanok Village. After a few years later, that plan became unpropertied and the village became falling behind. However, from 2014 some young founders started to make cafes and galleries by preserving existing Hanok. They became famous and Ikseon Hanok Village became a hot place, especially for young people in Seoul.

The best feature of Ikseon-dong is that you can experience the combination of tradition and modernity. You can feel the beauty of tradition of Korea. There are several symbolic places in Ikseon Hanok village and one of them is cafe ‘Sikmul’. It is made by Louis Park, a fashion photographer. He said he wanted to show the beauty of space in new area not like a place where everyone knows like Itaewon (이태원) or Garosu-gil Road (가로수길). Also, he said he wanted to turn the history of Ikseon Hanok Village over to future genenrations.



Cafe ‘Sikmul’ is in harmony with the beauty of past, present and the East and the West. He connected 4 Hanok and created a cafe in daytime and a pub in night. Also, its outer wall is surrounded with carbonate so it leads natural light into Hanok. This can be the point of Hanok’s connection between present and past. Cafe ‘Sikmul’ is one of the most popular place in Ikseon Hanok Village so I strongly recommend to visit.


There are various cafes in Ikseon Hanok Village but you can see a special place in there. It is a ‘Proust’ which is a specialty store of fragrance. It also remodeled Hanok. It has a concept that ‘recover memory by fragrance’ from novel ‘Remembrance of Things Past’ written by Marcel Proust. There are cafe and fragrance workshop. At fragrance workshop, you can make a perfume that well fitted to you. Also, there are several classes to learn how to make a perfume.



Also, you can eat delicious food at Ikseon Hanok Village. There is a restaurant ‘Gyeongyangsik 1920 (경양식 1920)’. Its name comes from commemorating 1920, which is a year was Ikseon Hanok Village created. You can enjoy delicious hamburg steak or a pork cutlet. There are only 2 kinds of menus in Gyeongyangsik 1920. Its exterior also gives you a feeling that you come to restaurant which existed in past.


In addition, there is a restaurant ‘12 months’. 12 months is a Italian restaurant. Unlike Gyeongyangsik 1920, there are many menus like salad, pasta, etc. Especially, cream pasta is the best menu in 12 months. The biggest characteristic of 12 months is that it uses ingredients which are in a season. Therefore, specific menus change according to seasons. It tries to use healthy and fresh ingredients. You can enjoy healthy Italian food in 12 months. An interesting point is that this restaurant is managed by a project team which also manages ‘Gyeongyangsik 1920’. The team, also you can say a company is ‘Ikseondada (익선다다)’. It tries to plan and operate Ikseon Hanok village by running a project.

Ikseon Hanok Village will be very unfamiliar for foreigners but it is very famous place for young Korean people. Also, Seoul city will try to develop Ikseon Hanok Village and they already made a plan to develop. Therefore, it will be nice to visit Ikseon Hanok Village and experience fusion culture of past and present.


Article by Yongshin from Korea, a Junior in Business Administration

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