This mural-covered neighborhood is built into the base of Mt. Naksan and boasts the ancient city gate of Seoul
Ihwa-dong is located in it’s own little spot, uphill from Daehakno (Hyewa Station, exit 2). It is a pretty steep uphill hike to get to the main area of the murals and little museums (be prepared if you have a stroller, there is a smooth path to get there without stairs, it just takes longer, but once in the village, you will encounter stairs everywhere). We only had a couple hours to get there and look around, not realizing how many things there are to see, so we got a few of the murals and had a delicious lunch at Ohana Restaurant Japanese-Korean fusion place at the top of the hill, just before you get to the Seoul City Wall Trail. Make sure to give yourself a couple solid hours there to see everything!
According to Seoul Magazine, this place was a non-desireabe neighborhood for decades, being a place where people just made a home wherever they could after wartime, and was set for demolition at one point until artists came in and made it a beautiful place to visit and now is a tight-knit community and popular tourist destination. It is still a neighborhood where people live, so there is an etiquette here (from visitseoul.net):
– Please keep noise levels to a minimum (e.g. no loud voices, horsing around, filming, etc.)
– Please do not litter
– Please keep group visits small, with a maximum of 10 visitors
– Please do not use microphones, megaphones, or loudspeakers
– Please do not take photos or film the interiors of houses, even if the doors are open
Here are Think of Seoul’s directions to get there. We told our taxi driver (who didn’t know what this was) to drop us off at Naksan park, showing him where our destination was on the GPS on our phone, then we had to walk to the little entry sign entrance and up the many stairs to the top. There are murals and things to see EVERYWHERE, so find these maps of where to go, the first one at the top, near the Seoul City Wall Trail, the second, next to the Wings mural:
Here is a just a handful of the dozens of murals and things to see:
Also make sure to do the Seoul City Wall Trail, Naksan Park, try the restaurants, cafes, and gift shops, and visit the dozen museums; again, see Seoul Magazine’s article
If you love Ihwa Mural Village, watch the K Drama Beating Again on Netflix for scenes of the flower stairs and glimpses of the murals!
Need more advice on Seoul or traveling? I’ve got you covered with my posts:
Need Korean recipes to get you through until the next time you’re in Korea? I’ve got you covered with Korean and other Asian recipes on my Recipe Index: Team Korea