This was my first time to Jongmyo Shrine and was on my mission to complete the palace tour of the 4 palaces plus a shrine. I had been to the rest and the remaining is only Changgyeonggung palace. Maybe I would visit Changgyeonggung before I leave for Malaysia.
You can actually buy the integrated pass to visit at any of the five major palaces which includes – Gyeongbokgung, Chandeokgung (Huwon + secret garden), Deoksugung, Changgyeonggung and Jongmyo Shrine for 10,000 won. Ticket is valid for a month and no refund after ticket is used to enter any of the palaces.
More info about the integrated pass here.
What’s so special about Jongmyo Shrine?
It’s not a palace but a shrine.
Jongmyo Shrine was built by Lee Seong Gye (1335-1408), the first king and founding father of the Joseon Dynasty. It was a primary place of worship for kings throughout the Joseon Dynasty and has been registered as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site for its well-preserved ancient customs such as memorial services and traditional music. Info: KNTO
Jongno-3(sam)-ga Station (Subway Line 1), Exit 11 or 8, 10-min walk from station.
I actually took the longer route as I was from Insadong. The girl inside TIC(Tourist Information Center) booth told me to walk straight after exit 4 and follow the main road till the end. Hmm…there was a road block! So I have to follow this beaten path but I was in for a pleasant surprise. ^^
My route along Anguk main road.
Right after the road block, I took a right turn as I saw a similar stretch of palace walls like in Chandeokgung. My instinct told me that it must be Jongmyo. “Jongmyo shrine is really near!” so I thought. But I was in a rush for the English guide tour at 4.00pm and my clock said it was 3.45pm. Darn..so be it.
I hate running..mainly due to my knee pain so I just enjoyed the stroll and smiled at every passersby; nope..no handsome men or idols. Just old grandmas and grandpas. They had a meetup, drinking and chatting with their old mates. Nice view, nice feeling in -9 degrees celcius and my fingers were freezing cold!
The ticket was 1,000won and the ticket officer kept speaking in Japanese. I was clearly trying to practice speaking Korean here lady… Or was my pronunciation sounded so Japanese after mingling with my Japanese classmates these few days? Or do I look like a Japanese? *O-O* Hehehe..no way!
She told me to follow the English tour guide; all the while speaking in Japanese to me. Aigoo..luckily I understood her instruction and ran towards the entrance.
I missed a few spots and followed the tour guide till the end and surprisingly she asked me; “I wonder how your Korean pronunciation is very good, are you a student?” Hmm..I felt so much better now. At least learning Korean was not a useless inferno and this lady realized that.
If you come to Korea and your trip coincides on the first Sunday of May, do visit Jongmyo Shrine for the Royal shrine rites at 1.00pm.The place is opened for public FREE. It’s gonna be a different experience.
More info on Jongmyo Shrine by KNTO here and English guided tour is at 10:00, 12:00, 14:00, 16:00 and it’s closed every Tuesday.