Jongmyo Shrine
Jongmyo Shrine
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Historic Sites • Points of Interest & Landmarks • Religious Sites
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The ancestral shrine of the Choson kings, is one of Korea's most precious cultural monuments. In 1995, UNESCO recognized the value of the shrine by including it on its World Heritage List.
Suggested duration
2-3 hours
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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4.0
739 reviews
Excellent
273
Very good
324
Average
125
Poor
13
Terrible
4

TravelerTrecker
Houston732 contributions
Sep 2019
This sanctuary is a UNESCO heritage site together with the Joseon palaces and the secret garden. The combined ticket covers the entrance to the sanctuary. It is cheap. It is far from the palaces and to come here you need to take the metro or a taxi. we took the metro. The station is 4 blocks from the gate. The sanctuary is quite interesting. It is the place where the souls of the queens and kings of the Joseon dynasty were immortalized. The main building is especially beautiful. It follows the Confucianism tradition.

To visit the place, you need to take the guided tour. The one in English is every 2 hours from 1000 am to 400 pm. We took the one at noon. The place is still in use by members of the Royal Family and symbolizes the glorious Korean past; there are some paths that only members of the royal family can use; you cannot get close to the individual sanctuaries in the main shrine. You cannot visit on your own and the visit is limited to one hour.

It is nice, unique. The visit is outdoors.
Written April 19, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Traveller of the world
1,412 contributions
Jun 2022 • Solo
I would say only go if your really into history or learning. This is religious, mystical and for those that are interested in the significance of the shrine. Don't go if your expecting to see 'pretty buildings'. You need maybe an hour and a half. Medium size and easy to walk around. Well laid out. Get one of the information booklets as you enter plus there are boards with facts on along the route. I only went as I am in Korea and Seoul for a while. I had spare time. I was glad I went but wouldn't say this is a must. Cheap to enter. As per many attractions in Seoul, check opening and closing times the day before your visit as these are often changed. At the time of my visit June, 2022 there were some renovations going on. Although you can still see most things, some buildings were sealed off or slightly obstructed.
Written June 1, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Xrist0f
Grenoble, France158 contributions
Apr 2014 • Solo
I visited on a Saturday and was misled by the reviews which said this was a guided tour only. True except on Saturdays!
Without explanations from a guide, you get the point about the use of this shrine but it is not so interesting. Yet as other visitors wrote, this place is sober and elegant.
Closed on tuesday, english guided tour only at 10:00, 11:00, 14:00, 15:00 except on saturday. You can just visit by yourself without a guide and anytime on saturday.
Written April 5, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

MickeySerbia
Serbia260 contributions
I visited Jongmyo Royal Shrine on February 15, 2010, the third day of Seollal – the Lunar New Year celebration, and entered it without paying a ticket because I was wearing parts of the 'hanbok' suit. I must say that such an interesting practice, to announce publicly in advance that if a person is wearing the Korean national dress, he or she will be allowed to enter a site for free, is a winning option. I mean, not only the Korean citizens but also the foreigners are motivated to acquire at least some parts of the dress, if not all, and by wearing them to contribute to the colorful picture of Seoul during the lunar celebrity days.

On the other hand, the Jongmyo Royal Shrine seems to have a specific day in a year (it should be the first Sunday of May, or something similar) when the whole procession occurs and it might be very interesting to be there then. The shrine has two main buildings, devoted to the past royalties and their families, as well as some smaller additional buildings. Depending on the weather, you might get your shoes less or more muddy, because not all the walkways are in good condition. In fact, I visited the area in the early afternoon when was not so freezing like in the mornings and the wet ground started to melt under the February sun.

For those of you who like wildlife, there is a nice pond inside the area, which you will se on your left side near the shrine's main entrance. During my visit, the pond was full of lovely ducks, geese and other kinds of colorful birds that obviously enjoyed swimming in the pond that cold February morning, and that view attracted many visitors.

One of the good things with Jongmyo Royal Shrine is that it is connected by a passenger bridge (pedestrian overpass) with the 'opposite side of a street' where is another palace: Changgyeonggung. That means you have an opportunity to visit two places for a ticket for one (it also works for the palace visitors who want to look into the shrine area), or to make it free like in my case (with a 'hanbok'). Whatever you do, make your schedule that way you do not come to the place too late either because they close the connecting bridge somewhere around 4.30 pm or so. Similar to what I saw at the other places in Seoul, local citizens took their chance and were playing traditional games in the area of Changgyeonggung palace.

The place with Changgyeonggung is large so take your time slowly. Besides various ancestral building in it, there are some specific add-ons like a kind of a sun clock mechanism, a statue with a flagpole, etc.

The best way to reach both Jongmyo Royal Shrine and Changgyeonggung palace is to take a subway to Jongno 3-ga station (Line 1), following by a short walk to the main entrance to the shrine. When finish visiting the shrine, use the overpass to continue to the palace until you reach the palace's other end where you can go out. Outside the entrance you can buy yourself some snack from the street vendors and from there you can make some 20-25 minute walk to the Anguk subway station. I used Anguk station for transferring myself to the area of another palace of Seoul: Deoksugung. (Of course, if you get tired of visiting the two places from this review, the subway is an opportunity for you to get back to your hotel's area or whatever else place in Seoul you want to come to.)
Written March 7, 2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Greg M
Toronto, Canada107 contributions
Aug 2018 • Couples
Visited the shrine on a rainy day in August 2018 and did not enjoy the English guided tour at all. First of all, the paths were quite muddy. Secondly, you cannot visit the shrine without being in a tour. Thirdly, most of the main buildings are closed and open only two times a year (sometime in May and November, I think). Fourthly, it is almost an impossible task to explain Confucianism in an hour guided tour and the guide said she wouldn’t even try to do so. This place is designated as a UNESCO site purely for historical reasons, nothing spectacular in here. Not very interesting unless you are into Korean imperial history. One positive thing I should comment on is the generosity of the Seoul heritage society. Admission was 1,000 KRW, but like Gyeongbokgung Palace, the fee would be waived for seniors (65 years or older) if you have a document (passport or driver’s) to prove your age - even for foreigners.
Written August 24, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Mimi A
Rowville, Australia167 contributions
Feb 2018 • Friends
Admission fee at only 1000krw (500krw between 7 to 18 yrs old, under 7 and above 64 free entry), Jongmyo shrine is a wonderful visit.
Unlike the palaces, this is a shrine an therefore you could only enter as a guided tour. There are guided tours with Korean/ English/ Japanese or Chinese speaking guides. Please look up the photos attached for more information.
Generally speaking, my sister and I have been to all the palaces and weren't expecting much from this shrine as it was off the beaten path and "usual" attractions that tourists would opt for (as it sounds a little more solemn)
However for the entry price, the view and a guide to guide you through the rites, customs and korean psyche, why Not?
Without giving too much spoilers, would recommend tourists to give this place a chance. The tour itself will only take 1 hour. Certainly easy to slot into your busy day. You could also then walk from this shrine to Changgyeonggung palace (20 minutes walk at an extremely slow pace. It was only 12 minutes for sis and I)
Hope you like it
Written February 9, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

CausalTraveller
Singapore, Singapore154 contributions
Jan 2016 • Friends
Take note that visit to this UNESCO site must be on guided tour basis on all days except Tuesday (closed) & Sat.

Limited foreign speaking tours so do take note of timing before visiting to save time.

English tours: 10am, 12pm, 2pm & 4pm
Chinese tours: 11am, 1pm & 3pm.
Japanese tours: 9am, 9.40am and once every hour thereafter until 3.40pm (last tour).

We reached the shrine at around 12.40pm and was lucky that we understood Chinese and could go for the 1pm tour. As it was a cold day, there were not many visitors and we were the only 2 in the Chinese tour so we had the privilege of having Ms Lee as our private tour guide! Ms Lee spoke perfect Chinese and was very knowledgeable on the history of Josen. Her detailed explanation helped to add meaning into the architectural structure and the history behind it. She's also very approachable and open to questions. A very quality free tour which help us appreciate more of the shrine!

At the end of the tour, Ms Lee even gave us her heat pack as it was a very cold day and she knew that we are going to visit more places thereafter.

A good place to start if you want a general overview of Korean history and kings/queens.
Written February 8, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Mic
Ottignies-Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium170 contributions
Oct 2013 • Solo
The guide gave us an interesting insight. She explained a lot about the kings, sacred places,...
The place itself is very sober because it's the place where the spirit of the kings rest but it's still very interesting to see.

Closed on tuesday, english guided tour are at 10:00, 11:00, 14:00, 15:00.
Be carefull, except on saturday, you can only enter the shrine with a guided tour! You can just visit by yourself (without a guide and anytime) on saturday.

Fee : 1000won
Written December 2, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

kev_deb2012
Bangkok, Thailand977 contributions
Oct 2013 • Solo
The only day you can enter the Shrine without going on a tour is Saturday so if you are there on another day you will need to time it with a tour in your chosen language, the tour takes about 50 minutes. The english tour was very informative and gave a good insight to the Korean culture and belief on their deceased and without the tour I think you would miss the true meaning of the Shrine.
It was very peaceful and with the autumn colours in the trees it made for a beautiful backdrop.

I would recommend buying the combo ticket for 10,000 Won. It includes Gyeonbokgung, Changdeokgung, Secret Garden, Changgyeonggung and Deosugung. When I was at the shrine there was no line to buy tickets but all the other palaces was quite long so get the combo ticket from here.
Written November 18, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

RachelSheil
Limerick, Ireland18 contributions
Jan 2018 • Solo
Jongmyo Shrine can only be visited as a guided tour except on Saturdays. I went on a guided tour and our guide was wonderful. Her English name was Clare and not only did she speak about the shrine but she highlighted the culture and psyche of Korean society as a whole.
Learning a little more about the cultural context was really enlightening and has helped me understand the people here a little better.

The shrine itself is simple and solemn as it is a place for spirits ;) I really enjoyed the quiet as that was in stark contrast to Seoul as a whole.
Would definitely recommend!
Written January 22, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Jongmyo Shrine, Seoul

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