Photo: Hanok village near “Love in the Moonlight” filming site, Gyeonggijeon Shrine
The recent Korean historical drama “Love in the Moonlight” has exploded into popularity! The drama tells the unfortunate love story between a crown prince of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) and Hong Ra-on, a girl who is masquerading as a eunuch. The role of the Crown Prince was given to Park Bo-gum, star of the 2015 drama “Reply 1988,” giving this drama yet another reason for popularity.
The backgrounds of the drama scenes, with their traditional Korean aspects are also drawing in plenty of attention. Let’s take a closer look at the locations where the love between the Crown Prince and Ra-on unfolded in “Love in the Moonlight.”
Photo: Bamboo Forest Trail at Gyeonggijeon Shrine where the main characters first meet
A major filming site of “Love in the Moonlight,” Gyeonggijeon Shrine is located near the entrance of Jeonju Hanok Village. The shrine holds the portrait of King Taejo, the founder of the Joseon Dynasty. Thanks to the atmosphere of a royal palace, the shrine was used for a multitude of scenes in the drama. The lush bamboo grove inside the grounds of the shrine appeared in the first episode of the drama, when Ra-on (played by Kim Yoo-jung), who entered the palace as a eunuch, meets the Crown Prince (played by Park Bo-gum) during her attempt to run away.
Photo: Jeonjusago National Archives (left) / Portrait of King Taejo inside the Royal Portrait Museum (right)
Gyeonggijeon Shrine is also the location of Jeonjusago National Archives, which holds the Annals of the Joseon Dynasty. The Archives building appears in episode 10, when Ra-on hurts her foot. The Crown Prince becomes jealous when seeing the other eunuchs assisting Ra-on here.
Another attraction at Gyeonggijeon Shrine is the Royal Portrait Museum, displaying portraits of outstanding Joseon kings and artifacts related to their lives. Also nearby is Omokdae, offering up a view of the entire Jeonju Hanok Village, which also makes an appearance in “Love in the Moonlight.”
Photo: Residence of Ra-on while living as a eunuch, Myeongnyundang Lecture Hall
A hyanggyo was a national school built to educate and train scholars following the Confucian ideas of the Joseon era. Jeonjuhyanggyo Confucian School was originally established in 1410 in the vicinity of Gyeonggijeon Shrine but was moved to its current location in 1603. The school has 16 buildings, including the main hall, Daejeongjeon Hall and Myeongnyundang Lecture Hall. This school also holds the ancestral tablets of Confucian saints such as Mencius and Confucius himself.
The exterior of the lecture hall, Myeongnyundang, appears in many scenes as Ra-on’s residence. The yard before the hall is also the scene where Ra-on offers a chicken leg to the Crown Prince, as well as where Kim Yoon-sung (played by Jinyoung) spent many happy moments with the Crown Prince when they were young.
Photo: Seohwayeon Pond as appears in “Love in the Moonlight” (top) / View of traditional Korean Themed Garden (bottom left) / Variety of colorful fall flowers (bottom right)
The Garden of Morning Calm is a botanical garden with a variety of themed gardens set in the low foothills of a mountain. Visitors will be enthralled by the Hometown Garden with its countryside villa appearance, the Korean Themed Garden offering up a feeling of entering a traditional painting, the Western-style J’s Cottage Garden and the other 20-plus themed gardens.
The site that will draw the attention of fans is none other than Seohwayeon Pond. This pond with its traditional pavilion and nearby tile-roofed house appears as a lotus pond within the royal palace in “Love in the Moonlight.” In the first episode, Princess Myeong-eun (played by Jung Hye-sung) is seen here waiting for a letter from her love, and in the third episode, Ra-on encounters the Crown Prince while she is watching over Princess Yeong-eun.
Photo: Hwaseong Haenggung Palace as seen from Jungangmun Gate
Haenggung refers to a secondary palace for the royal family to use when away from the capital. Located within Hwaseong Fortress in Suwon, Hwaseong Haenggung Palace was one of the largest secondary palaces of its time. It was also stunningly beautiful and has a long history of use, even so far as to be called an extension of Gyeongbokgung Palace, the main palace of the Joseon Dynasty. Used as a center for the local government on a daily basis, it temporarily transformed into a palace when the royal family visited the Hwaseong Fortress area.
Photo: Bongsudang Hall, used as the living quarters of the Crown Prince
The central building of the palace, Bongsudang Hall, appears in scenes of “Love in the Moonlight” as the living quarters of the Crown Prince. Early into the second episode, Eunuch Jang (played by Lee Jun-hyeok) introduces the building to Ra-on as “the palace of the Crown Prince.” Hwaseong Haenggung Palace is also the location of the scene in episode three, when Ra-on is slapped by Queen Kim (played by Han Soo-yeon).
Photo: House of Choi Champan as appears during the party scene at the prime minister’s house (top) / Corn hanging to dry (bottom left) / Pajeon available at the market (bottom right)
The House of Choi Champan is located in a tourist attraction inspired by the village that appeared in the Korean epic novel “Toji (The Land).” The novel features a community set in the time of Korea’s modern and contemporary history. The village carries the small details of the past into the modern day for a true feeling of that tumultuous period of time.
The House of Choi Champan is located at the highest point of the village and serves as the house of Prime Minister Kim Heon in “Love in the Moonlight.” The house is the venue for a celebratory feast for the pregnancy of Queen Kim in episode two, and where Ra-on chases after a chicken.
Photo: Ojakgyo Bridge and Gwanghallu Pavilion where the Crown Prince is shown walking
Gwanghallu Pavilion was built in the Joseon period, and is part of Gwanghalluwon Garden, which also includes the nearby lake, Ojakgyo Bridge, and man-made islands. Koreans know this location as the setting for the historic saga “Chunhyangjeon.” Every year in May, the garden is active with events dedicated to the story’s main character, Chunhyang at the Namwon Chunhyang Festival. Festival-goers can enjoy traditional wedding ceremonies, performances of gugak (traditional music), a variety of traditional games, and more.
Gwanghallu Pavilion and Ojakgyo Bridge appear often in “Love in the Moonlight” when the Crown Prince goes for walks. The lake is also the location of the scene in episode five where the Crown Prince jumps into the water to save Ra-on who has fallen in.
* This column was last updated in October 2016, and therefore information may differ from what is presented here. We advise you to check details from the official websites before visiting.