Travel Highlights

Follow the Trails of History & Culture, Hanyangdoseong

  • Tag History Tour
  • Date06/13/2019
  • Hit2369

Hanyangdoseong, the Seoul City Wall

A season perfect for walking has returned. With many people out and about, try something different by going on a meaningful walk. If you are in Seoul, an excursion along the Hanyangdoseong, or the Seoul City Wall, is a must! With over 600 years of history, the Seoul City Wall is sure to offer a walk to remember.

Introduction of Hanyangdoseong,
the Seoul City Wall

The Seoul City Wall was built to provide protection of Seoul, formerly called Hanyang, against outside intruders. This 18.6-kilometer long wall follows the four mountain ridges of Inwangsan Mountain, Baegaksan Mountain, Naksan Mountain, and Namsan Mountain. The wall was once called Hanyangseonggwak (Seoul Fortress Wall), but its name officially changed to Hanyangdoeseong (Seoul City Wall) in July 2011.

A total of six different courses are available, each presenting a charm of its own. Four trails follow the major mountain ridges: the Baegaksan Mountain Trail, Naksan Mountain Trail, Namsan Mountain Trail, and Inwangsan Mountain Trail; while the other two trails pass by two major city gates: the Sungnyemun Gate Trail and Heunginjimun Gate Trail.

Tip 1) Structures of the Seoul City Wall
  • · City Wall: The city wall was built during three different periods under the reign of King Taejo, King Sejong, and King Sukjong.
  • · Fortress Gate: The fortress gates consist of four main gates located on the four cardinal directions and four auxiliary gates in between the main gates. Referred to as the Sadaemun (Four Great Gates), the main gates consist of Dongdaemun (Heunginjimun) Gate in the east, Seodaemun (Donuimun) Gate in the west, Sungnyemun (Namdaemun) Gate in the south and Sukjeongmun (Bukdaemun) Gate in the north. The four auxiliary gates, referred to as Sasomun (Four Minor Gates), are made up of the southwest Souimun Gate, northwest Changuimun Gate, northeast Honghwamun Gate, and southeast Gwanghuimun Gate.
  • · Ongseong: A fortress that was built in front of Heunginjimun Gate for double protection of the gate.
  • · Chiseong: A wall barrier that added extra protection between Heunginjimun Gate and Gwanghuimun Gate. A rectangular pop-up lookout gave additional advantage against the enemy.
  • · Gokseong: A lookout point built in Inwangsan and Baegaksan Mountains to strengthen defense in the west and the north.
  • · Bongsudae: A beacon station used as a communication method by burning fires at night and smoke signals during the day. Currently, the beacon station in Namsan Mountain is the only one that has been restored.
  • · Sumun: A water gate that controlled the water flow between Heunginjimun Gate and Gwanghuimun Gate section of the wall. Two water gates can be seen at Ogansunmun Gate at Cheonggyecheon Stream and Igansumun Gate near Dongdaemun History & Culture Park.

Six Excursions along the Wall

Sungnyemun Gate Trail
Difficulty Level: Easy (1.8 km, approx. 1 hr)

City wall along the Sungnyemun Gate Trail

Sungnyemun Gate Trail along the western part of the Seoul City Wall begins at Baekbeom Square, passes by the Sungnyemun Gate, and finishes near the Site of Donuimun Gate. During the early 20th century, many parts of the city wall were damaged due to the city’s urbanization. Due to strenuous efforts, a near perfect reconstruction of the wall will leave visitors amazed as it is difficult to find flaws even with a close observation. As you walk along the trail, you will notice some cultural assets of Korea’s modern history, such as the Former Russian Legation, Simpson Memorial Hall at Ewha Girls' High School, and Chungdong First Methodist Church.

For those who would like to start the walk from Sungnyemun Gate (Namdaemun Gate), the fastest way to get to the trail is by coming out of Exit 5 at Hyehwa Station (Seoul Subway Line 4) and passing through Namdaemun Market.

Heunginjimun Gate Trail
Difficulty Level: Easy (1.8 km, approx. 1 hr)

Heunginjimun Gate

Heunginjimun Gate Trail along the eastern part of the Seoul City Wall begins from Heunginjimun Gate (Dongdaemun Gate), passes by the Igansumun Water Gate to the south and finishes on the southeastern side of Gwanghuimun Gate. Similar to the Sungnyemun Gate Trail, many parts of the city wall were damaged or destroyed during the city’s construction. The Igansumun Water Gate within Dongdaemun History & Culture Park was restored after Dongdaemun Stadium was demolished.

To get to the starting point of Heunginjimun Gate Trail, walk for approximately one minute from Exit 6 or 7 at Dongdaemun Station (Seoul Subway Line 1, 4).

Naksan Mountain Trail
Difficulty Level: Easy (2.1 km, approx. 1 hr)

Naksan Mountain Trail

Naksan Mountain Trail, also on the eastern part of the Seoul City Wall, goes from Hyehwamun Gate to Heunginjimun Gate. As the lowest mountain among Seoul’s four mountains, the trail makes for a good stroll while checking out interesting fortress villages. The two must visit areas near the trail are Jangsu Village, for its natural beauty, and Ihwa Village, for its various museums.

Hyehwamun Gate Trail entrance is approximately three-minute walk away from Exit 4 of Hansung University Station (Seoul Subway Line 4), while those who wish to start the trail from Heunginjimun Gate can get to the trail’s starting point in five minutes from Exit 5 of Hoehyeon Station (Seoul Subway Line 4) by passing through Namdaemun Market.

Namsan Mountain Trail
Difficulty Level: Moderate (4.2 km, approx. 3 hr)

Namsan Mountain Trail

Namsan Mountain Trail follows the southern section of the wall. The trail goes over Namsan Mountain, also called Mongmyeoksan Moutain, connecting Jangchung Gymnasium in the east to Baekbeom Square in the west. The part of the city wall built in the 14th century can be seen from Namsan Mountain’s summit, presenting a wonderful sight throughout all four seasons. During spring and fall, in particular, the flowers and the fall foliage harmonize well with the wall.

To get to the starting point at Jangchung Gymnasium, you can either come out from Exit 5 or 6 of Dongguk University Station (Seoul Subway Line 3) and follow the Jangchungdan-gil Road, passing by Namsan J-Gran House, and walk towards National Theater of Korea.

Inwangsan Mountain Trail
Difficulty Level: Hard (4 km, approx. 2 hr 30 min)

View of Seoul from Inwangsan Mountain

Inwangsan Mountain Trail located on the western part of the Seoul City Wall goes from Donuimun Gate to Changuimun Gate. Throughout Inwangsan Mountain, interesting rock formations can be seen, such as the Chimabawi Rock, a rock shaped like a skirt.

To get to the starting point at the Donuimun Gate, you can walk for either five minutes from Exit 3 of Seodaemun Station (Seoul Subway Line 5) or approximately 15 minutes from Exit 7 of Gwanghwamun Station (Seoul Subway Line 5).

Baegaksan Mountain Trail
Difficulty Level: Hard (4.7 km, approx. 3 hr)

Baegaksan Mountain Trail (Credit: Hanyangdoseong, the Seoul City Wall)

Baegaksan Mountain Trail starts from Changuimun Gate on the northwestern wall, passes through the Baegaksan Mountain, originally called Bugaksan Mountain, and finishes at Hyehwamun Gate in the northeast. Out of all the trails, the fortification and damaged walls throughout the history of Seoul City Wall is best preserved here. An amazing panoramic view of the city can be observed from Baegak Gokseong and Cheongundae. Gyeongbokgung Palace and Sejong-daero Road will feel as if they are just out of your reach from these popular viewpoints.

To get to the trail’s starting point at Changuimun Gate, come out of Exit 3 at Gyeongbokgung Station (Seoul Subway Line 3) and transfer to Green Bus No. 7212, 1020 or 7022 and get off at Jahamungogae Ridge Bus Stop, then walk for approximately two minutes.

Tip 2) Pointers on observing the Seoul City Wall
  • The Seoul City Wall has weathered throughout the years as it withstood the test of time to protect the capital. You might see different looking stones as some parts of the wall went through reconstruction for preservation purposes. See if you can find any areas that you think went through reconstruction.

Recommended for Beginners:
Naksan Mountain Trail

Naksan Mountain Trail

If it is your first time walking on any of the Seoul City Wall trails, a good start would be the Naksan Mountain Trail. With a mix of roads, mountain slopes, and alleyways, this trail offers beginners a perfect blend of what other trails have to offer. At the starting point in Hyehwamun Gate, there is a Hanyangdoseong Exibition & Visitor Center where visitors can get a trail map, pamphlets, and an art catalogue. The pamphlets about Seoul City Wall are available in English, Japanese, and Chinese.

Attractions along Naksan Mountain Trail

The main attractions you might see while walking the Naksan Mountain Trail are Jangsu Village, Ihwa Village, and Seoul City Wall Museum. Jangsu Village located below Naksan Park along the city wall was originally a slum village formed after the Korean War. Now with an average age of residents over 60 years old, the name Jangsu Village, which can be translated into Longevity Village, was given. When you go further down the trail, you will encounter Ihwa Village. Known for its artistic beauty, Ihwa Village offers 32 attractions, including galleries, museums, cafés, stores and more. Near the end of the trail, you can visit the Seoul City Wall Museum to learn about the 600-year long history of the wall as well as its value as a cultural heritage.

More info
Jangsu Village
  • ☞ Address: 186, Samseongyo-ro 4-gil, Seongbuk-gu, Seoul (서울특별시 성북구 삼선교로4길 186 구립삼선1동노인정)
  • ☞ Inquiries: +82-70-7503-6744 (Korean only)
  • ☞ Website: www.jangsumaeul.com (Korean only)
Seoul City Wall Museum
  • ☞ Address: 283, Yulgok-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul (서울특별시 종로구 율곡로 283)
  • ☞ Operating hours: Weekdays 09:00-19:00 / Weekends & public holidays (March-October) 09:00-19:00, (November-February) 09:00-18:00 / Closed Mondays and New Year’s Day
  • ☞ Admission: Free
  • ☞ Main facilities: Permanent Exhibition Hall, Special Exhibition Hall, Doseong Information Center, Learning Center
  • ☞ Inquiries: +82-2-724-0243 (Korean only)
  • ☞ Website: www.museum.seoul.kr (Korean only)

Recommended for Experts:
Namsan Mountain Trail

Namsan Mountain Trail

After completing the Naksan Mountain Trail, challenge yourself to the next level at Namsan Mountain Trail. This trail includes a major Seoul attraction, the Namsan Seoul Tower. You can get to the starting point on the back alleyway of Jangchung Gymnasium by coming out of Exit 5 at Dongguk University Station (Seoul Subway Line 3). As it takes a total of three hours to complete this trail, be sure have your stomach full before starting the walk. The famous Jangchung-dong Jokbal Street near Jangchung Gymnasium is a good place for a meal, with many restaurants offering jokbal (steamed pig trotters) as well as makguksu (spicy buckwheat noodles) and bindaetteok (mung bean pancake).

The Center Point of Seoul along Namsan Mountain Trail

A special characteristic of this trail is that you can get to the geographical center of Seoul. With your back facing the Namsan Seoul Tower, you will see a small park with an amazing view of the city; this is where the Center of Seoul is located. During the 3rd year of King Taejo’s rule, Hanyang became the country’s capital and with the city’s expansion, the geographical center of Seoul eventually ended up being near Namsan Mountain’s peak.

Namsan Beacon Mound Site and Jamdubong Photo Island along the trail

Along the trail, Namsan Beacon Mound Site, also known as the Mongmyeoksan Beacon Mound Site, can be seen. Previously called Gyeongbongsu, it worked as the commanding beacon for signals nationwide. Depending on the severity of the emergency, beacons situated throughout the country were used to light either smoke signals or fire to pass on the message to the capital. Another attraction, Jamdubong Photo Island, located in the middle of Namsan Seoul Tower, is a hidden spot known for a beautiful view of Seoul’s nightscape. Unlike at the peak of Namsan Mountain where the view of the city is obstructed by trees, this hidden spot offers a clear panoramic view of Seoul, perfect as a photo backdrop.

Tip 3) Don’t miss the free events at Namsan Beacon Mound Site!

From Tuesdays to Sundays, the Namsan Beacon Mound Lighting Ceremony, the Beacon Mound Defense Ceremony, and the Noon Smoke Ceremony are held from 11:00 to 12:20. In addition, programs such as wearing traditional Korean clothes, photo session with the soldiers stationed at the beacon mounds and more are available free of charge.

More info
Jangchung-dong Jokbal Street
  • ☞ Address: 176, Jangchungdan-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul (서울특별시 중구 장충단로 176)
  • ☞ Operating hours: Varies by restaurant
Namsan Beacon Mound Site
  • ☞ Address: 125-72, Namsangongwon-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul (서울특별시 중구 남산공원길 125-72)
  • ☞ Operating hours: Open 24/7, all year round
Jamdubong Photo Island
  • ☞ Address: 52-1, Yejang-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul (서울특별시 중구 예장동 52-1)
  • ☞ Operating hours: Open 24/7, all year round
More info
Follow the Trails of History & Culture, Hanyangdoseong
  • ☞ Courses: Six courses total
    - Sungnyemun Gate Trail: Baekbeom Square ↔ Site of Donuimun Gate (1.8 km, approx. 1 hr)
    - Heunginjimun Gate Trail: Heunginjimun Gate ↔ Jangchung Gymnasium (1. 8km, approx. 1 hr)
    - Naksan Mountain Trail: Hyehwamun Gate ↔ Heunginjimun Gate (2.1 km, approx. 1 hr)
    - Namsan Mountain Trail: Jangchung Gymnasium ↔ Baekbeom Square (4.2 km, approx. 3 hr)
    - Inwangsan Mountain Trail: Site of Donuimun Gate ↔ Changuimun Gate (4 km, approx. 2 hr and 30 min)
    - Baegaksan Mountain Trail: Changuimun Gate ↔ Hyehwamun Gate (4.7 km, approx. 3 hr)
  • ☞ Operating hours
    - Naksan Mountain Trail • Heunginjimun Gate Trail • Namsan Mountain Trail • Inwangsan Mountain Trail: Open 24/7, all year round
    * Except Namsan Mountain Trail’s The Shilla Seoul ↔ Banyan Tree Club (Open 09:00-18:00)
    - Sungnyemun Gate Trail: November-February 09:00-17:30 / March-May & September-October 09:00-18:00 / June-August 09:00-18:30
    - Baegaksan Mountain Trail: May-August 09:00-18:00 / March-April & September-October 09:00-18:00 / November-February 10:1700
  • ☞ Admission: Free
  • ☞ Inquiries: +82-2-2133-2657 (Korean only)
  • ☞ Website: seoulcitywall.seoul.go.kr (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
    * Click here for a map of the Seoul City Wall (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
  • ☞ 1330 Korea Travel Hotline: +82-2-1330 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese, Russian, Vietnamese, Thai, Malay)

* This column was last updated in May 2019, and therefore information may differ from what is presented here. We advise you to check details before visiting.