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The year 2006 was a landmark for Korean historical dramas. In addition to the masculine dramas such as ‘Jumong,’ ‘Yeongaesomun,’ and ‘Daejoyeong,’ ‘Hwang Jiny’ topped 20% viewership by both male and female viewers with its exquisite costumes and colorful images. Actress Ha Ji-Won won the 2006 KBS Drama Best Actress Award in her role as Hwang Jiny, demonstrating the popularity of the drama.
Filmed at a number of beautiful sites around the nation, the film’s striking visual effects and colorful costumes and props added to the drama. The luxurious costumes and accessories of the main character Hwang Jiny cost over 100 million won, and the fabulous hanbok (traditional Korean garb) worn by the other characters seemed to be right out of a fashion magazine. In addition, the powerful scenes and passionate acting contributed to the 30% viewership rating especially in the season’s finale.

[Drama Information]
Broadcast network: KBS
Broadcasting dates: October 11, 2006~December 28, 2006 on Wednesday & Thursday nights at 21:55
Producer: Kim Cheol-gyu
Cast: Ha Ji-won, Kim Jae-won, Ryu Tae-jun, Wang Bit-na
Website: (Korean)

Born to a gisaeng (a female entertainer) and a father of noble background, Hwang Jiny was left at a temple by her mother, who did not want her to become a gisaeng. Although she led a sheltered life within the temple walls, one day she happened to see some gisaengs in the marketplace. Wanting to learn how to dance, she goes to a gisaeng’s house, where she meets her mother for the first time.
Jiny shows outstanding talent for playing the geomungo (a traditional Korean instrument) and for dancing. Meanwhile, she falls in love with Eunho, who is from a powerful noble family. They cannot overcome the fact they are from different social backgrounds, and Eunho dies of a broken heart. Unable to forget her first love Eunho, Jiny lives a miserable life succumbing to alcohol. She drinks day and night and has no desire to dance anymore. While in a state of drunkenness, she decides to kill herself but is saved by Jeonghan. Afterwards, he becomes her new love.

Hwang Jiny (Myeongwol) / Played by Ha Ji-won
Hwang Jiny hates her father who cruelly abandoned her mother, and she worries because her mother still loves him. Jiny loves to dance and is ready to endure the struggle to become a true performer. Not only is she more talented than most scholars, but she is also a talented poet. She is bold enough to stand up to the highest-ranking nobleman, but kind enough to help those in need. She has a tender heart, but also has such a strong will. Once she makes up her mind, she never looks back.

Kim Jeonghan / Played by Kim Jae-won
A brilliant scholar, Jeonghan is one of the king’s favored subjects. But after losing his mentor by a palace intrigue, he leaves to wander around the nation. He has an open heart and is full of compassion for the common people. He has no interest in women, nor any plans to get married. But after meeting Hwang Jiny, he falls in love with her and they share a passionate love together. He endures many difficulties while looking after Jiny, but his love for her remains steadfast and genuine.

Byeok Gyesu / Played by Ryu Tae-jun
Born into a royal family, Gyesu has power, wealth, and good looks. He is a pleasure-seeking womanizer who has no sincere feelings for women. From the moment he sees Hwang Jiny, however, he longs for her. Knowing that she does not share his feelings, he retaliates against Jiny and those close to her. He is both rational and obsessive, but he enjoys art and the casual way of life.

Buyong / Played by Wang Bit-na
Shadowed by the excellence of her rival Hwang Jiny, Buyong is not a virtuoso, but makes up for it through hard work. She is quite a clever person who understands the way to manipulate and gain power and success. She is self-confident, but she is hurt every time she competes against Jiny. She would do anything to be able to dance better than Jiny, and practices every day in her efforts to triumph over her.

Gyeonghuigung Palace
In a competition to select the best dancer, Hwang Jiny performs at a royal banquet, competing against Buyong. Dancing before the King and high-ranking officials, Hwang Jiny dances the Hakchum, a crane dance. However, she faints and fails to finish the dance. The scene in which Kim Jeonghan takes her in his arms and carries her out of the banquet hall was filmed in Gyeonghuigung, the auxiliary palace for Joseon rulers. For about 270 years, Gyeonghuigung was used for official functions such as enthronement ceremonies, royal banquets, and receptions for foreign representatives.

→ Got to the Gyeonghuigung Palace

Korea Travel Phone: +82-2-1330 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
Address: Sinmun-ro 2-ga 1-beonji, Jongno-gu, Seoul
Hours: 10:00~20:00 (Closed on Mondays and New Year)
Admission: Free
How to Get There: Take Subway Line 5 to Gwanghwamun Station and go out of Exit 7 or to Seodaemun Station and out Exit 4.

Namyangju Studios
The Chwihwaseon set in Namyangju Studios is where the market scenes and Hwang Jiny’s tightrope scene were filmed. As part of her dance training, Hwang Jiny learns to walk across a tightrope at the marketplace to increase the sensitivity of her feet. The film’s leading actress Ha Ji-won actually installed a tightrope in her house to practice before shooting the risky scene on a 3-meter-high rope. Namyangju Studios is located on a lot with a total land area of 400,000 pyeong, of which 30,000 pyeong houses film sets.

Korea Travel Phone: +82-31-1330 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
Address: San 100-beonji, Samdong-ri, Joan-myeon, Namyangju-si, Gyeonggi-do Admission: 3,000 won
Hours: March~October 10:00~18:00, November~February 10:00~17:00
How to Get There: Take bus 2228 in front of Hyundaicore at Cheongnyangni Station → Get off at Jinjung Samgeori → Take a community shuttle bus to Namyangju Studios (Buses come every 15 minutes / Walk 2 kilometers after getting off the bus).

The numerous scenes of Hwang Jiny’s childhood were filmed in Seongyojang. This is also where Eunho and Hwang Jiny shared their first kiss. The site was also used to film the TV drama Princess Hours because of its classic Joseon-Dynasty ambience. Once, a nobleman’s residence during the Joseon era, Seongyojang has beautiful grounds as well as a collection of thousands of books, calligraphy, and paintings.

Korea Travel Phone: +82-33-1330 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
Address: Unjeong-dong 431, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do
Hours: 09:00~18:00
Admission: 2,000 won
How to Get There: Take a bus for Gangneung at the Dong Seoul Bus Terminal → Get off at Gangneung Bus Terminal and take the local bus #202 for Gyeongpodae → Get off at Seongyojang bus stop.

Gochangeupseong Fortress
Enraptured by Hwang Jiny’s dance, Eunho grumbles that he doesn’t want her to dance for anyone else but him, and that he doesn’t want her to show off her beauty to any other than him. The lovely, romantic scene was filmed at Gochangeupseong Fortress, which was also the film location for Daejanggeum (Jewel in the Palace).

Korea Travel Phone: +82-63-1330 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
Address: Eumnae-ri San 9, Gochang-eup, Gochang-gun, Jeollabuk-do
How to Get There: Take a bus for Gochang at Central City Bus Terminal (take subway Line 3 or 7 to Gangnam Express Bus Terminal Station) (07:00~19:00 / 16 daily departures / Bus Fare: 13,500 won / Ride takes 3 hours, 40 minutes) → Walk from Gochang Bus Terminal.

Korean Folk Village
An often-used film location for the latter part of the drama was the Korean Folk Village. There, Hwang Jiny rides in a lotus palanquin and passes Kim Jeonghan who is being taken away for execution by the King’s order. At the Korean Folk Village, there are traditional Korean houses and streets just like in the old days. It offers a variety of traditional cultural programs, and is a great place for a day trip to watch performances and games, and enjoy a meal in one of the restaurants.

→ Got to the Korean Folk Village

Tel: +82-31-288-0000
Website: (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
Address: Bora-dong 107, Giheung-gu, Yongin-si, Gyeonggi-do
Admission: 11,000 won
How to Get There: Take subway line 2 to Jamsil Station, and go out of Exit 6 → At the bus stop next to Jugong Apartment Complex 5, take a bus bound for Korean Folk Village (takes a duration of 2 hours).

Mureung Valley
When Hwang Jiny swims in the water with her friends during her childhood, Eunho and his friends watch from their hiding place. This is where Jiny and Eunho meet for the first time and where they later dance and sing together by a waterfall. Mureung Valley has a particularly beautiful pond created by the water that flows down between huge, flat rocks so wide they can accommodate hundreds of people. The waterfall is set against the mountain with such a lovely scene that it seems like a home for supernatural beings.

Korea Travel Phone: +82-33-1330 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
Address: Samhwa-dong, Donghae-si, Gangwon-do
How to Get There: Take a bus for Donghae at Dong Seoul Bus Terminal (Take subway line 2 to Gangbyeon Station) → At Donghae Intercity Bus Terminal, take a bus for Mureung Valley (takes a duration of 1 hour / Bus comes every 30 minutes).

Jusanji Lake
In the tenth episode, Hwang Jiny is drunk and depressed over Eunho’s death, and decides to drown herself in the water. The scene in which Kim Jeonghan saves her was filmed at Jusanji Lake, a reservoir created about 270 years ago. Numerous weeping willows that grow in the water create a fantastic landscape surrounded by a thick forest. The movie Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter and Spring was also filmed here. This area is famous for the early morning mist that blankets the landscape.

→ Go to the Jusanji Lake

Korea Travel Phone: +82-54-1330 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
Address: Ijeon-ri, Budong-myeon, Cheongsong-gun, Gyeongsangbuk-do
How to Get There: Take a bus for Mt. Juwangsan at Dong Seoul Bus Terminal → Get off at Mt. Juwangsan National Park → At the bus terminal in front of the park, take a local bus headed for Ijeon-ri Village (7 daily departures) → Get off at Jusanji.

This is the expansive riverbank where Hwang Jiny learns Geommu, a sword dance, from Maehyang. Jiny also practices the crane dance, watching the soaring birds. The cliff from which Baekmu jumps off after she completes a beautiful crane dance is the Buyongdae Cliff in Andong Hahoe Village. From the village, the cliff can be reached by boat. The entire village can be seen from the top of the cliff.

→ Go to the Andong Hahoe Village

Korea Travel Phone: +82-54-1330 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
How to Get There: Take a bus for Andong at Gangnam Express Bus terminal → In Andong, take the local bus #46 (8 daily departures / takes 40 minutes) → Get off at Andong Hahoe Village and walk.

Byeongamjeong Pavilion
This pavilion frequently appeared in the drama as the place where Hwang Jiny and Eunho met secretly, and was also the scene of Eunho’s death. Perched serenely on a rock that stands like a folding screen, Byeongamjeong pavilion and the pond with lotus blossoms offer a beautiful view. A lovely arched bridge was built across the pond, creating an even more romantic ambience.

How to Get There: Take a bus bound for Yecheon at Dong Seoul Bus Terminal (06:40~14:00, 11 daily departures / Bus Fare: 13,200 won / takes 2.5 hours) → Get off at Yecheon Bus Terminal → At the bus stop across the street from the terminal, take a local bus bound for Yongmun (takes 20 minutes) → Get off in Hageum, turn back, and walk about 5 meters straight ahead → Walk down the hill and over the bridge → The pavilion is on the right-hand side.

* Photo Courtesy by Cine 21, KBS

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