The Global Community in Seoul: Global Fashions and Foods
Itaewon is a unique place in Seoul where one can meet people of diverse nationalities and cultures. There is a popular joke saying that international residents may not know Seoul, but they know Itaewon. Seoul even designated Itaewon as its first ‘Special Tourism District,’ to highlight it as a destination for internationals to enjoy a diversity of culture, shopping, and entertainment experiences.
Itaewon is in the middle of Yongsan-gu, which borders the northern part of the Hangang River. It is also close to Seoul Station, Myeong-dong, and Namsan Mountain. The formation of this exotic and global tourism site is closely associated with modern Korean history.
In the aftermath of the Korean War, American soldiers began to stay in the Yongsan Garrison and, consequently, numerous businesses and housing complexes were formed in Yongsan. In preparation for international meetings, the Seoul Asian and Olympic Games, the government strengthened tourism infrastructures and revitalized commerce, prompting international tourists from other parts of the world (such as Japan, Southeast Asia, Africa, the Middle East, etc.) to visit Itaewon.
Itaewon typically refers to the street full of stores, restaurants, and stalls over 1.4 kilometers between Itaewon 1-dong and Hannam 2-dong in the east. Fashion shops specialize in various imported clothes, leather goods, fur goods, handbags, shoes, and antique furniture. Big and tall sizes unavailable in other areas are well-stocked, and experienced tailors offer customized clothes.
Another one of Itaewon’s many draws is its diverse food culture, which features cuisine from around world. Restaurants right behind Hamilton Hotel form a type of exhibition hall for international foods from Korea, New York, London, India, Thailand, China, Greece, Pakistan, Italy, France, Mexico, Australia, and more. Unique flavors, exotic interiors, and diverse nationalities help to make Itaewon befittingly ‘the global village in Seoul.’
Located next to the Main Business Office inside of Itaewon Station, the center offers tourism information in English, Chinese, and Japanese.
• Fees are charged every four hours up to 12 hours, after which fees are charged once every 12 hours.
• Accepted forms of payment: T-Money Card (electronic transit card), credit cards, cash