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Slow City print

Yuchi-myeon in Jangheung-gun, Jeollanam-do is a designated “Slow City.” The district contains Banwol Mauel, a tiny village of approximately 40 households, which became famous in Korea after it was used as a filming location for the movies "Festival," and "Beyond the Years." In the past it was a secluded area, cut off from the rest of the world, but it slowly made a name for itself by breeding beetles and cultivating shiitake mushrooms. To this day, the villagers here strictly adhere to organic farming methods to keep intact the area’s pristine environment, which has been handed down through generations. Traditional houses and roads lined with low stonewalls are still well preserved and give the town a rustic, peaceful atmosphere.

The Yuchi district is one of Korea’s most famous producers of Slow Food, which is one of the reasons why it was designated a Slow City. The area is known not only for its organic farming methods, but also for its rich ecology, which attracts many visitors. It offers the perfect habitat for dung beetles, which are on the verge of extinction in other regions of Korea. It is the location of the Dung Beetle Festival, Beetle Village and Earthworm Farm. Visitors to the Yuchi district can take a tour of the forest inhabited by the beetles and learn about their lifecycle, as well as gather shiitake mushrooms.

Things to See
Borimsa Temple

Borimsa Temple, located to the south of Mount Gaji, was established during the Silla Dynasty. The temple is very picturesque and is surrounded by pristine nature. The major buildings of the temple are hidden behind Iljumun and Sacheonwangmun Gates.

The mineral water fountain in the center of the temple was designated by the Korean Association for Conservation of Nature as one of Korea’s Cleanest and best-tasting Springs. Due to Borimsa Temple’s long illustrious history, it contains a wide range of national treasures and cultural properties.

Cheongwansan Mount Forest

Mount Cheongwansan, listed as one of the five best mountains in Jeollanam-do, is rugged and rocky. However, it is beautifully covered in a sea of camellias in spring and pampas grass in fall.

The mountain peak towers above the starkly beautiful landscape of the Dadohae Marine National Park with its scattered islands. The forest on the slope of Cheongwansan is an ideal place to unwind, relax, and enjoy the fresh air; it is particularly suitable for families with small children and for those not fit for serious mountain climbing. There are plenty of rest areas in the forest, so visitors can rest their weary feet and take a break from their normally fast-paced lives.

Things to Enjoy
Jeongnamjin Saturday Market

This traditional open-air market takes place every Saturday and offers an endless array of food, entertainment, and regional specialties. A great selection of authentic southern Korean dishes made from Jangheung comb pen shell scallops, Korean beef (or 'hanu'), short-necked clams, or soft tofu (also 'sundubu' in Korean) is available at stalls and restaurants.
Traditional folk music performances, dances, and concerts are staged for the entertainment of market-goers. One corner of the market is set aside for shoppers to take part in traditional games, such as stick throwing, top spinning, jegi (a kind of shuttlecock) kicking, pottery making, fabric dyeing, and kite making. Fresh local produce and regional crafts, as well as basic necessities, are also on sale. The market opens at 10:00 in the morning, but travelers are advised to come around noon, when the market is in full swing.

Beetle Festival

Banwol Village still strictly adheres to the organic farming methods established in the past; thus, it is densely populated with large oak trees, which are used to cultivate shiitake mushrooms. Farmers began to utilize the leftover sap and sawdust for breeding dung beetles. The beetles, which take a full year to grow from an egg to an adult insect, emerged as a major source of income for this village, and the Beetle Festival took off as crowds began to flock here to watch them grow.

The annual Beetle Festival takes place in late July, and visitors can gain hands-on experience in breeding beetles, collecting shiitake mushrooms, going on waterside excursions, and watching beetle wrestling matches.

Things to Eat
Shiitake Mushrooms

Shiitake mushrooms, called pyogo mushrooms in Korean, have been grown in Jangheung since 1454. Shiitake mushrooms, which grow on pine trees in the mild climate of Korea’s south coast, are well known for their extraordinary flavor and fragrance.

The Jangheung region is the nation’s largest shiitake producer with an annual production of 2,500 tons. Yuchi district in particular has a notable number of shiitake farmers. These gourmet shiitake mushrooms are cultivated on pine trees utilizing centuries-old traditional methods and no pesticides or artificial fertilizers. They are rich in fiber and vitamin B and can be used to naturally flavor savory dishes. You can taste your own freshly-picked shiitake in the Yuchi district. Dried shiitake mushrooms also make great gifts.

“Namdo Hanjeongsik & Samhab”
Jangheung region is often called the 'Home of Korean Flavors', because of its many creative, rich-tasting local dishes. Jangheung is famous for juicy, pasture-raised beef. Also, not to be missed is namdo jeongsik, a full-course meal consisting of steamed rice, kimchi and an overwhelming number of side dishes made with Jangheung’s local produce. During the summer months, restaurants near the Jangheung Saturday Open-air Market serve meals with ark shell clams caught from the mudflats.

Jangheung samhab,
the trio of Korean beef, comb pen shell scallops, and shiitake mushrooms broiled and eaten together, is a widely known delicacy of Jangheung. Jangheung samhab and namdo jeongsik are the two must-try dishes for visitors traveling in Jangheung region. 

How to Get There
By train

From Yongsan station, take the train to Gwangju-Songjeong Station. The train runs 33 times a day from 05:20 to 23:10. The Mugunghwa train costs 22,300 won and takes 4 hours and 10 minutes. The ITX-Saemaeul train costs 33,100 won and takes 4 hours. The KTX costs 46,800 won and takes about 2 hours.
→ From Gwangju-Songjeong Station, take a taxi or the subway to Hwajeong Station and walk to the Gwangju Express Bus Terminal U-Square, then take a bus to Jangheung. The bus runs 27 times a day from 06:05 to 21:05.
→ From Jangheung Intercity Bus Terminal, take a local bus to Yuchi. The bus runs 12 times a day from 06:10 to 18:40.

By bus

From Central City Bus Terminal, take an express bus to Jangheung. The bus runs 6 times a day at 08:00, 09:00, 10:30, 14:40, 15:30, and 16:50, and takes approximately 5 hours. The premium bus costs 26,700 won and the regular bus 23,200 won.
→ From Jangheung Intercity Bus Terminal, take a local bus to Yuchi. The bus runs 12 times a day from 06:10 to 18:40.



Jangheung region’s attraction lies in its enchanting nature rather than entertainment facilities, so be prepared to do without some of the modern conveniences and facilities for the duration of your stay there. When traveling through Jangheung, relax, enjoy pristine nature, and experience the region’s fascinating ecology.

Travelers TipsGathering shiitake mushrooms and feeding beetles in Banwol Village will give you unforgettable memories. At Banwol Village, visitors have the chance to learn about farming beetles, long-horned beetles, freshwater crayfish and fireflies through a variety of programs, including feeding the insects, taking a tour around the breeding farm, making a kit for beetle breeding, and the educational class on breeding theories for the insects.

The duration of the entire program lasts about 4 hours, with short breaks for snacks which are provided. The program might not be available in English, but participants should still be able to enjoy Yuchi’s fascinating ecology.

More info

Inquiries: +82-61-862-6720
1330 Korea Travel Hotline: +82-2-1330 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)

* This column was last updated in August 2015, and therefore information may differ from what is presented here. We advise you to check details from the official websites before visiting.

<Last updated on August 10, 2015>

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