Day 2 (part 1) – Gwanghwamun Tour and Jongmyo Royal Shrine festival
After a good night sleep at Shinchon Guesthouse, we have some breakfast at the guesthouse. They do provide self service coffee and toast bread with peanut butter/jam. It enough to fill our stomach to move to next walk. We took Line 2 subway and interchange at Chungmuro station to Line 5. Then we exit at Gwanghwamun station exit 2. Coming out from the subway station really make our eyes open. The weather and the environment really different from Malaysia. At sunny day with cold weather, we saw the Gwanghwamun exactly in front of us. It was huge and a lot of people surrounding the place. We walk towards the Gwanghwamun gate and there is this stall giving out free King attire for try. We tried wearing the King hanbok. After few shots of picture (in the lost camera), we walk around the Gwanghwamun square.
Straight before heading to Gwanghwamun gate, there is this statue of King Sejong. King Sejong is one of the greatest king in Joseon Dynasty. If you read my previous post of the movie Deep Rooted Tree, you will know King Sejong invented Korean writing system and few others great invention.
From the side of King Sejong status facing, there is another statue Admiral Yi Sun-sin. He is one of the greatest admiral in Joseon Dynasty popular with his battle towards Japanese invasion. His strategy of sea battle, loyalty and turtle ship. I watch this Korean movie name Heaven’s Soldiers, which shows several modern army of North Korea and South Korea accidentally travel back to Joseon Dynasty during a battle. The found them self stuck with this guy who is actually Admiral Yi Sun-sin. A nice movie which allow me to know Admiral Yi Sun-sin for 1st time.
Then we walk towards the gate and we saw lots of people wearing hanbok and with horses. We have no idea what is happening. Then there is the brochure in front of the Gwanghwamun. We realize that we at the most right time of the year. There is this UNESCO heritage festival of Jongmyo Royal Shrine. Group of people were replaying the Royal praying ceremony of Jongmyo which happens once a year on every 1st Sunday of May of that year. Wow, we are so lucky.
While waiting for it to start, we took a few pictures and also buy the Integrated Admission of all palaces. It include of Changdeokgung, Gyeongbokgung, Deoksugung, Jongmyo, Secret Garden (Huwon), and Changyeonggung. It helps to save 4,000won if you decided to go all palace.
The dude below is acting as the Prince or King, I also don’t really know. Base on the interpreter, they mention this ceremony will require the King bloodline to perform. As the last Joseon King do not have descendent, thus the King relatives bloodline is require. They don’t have any special treatment by the Korea government. They do live like normal people, just that this festival require them to participate.
We follow the tour and walk from Gyeongbokgung palace to Jongmyo Shrine. It took us about 40 minutes of walk.
After arrived, there are too many people. So we unable to see the live preview and have to stay outside watching the projector version of live stream.
We couldn’t wait too long as this ceremony going to take about 2-3 hours. We are tired and hungry so we move back to Gyeongbokgung and head to Tosokchon for Samgyetang.