March 1 Movement Day (삼일절)

March 1 in Korea is March 1 Movement Day (삼일절, Sam-il Movement), and Tapgol Park is one of the best known symbols of the resistance against the Japanese occupation of Korea. It was here that the Declaration of Independence was first read publicly under the eight-sided Palgakjeong Pavilion. This sparked the historic March 1st Movement in 1919.

Tapgol Park (탑골 공원) is near Insadong. It contains bronze reliefs that tell the story of the March 1 Movement, has the Declaration of Independence posted in English, and honors those who led the movement with statues near the main entrance to the park. In the park is also the Wongaksa Pagoda, which is ten stories high, made of marble, and cconstructed in 1467 as part of Wongaksa temple.

We visited Tapgol Park twice during our fall 2017 visit to Seoul. The fall foliage in the park was beautiful. And the history nerd in me loved being in a place of such historical significance.

Manse! Manse! Manse! (만세)

Watch an Arirang TV report on the March 1 Movement:

Learn more about Yu Gwan-soon (유관순)

Learn more about Tapgol Park:


Three Kingdoms Living History

As we’ve continued our chronological study of history, we’ve been studying the Three Kingdoms period of Korea’s history. And as I was doing research I was thrilled to find that there are two places in Korea that celebrate these kingdoms.

Just two more places to add to my must-see lists for when we visit next time. I love visiting places that bring history to life!

Here are links for more information about the two I’ve found so far.

Silla Millennium Park

Baekje Cultural Land


Looking for a unique way to take in Korea during your visit? Consider Koreastay through Korea Toursim. It’s a homestay program in which you are staying with a Korean family during your visit.

This is definitely something our family would consider doing. What an interesting way to become immersed in Korean culture and life!

For more information you can visit:

Korean Textile Exhibit

If you’re in the San Francisco area, you might want to check out the Museum of Craft and Folk Art. Now through late October, they have on display an exhibit titled, “Wrapping Traditions: Korean Textiles Now.”

The exhibit features bojaki (보자기, pronounced bojahkee), which is a traditional Korean patchwork, and includes the work of 66 artists from around the world.

On Aug. 13, you can make your own patchwork wrapping cloth and even receive guides to help you make more patchwork at home.

You can learn more about the exhibit at the museum’s web site:

O’ngo Food Tours: A Cool Thing to Do in Seoul

OK, I just learned about this but it sounds really cool (the slang, dates me, doesn’t it?) so I had to share it with you. If you love Korean food, it’s certainly something you should check out.

The company is O’ngo Food Communications and they offer several culinary tours in Seoul, as well as cooking classes, consultation for companies, and more.

Here’s the link to the tour page, There’s a night tour that introduces you to Korea’s drinking culture (if that’s your thing), a taste tour during which you’ll stop at six places and have lunch over the course of those stops, a fish market tour, and private tours that you can customize. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

Another cool aspect of this business is that it’s chief of marking and tours is a Korean adoptee who returned to Korea in 2004. His love of food also led him to start, a popular food blog.

I don’t know if our son would go for multiple hours spend only walking and eating, but it sounds like something the husband and I would love. Maybe we’ll be fortunate enough to take a babysitter with us on our next Korea trip so we can try this out.

Sarangchae at Cheong Wa Dae

I love finding new places that I want to visit. I just learned about Sarangchae at Cheong Wa Dae, a history/visitor’s center located on the grounds of the Blue House (presidential residence) in Seoul.

Sarangchae is a little of everything in once place. You’ll learn some Korean history, see an exhibit about the attractions located in Seoul, be introduced to the country’s traditional customs, and can even have a presidential experience. The Presidential Experience Hall really piqued my interest (I know, I’m a nerd). In this area you can take photos in a mock presidential office and get a photo with the Korean president and the first lady, via blue screen, of course.

Tours of the facilities are available in three different languages, including English, and take about an one hour. The center has only been open a little more than a year. Admission is free, but keep in mind the center is closed on Monday.

You can learn more here:

Seodaemun Prison

 You must be thinking, “Why would we want to visit a prison while visiting Korea?” Well because this prison played a huge role in Korea’s history of fighting for independence.

Seodaemin Prison barracks (from Wikipedia)

Tomorrow, March 1, marks 92 years since Koreans began fighting for their independence from Japan. (More on that in tomorrow’s post.) Upon arrest, many of these fighters were held without trial in Seodaemun Prison, often tortured and some killed.

In 1992, the site was dedicated as the Seodaemun Prison History Hall, part of Independence Park. Seven of the prison complex’s original fifteen buildings are preserved as historical monuments.

The prison serves as a reminder to all that freedom rarely comes without cost.

You can find more information about it at: