Korea Travel Guide Sights and Attractions

Hongje Yuyeon: The Art Road of Light in Seoul

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Hongje Yuyeon in Yujin Sangga of Seoul was once an abandoned place but became the art road of light in the city.

A friend of mine saw these very amazing lights inside a tunnel and asked me if I wanted to go and check it out. Since it’s very interesting to me I said “Okay, let’s check it out”. I am not familiar with the place so I did some research about the story of this tunnel.

This place was abandoned 50 years ago and it was built in 1970 as a part of the first residential and commercial complex in Seoul, the Yujin Sangga. It is located in the district of Seodaemun.

Yujin Sangga or Yujin Plaza was built and used as a defensive structure to safeguard the Blue House from an attempted attack from the North in 1970.

Hongje Yuyeon was opened to the public last July 1. An amazing museum of light that gives a new look to the 250 meters long tunnel. It comes with different artworks displayed through neon lights coordinated with relaxing music plus the resonance of the running water from the stream.

What to see?

The Path of Breaths (숨길)

숨 (sum) means to hide and 길 (gil) means path or road. This path of breath was recreated as a way to walk to clear your mind and body in nature to get some comfort. The space of light makes you feel walking in the woods or forest while listening to music which helps the body and mind to be relaxed.

Hongje Mani Wheels (홍제 마니차)

At first, I don’t know what these mean. But I found out that Hongje Mani Wheels means Hongje Prayer Wheels. ‘Mani‘ means ‘a precious bead that shines brightly‘. They said that it grants people’s wishes.

Mani’s are used also in Tibet and these are cylindrical wheels and people used to walk along with them and turn them with their hands while meditating and praying, they call it ‘prayer wheel’.

While here at Hongje, the Mani Wheels is made of stainless steel, wood, and a metal plate. It is composed of 1,000 messages about life in which you can turn and read the warm messages of the people sharing their precious moments in life. These mani wheels are sharing the emotions and warm hands of the people and making each wish come true. This also helps as a psychological comfort, it is very timely during this time of coronavirus where everyone is hoping to go back to normal life.

A Row of Magnificent Pillars and Brilliant Lightning

Watching these water lights and water sounds gave me a very different feeling considering the characteristics of the tunnel. I love the positive vibes of the lights reflecting onto the water while listening to the sound of the flowing water.

I’ve also known that people get a positive impact on this place by regenerating an art space of an old facility to a new look that stimulates the five senses with the unique smell of the waterway under the bridge with the sense of modern art.

Hongje Yeonga, the mise en scene

A 3D hologram where you can see the unpredictable and extensive evolution of nature. It is also a reminder of the meaning of a revolving ecological environment. 

The Future Ecology of Hongje Yuyeon (홍제유연 미래 생태계)

Through a projector, this image is being displayed on the wall of the tunnel of Hongje Yuyeon. These were created by students from Inwang Elementary School and Hongje Elementary School. The children drew the future ecology of Hongje Yuyeon. The image of flora and fauna has a strong vitality despite its underground environment with no sunlight coming in. 

SunMoonMoonSun (日月,月日)

The letters mean sun (日), moon (月), stand (立) and say (曰).   The original meaning of the text is to redefine the light or brightness (明) and sound (音) in space. It also symbolizes the current environment of Hongjecheon is an era created by the harmony between culture and nature.

The reflection of the letters on the surface of Hongjecheon represents its past. Which leads to a special experience of its current environment.

Hongje Yuyeon is open from 10:00 in the morning and 10:00 in the evening. This place is best to visit during summer because the water which is flowing on the tunnel makes the place cooler. Also, a recommended place for walking, running, or biking since it has walk and bike lanes.

Hongye Yuyeon was also featured in the new tourism campaign Energy of Seoul, so if you are looking for another place with the same energy you can visit Flowers By Naked in Hongdae.

How to get here?

Take the Seoul Subway Line 3 going to the Hongje Station and get out at exit 1. Just walk straight until you reach the intersection turn right, walk straight, and pass the traditional market. Cross the street where you can see the 중간가압장. Go down to the stream and you’ll see the under passage right away.

Address: Underground of Yujin Sangga, 48-84, Hongeun-dong, Seodaemun-gu (Exit 1 of Hongje Station)


What can you say about this art light museum? Is it yay or nay?

Xoxo, Hyejin 

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20 Replies to “Hongje Yuyeon: The Art Road of Light in Seoul”

  1. Ang ganda ng arts of light. I’ll definitely include this in my list of places to visit in Korea. Sana talaga maexperience ko din ang Korea specially this place.

  2. Awww I miss Seoul! I thought I’ve seen everything that can be seen there already — but this is a good one! Love the pillars sa may water — looks like a music video spot!

  3. Ang galing naman! Yung dating abandoned place naging art road. Sana lahat ng government ganito ka-creative! LOL but seriously, ang galing talaga diyan sa South Korea. Walang sinasayang na mga establishment. Lahat hahanapan ng paraan para maging useful.

  4. It may be a bit creepy but it also looks very IG Worthy! It’s really refreshing to see how abandoned places get a makeover. Kudos to the Korean gov’t for this!

  5. It’s nice that they were able to transform it into something so beautiful and worthy to visit! 🙂 Kudos to South Korea for the great work! 🙂

  6. It is an inspiring move by their local government. I hope the idea goes to some of our LGUs here to bring back to life some dead spots in their respective jurisdictions. I liked particularly the message of the letter’s reflection.

    1. That’s Korean culture. Lahat may silbi walang tapon.
      Yung way ng pag develop nila sa mga unused places and spaces ginagawa din nila sa foods.
      Like yung sa mais db pag naubos na natin ung mais tapon na ug matigas nya dito binibilad yun saka ginagawang tea.
      Ang tutong sa atin halos ayaw kainin dito ginagawang snack.

  7. I have never been to Korea!! Hopefully, magkaroon ako ng opportunity to see this soon. Ganda ng lights!

  8. Quite an eerie place if you ask me, but it’s super fascinating how this was transformed! I feel like there’s a sense of magic in that place that I’d like to check out myself!

  9. Ang ganda! Napakacreative naman at yung abandoned place naging art road of light. Sana talaga makapunta na ko sa SoKor. Padami na ng padami ang listahan ng pupuntahan ko.

  10. i loved how you explained the history and meaning of each area. parang fave ko dito aside sa lights na maeenjoy ni coco ay yung path of breaths, kahit unang pumasok sa isip ko ay madami kaya namatay dun kaya breaths? pero gusto ko yung pagmumuni muni na parang nas aforest! thanks for sharing! lalo ako na eenganyo mag sokor dahil sa inyo!

  11. I can’t wait to travel to South Korea, my sister wanted to see film locations while I am a fan of culture and history, definitely adding Hongje Yeonga to my list. Very creative and resourceful ng mga Koreans to come up with this concept.

  12. This place is definitely a yay for me because I love everything about in SoKor haha. This place might be dark, but that’s the art of it, the physical restoration of something old and abandoned turned into an attraction. Luv it.

  13. I love this! I love abandon places omg! I get this excited already seeing how artsy they turn this place into! Hope to get to see it!

  14. I wish we could also get to transform some of our old abandoned historical buildings into something like this. Ang ganda ng datingan, and yung lighted pillars look like a structured light tunnel ng nabana no sato 😀

  15. I’ve always had a penchant for streetart. And this one, although quite creepy tbh, is very very unique. I love the history, meaning, and art behind it. Must see in my next SoKor trip indeed!

    1. Hoping nga ako na hindi sila nasira noong may bagyo na halos 3 weeks na umuulan kasi umapaw yung mga stream kasama yang lugar na yan.

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