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.
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?