Gyeongbokgung Palace [경복궁]

KBS Drama Special: Traces of Love (2020); When My Love Blooms (2020); Failing In Love (2019); Mother of Mine (2019); Kingdom (2019); Temperature of Love (2017); My Sassy Girl (2017); Chicago Typewriter (2017); Legend of the Blue Sea (2016-17); Goblin (2016-17); The Royal Gambler (2016); Queen In-Hyun's Man (2012); My Princess (2011); Deep Rooted Tree (2011); The Princess' Man (2011); Goong (2006); The Fifth Republic (2005); Jang hee-bin (2002-03); Ladies of the Palace (2001-2002); Empress Myeongseong (2001-02); Tears of the Dragon (1996-98)

Inside the palace

In episode 1 of Goong/Princess Hours (궁) (MBC, 2006), Shin Chae-gyeong (Yoon Eun-hye) explains how the palace is an “empty place now” and invites to imagine South Korea as a constitutional monarchy and this palace as a venue in which a “charming prince that every girl is in love with” lives. While she does this, parts of the outside wall and the Heungnyemun Gate [경복궁 흥례문] as well as the Geunjeongjeon Throne Hall [근정전]’s interior are briefly seen, followed by Crown Prince Yi Shin (Ju Ji-hoon) dressed in military dress uniform appears as the said charming prince.

In Ladies of the Palace/Women of the World (여인천하) (SBS, 2001-02), most areas of this palace — notably the Gangnyeongjeon Hall —as King’s private quarters—, the Gyotaejeon Hall & Amisan Rear Garden —serving as the Queen’s residence and its rear area as the dowager queen/queen mother’s residence—, the Hyangwonjeong Pavillion & Chwihyanggyo Bridge, the Hamhwadang Hall [함화당], the Bihyeon’gak Hall [경복궁 비현각] —as the Crown Prince’s studying area— and the Gyeonghoeru Pavillion [경회루]— are featured.

Masquerade/ Gwanghae: The Man Who Became King (광해 왕이 된 남자) (2012).

Bihyeon’gak Hall [경복궁 비현각]

This hall served in Empress Myeongseong/The Last Empress (명성황후) (KBS2, 2001-02) as the exterior stand-in first as Gojong’s concubine Lady Lee’s private quarters, then as Geoncheonggung Residence (건청궁, Gojong & Empress Myeongseong private quarters).

Gangnyeongjeon Hall [경복궁 강녕전] & Amisan Rear Garden [아미산]

This hall was partly utilized as the Uigeumbu (의금부, the Royal Investigative Bureau roughly equivalent to the Supreme Court) in Kingdom (킹덤/Kingdeom) (Netflix, 2019 — Season 1).

Gyeonghoeru Pavilion [경회루]
National Treasure Number 224

Lee Se-ryung (Moon Chae-won) falls backwards from the balustrade of this pavilion – digitally-altered, i.e. the entire 2-story pavillion is digitally removed and only the artificial island’s stone balustrade railing remains – in the promotional teaser for The Princess’ Man (공주의 남자) (KBS2, 2011) as well as the Geunjeongjeon Throne Hall [근정전] (only exterior shots; even in the promotional poster as well).

Lee Do (Han Suk-Kyu) is seen standing at the feet of this pavilion in the teaser trailer ‘뿌리 깊은 나무 티저 예고편 9월28일 첫방송!’ and the Drama Opening of Deep Rooted Tree/Tree With Deep Roots (뿌리 깊은 나무) (SBS, 2011).

Modern Boy (모던 보이/Modeon Boi) (2008)

Gyotaejeon Hall [교태전]
Main living quarters and resting area for the queen

This hall and its courtyard served as an exterior stand-in for Queen Inhyeon’s residence —in reality located Gyeongchunjeon Hall of Changgyeonggung Palace [창경궁 경춘전]— in episode 1 of The Royal Gambler/Jackpot (대박) (SBS, 2016) where King Sukjong noticed an (undercover) palace girl (future Choi suk-bin) placing a pair of Deposed Queen Inhyeon’s shoes on the central stone steps and a lotus leaf above.

The rear area of this hall is an exterior stand-in for Chwiseondang Hall of Changgyeonggung Palace [창경궁 취선당] — Lady Jang Hee-bin’s (Kim Hye-soo) main residence — in Jang hee-bin/Royal Story (장희빈) (KBS2, 2002-03).

This hall is also seen in Empress Myeongseong/The Last Empress (명성황후) (KBS2, 2001) as exterior stand-in for Daejojeon Hall [대조전] of Changdeokgung Palace [창덕궁].

Hyangwonjeong Pavilion [경복궁 향원정] & Chwihyanggyo Bridge [취향교]
Two-story hexagonal pavilion built under King Gojong during the 10th year of his reign in 1873. The bridge was historically located on the north side but after bomb damage during the Korean War was mistakenly reconstructed on the present-south side

It is on the Chwihyanggyo Bridge leading to this pavilion that Princess Hyemyeong (Oh Yeon-seo) encounters her brother, the prince, with his tutor Gyun Woo (Joo Won) when on stroll in the palace’s garden in episode 4 of My Sassy Girl (엽기적인 그녀) (SBS, 2017). Hyemyeong and Hyun Woo introduce themselves but soon recognize each other after coming up from their bows and directly start bickering when the prince asks if they know each other.

This is where King Sukjong (Choi Min-soo) shows Choi Bok-sun (Yoon Jin-seo) a portrait of her in episode 1 of The Royal Gambler/Jackpot (대박) (SBS, 2016).

The main cast (Kim Jin-woo, Yoo In-na, & Park Tae-in) of the drama-in-drama “New Jang hee-bin (新 장희빈)” have their principal photography by the artificial lake containing Hyangwonjeong Pavilion in episode 2 of Queen In-Hyun’s Man/Queen and I (인현왕후의 남자) (tvN, 2012).

King Lee Do (Han Suk-kyu) walks down the bridge away from this pavilion in Deep Rooted Tree/Tree With Deep Roots (뿌리 깊은 나무) (SBS, 2011) — a historical anachronism, as the area wasn’t part of the pre-1592 palace complex.

Sujeongjeon Hall [경복궁 수정전]

This hall serves as an exterior stand-in for Jiphyeonjeon Hall or Hall of Worthies in Tears of the Dragon/Dragon’s Tears (용의 눈물 /龍의 눈물) (KBS1, 1996-1998).
Please note: Historically, Jiphyeonjeon Hall (which housed King Sejong the Great’s scientific achievements as well as its scholars) was located at the exact spot of the current Sujeongjeon Hall. But was destroyed when the 1592 Japanese invasions burned down the palace.

National Palace Museum of Korea [국립고궁박물관]

This museum appears as Cha Si-ah’s (Shin Hye-sun) workplace in Legend of the Blue Sea (푸른 바다의 전설) (SBS, 2016-17). In episodes 9 and 10 she brings Heo Joon-jae (Lee Min-ho) here to show him their most recent find: a portrait of Dam Ryung. Once inside the storage room, Joon-jae walks up to the portrait and realizes that Dam Ryung is his lookalike.

Oh Yoon-joo (Park Ye-jin) gives Nam Jung-woo (Ryu Soo-young) a preview of her exhibition at this museum in episode 1 of My Princess (마이 프린세스) (MBC, 2011).

Outside the palace’s walls

Lee Joo-young (Lee Yoo-young) walks along these walls after lunch in KBS Drama Special: Traces of Love (연애의 흔적) (KBS2, 2020), and just as she stands at the street crossing, she gets a phone call and sees her ex-boyfriend and now co-worker Jung Ji-sub (Lee Sang-yeob) standing across the road.

Yoon Ji-soo (Lee Bo-young) cycles along the palace walls in episode 7 of When My Love Blooms/The Most Beautiful Moment in Life (화양연화 – 삶이 꽃이 되는 순간) (tvN, 2020), approaching Geonchunmun Gate [건춘문/建春门]. Distracted by her thoughts, she suddenly loses control of the bike and falls over.

Kim Jo-jo (Kim So-hyun) thinks back to a moment in episode 7 of Love Alarm (좋아하면 울리는) (Netflix, 2019–38:46) when Lee Hye-young (Jung Ga-ram) confessed his feelings to her while both of them were sitting on a bench outside the Eastern wall of this palace.

Kang Mi-hye (Kim Ha-kyung) walks along the wall of this palace in episode 4 of Mother of Mine/My Prettiest Daughter in the World (세상에서 제일 예쁜 내 딸) (KBS2, 2019) on her way to Dam Gil Publishing.

After their date at Haneul Park aka Sky Park [하늘공원], Min Seo-young (Ko Bo-gyeol) takes the bus in front of the Geonchunmun Gate [경복궁 건춘문] in episode 4 of Go Back Couple /Go Back Spouses (고백부부) (KBS2, 2017) and Choi Ban-do (Son Ho-jun) happily bids her good-bye. But his happiness is short-lived when his future in-laws, Ma Jin-joo’s (Jang Na-ra) parents, walk by.

On Jung-sun (Yang Se-jong) and Lee Hyun-soo’s (Seo Hyun-jin) are introduced in front of this palace for the first time when taking part in a running group in episode 1 of Temperature of Love (사랑의 온도) (SBS, 2017).

This is where ghost Yoo Jin-oh (Go Kyung-pyo) disappears to when on a stroll with Han Se-joo (Yoo Ah-in) and Jeon Seol (Lim Soo-jung) in episode 9 of Chicago Typewriter (시카고 타자기) (tvN, 2017). When Se-joo and later Seol catch up to him, he asks Se-joo to take a photo of him and Seol in front of this place.

Kim Shin (Gong Yoo) and Ji Eun-tak (Kim Go-eun) arrive here when coming back from Québec in episode 2 of Goblin/Guardian: The Lonely and Great God (쓸쓸하고 찬란하神 – 도깨비) (tvN, 2016-17) and they pass together through the Gwanghwamun Gate [광화문].

Kim Bung-do (Ji Hyun-woo) walks out of the central doorway of Gwanghwamun Gate [광화문] and out onto Sejong Avenue in Queen In-Hyun’s Man/Queen and I (인현왕후의 남자) (tvN, 2012).

Also seen in episode 8 of The Fifth Republic/5th Republic (제5공화국) (MBC, 2005).

Web Drama filmed here

Lee Si-eon (Shin Yun-seob) brings Lee Si-won (Yang Hye-ji) to National Palace Museum of Korea [국립고궁박물관] in episode 3 of Failing In Love (연애미수) (V Live/Naver TV/MBC, 2019) to do volunteer work for the day.


—  Episode 1 of Seoul Check-in (서울체크인) (tvN/TVING, 2022) – Gwanghwamun, filler shot

CFs Filmed Here

Feel the Rhythm of KOREA: SEOUL 1 (2021) feat. pH-1 for ‘Imagine your Korea’ by the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) – just outside Gwanghwamun Gate

[SEOUL X BTS] EoGiYeongCha Seoul – BTS (Official Video) (2021) for the Seoul Tourism Organization – just outside Gwanghwamun Gate

‘Have You Ever’ [ KTO X EXO TVC #Korean History & Tradition ] (2018) feat. Suho from EXO

* * *

Gyeongbokgung Palace [경복궁] — meaning literally ‘great fortune’ — was the main palace of the Joseon Dynasty. It is located in Seoul’s neighborhood Cheongunhyoja [Cheongunhyoja-dong/청운효자동] in the Jongno district [Jongno-gu/종로구], with Gwanghwamun Square [광화문광장] leading right up to it.
The palace is designated South Korean’s Historic Site No. 117 and the National Palace Museum of Korea [국립고궁박물관] is located within the palace grounds.

Before the mid-2000s, Gyeongbokgung Palace was used as a location shot for historical dramas. But due to the government listing the place as a Cultural Heritage site, as well as some structures being named ‘National Treasures’, plus the influx of tourists, not to mention the ongoing restoration and reconstruction efforts; most historical dramas have settled for exterior shots, as well as using the Korean Folk Village [한국민속촌], MBC Dae Jang Geum Park (MBC Dramia) [MBC 용인 대장금 파크/MBC드라미아], Mungyeong Saejae Open Film Set [문경새재촬영장 (오픈세트장)], and others as substitutes.

This site was selected in 2012 as one of 100 regular filming locations for movies and dramas by the Seoul Metropolitan Government and the Seoul Film Council, and featured in the brochure The Places In Seoul Cinema Fell in Love With (영화가 사랑한 서울 촬영지 100선).

Please note: both Royal Gambler and Jang hee-bin/Royal Story using Gyeongbokgung is a historical anachronism. Because historically-speaking, the site was still a ruin; in Royal Gambler’s case the editors also missed and forgot to cover-up a modern-21st century sign board of directions.

161 Sajik-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
서울특별시 종로구 사직로 161
(세종로 1-91)
Geolocation: 37.578001, 126.976869

The National Palace Museum of Korea [국립고궁박물관]
12 Hyoja-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
서울특별시 종로구 효자로 12
(세종로 1-57)
Geolocation: 37.576557, 126.974882

Gwanghwamun Gate [광화문]: 37.575995, 126.976925
Geonchunmun Gate [건춘문]: 37.578385, 126.979468
Mother of Mine: 37.581989, 126.980203
Love Alarm: 37.57869, 126.97953

Getting here
Gyeongbokgung Station [경복궁역], Seoul Subway Line 3, Exit 5

— submitted by Marion KDL with historical details on drama shooting at this palace by Lr; updated 03/05/2022
— Photos taken by © Mich KDL, 2014 and Florence, August 2018
My Sassy Girl added by deanekitty29
Love Alarm added by Edwin
When My Love Blooms, KBS Drama Special: Traces of Love, Failing in Love added by Mich KDL
Kingdom; The Royal Gambler; Deep Rooted Tree; Jang hee-bin; Empress Myeongseong; Tears of the Dragon; Ladies of the Palace; Princess’ Man added by Lr

4 reviews

  1. "New" Chwihyanggyo Bridge

    Hi this is Lr

    This isn’t really drama-related, but an update regarding the joint restoration of Hyangwonjeong Pavilion & Chwihyanggyo Bridge (started in 2017 to address the pavilion’s sidewards lean & finally restore the bridge’s pre-Korean War state)

    FYI: I actually captured Hyangwonjeong Pavilion’s tilt on photo during a family vacation the same year, obviously months before the restoration was announced; but at the time it wasn’t obvious since the pond was always off-limits to tourists, with its bridge closed and the island a no-go zone

    Regarding Chwihyanggyo Bridge, I have yet to see news regarding the fate of the familiar wood-and-stone structure, but here is a recent news article of the “restored” bridge taken last August, plus photos of its existence.

  2. Queen Inhyeon's Man

    Hi it’s me Lr, and here are the details regarding “Queen Inhyeon’s Man/Queen and I”

    1. Kim Bung-do walks out of the central doorway of Gwanghwamun Gate and out onto Sejong Avenue, which is another historical anachronism considering Gyeongbokgung Palace was still a ruin during his lifetime
    (tiny FYI: Sejong Avenue DID exist but during the Joseon Dynasty was then a wide dirt road called “Six Ministries Road” (육조거리), so-called due to the major administrative & military offices straddling both sides)

    2. The main cast (Kim Jin-woo, Yoo In-na, & Park Tae-in) of the drama-in-drama “New Jang hee-bin” (新 장희빈) have their principal photography by the artificial lake containing Hyangwonjeong Pavilion

    To be frank I have no idea of the location production used for their drama-in-drama

  3. "Royal Gambler"

    Hi it’s me Lr

    “The Royal Gambler” also shot in the area of Hyangwonjeong Pavillion & Chwihyanggyo Bridge in ep.1, where King Sukjong shows Choi Bok-sun a portrait of her
    (I am now rewatching it on Netflix, and apparently I forgot her being a palace musuri was her side job)

  4. Kingdom

    Hi it’s me Lr
    forgot to add, Gangnyeongjeon Hall was partly utilized as the Uigeumbu (의금부, the Royal Investigative Bureau roughly equivalent to the Supreme Court) in “Kingdom” season 1

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