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Chuncheon

A Sentimental Journey along the Railroad

 

2020.06.01

 

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The most sentimental city in Korea would be Chuncheon, Gangwondo Province. There are many reasons to visit Chuncheon: college students go to Chuncheon for workshops every spring, young couples come to enjoy the beautiful scenery, and gourmets visit Chuncheon every year to taste the famous spicy stir-fried chicken and makguksu (buckwheat noodles). Alongside the lake and river, all sorts of water sports facilities, bike roads, and rail-bike trails are connected, which makes Chuncheon a perfect place for those that love outdoor activities. Just take ITX-Cheongchun in Seoul and ride for an hour to arrive in Chuncheon, the lake city.

 

Soyang 2nd bridge and Miss Soyang River, both of which are symbols of Chuncheon ⓒChuncheon-si

Soyang 2nd bridge and Miss Soyang River, both of which are symbols of Chuncheon ⓒChuncheon-si

 

 

A picture book world unfolded on a little island

 

Namiseom Island located on the way up to Chuncheon is a little leaf-shaped island with a perimeter of 5km. After becoming well-known from the TV drama Winter Sonata that aired in 2002, it has become a beloved hot spot for visitors. You can easily find pairs of snowmen installed on the island, which were the symbol of the series and also statues of the main characters.

 

Winning works of NC Concours installed on the island 1

Winning works of NC Concours installed on the island 2

Winning works of NC Concours installed on the island 3

Winning works of NC Concours installed on the island

 

The biennial Nami Island International Children’s Book Festival held in Namiseom Island added to the region’s fame. Established in 2005 in commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Hans Christian Andersen, it has become a must-go spot for families and picture book lovers. Here they can experience various cultures of the world while embracing original picture books from around the world and making one on their own.

 

 

Open throughout the year free of charge,
anyone can enjoy winning works of Nami Concours in the NC Concours Gallery

 

 

Winners of NC Concours 2019 displayed in the NC Concours Gallery 1

Winners of NC Concours 2019 displayed in the NC Concours Gallery 2

 

Winners of NC Concours 2019 displayed in the NC Concours Gallery 3

Winners of NC Concours 2019 displayed in the NC Concours Gallery 4

Winners of NC Concours 2019 displayed in the NC Concours Gallery

 

From 2013, Namiseom Island has been hosting the NC Concours every other year, which is an international illustration contest to set up a channel for global illustrators to take another leap towards the bigger world. Along the Metasequoia Road that penetrates Namiseom Island and in the NC Concours Gallery, the works of 18 winners including André Letria who won the grand prize in 2019 are displayed; it is open 365 days for anyone to come and enjoy interesting illustrations.

 

Picture Book Library 1

Picture Book Library 2

Picture Book Library

 

The Picture Book Library is the perfect partner for the imaginative works of illustrators and is another thing to enjoy on Namiseom Island. In particular, children can also spend a special time in this library. The stack of around 20 thousand books piled up to the ceiling gives a somewhat dreamy experience; visitors can read books, ride the slide, play with the toys, and participate in various programs run by the Picture Book Library. The International Children’s Library is located on the second floor where you can find 5,000 picture books from 89 countries in the world – picture book-related illustrations and original painting exhibitions are held occasionally.

 

 

Traces of life left in literature: Sile Village and Gimyujeong Station

 

If you take a train bound for Chuncheon, you will be able to see a station with a unique name. It is Gimyujeong Station, which is named after a person, not a region or a famous place. It was named after Kim You-Jeong in 2004, who is the representative writer of Korean short literature. The station was newly set up in 2010 when the Gyeongchun Line was established; the former Gimyujeong Station and railroad were not removed and are used as a small museum today.

 

Kim You-Jeong Literature Village ⓒKorea Tourism Organization 1

Kim You-Jeong Literature Village ⓒKorea Tourism Organization 2

Kim You-Jeong Literature Village ⓒKorea Tourism Organization

 

Kim You-Jeong, born in 1908, made his debut in 1935 and died at the age of 29 due to tuberculosis. Even though his literary career lasted for just 2 years, he actively wrote around 30 works including Spring, Spring, The Camellias, and Scoundrels.
The Kim You-Jeong Literature Village was built inside Sile Village where he was born. Located near Gimyujeong Station, the whole village is organized in a way visitors can take a peek into the literature and life of Kim You-Jeong. Magazines and newspapers where his works were published, photos of women he loved, and materials introducing a literary circle he was in can be found in the exhibition hall and his birthplace. It is also intriguing to walk along the “Sile Story Road” that surrounds the village and see the night school (Geumbyeonguisook) he established, and places and characters mentioned in his works.
If you reached the Kim You-Jeong Literature Village, then try to find the Museum of Books and Printing located nearby. The Gwanginsa Company, the first modern private printing house in Korea established in 1884, is fully reproduced inside, where you can see how a book is printed from A to Z and smell the vivid scent of ink and melting lead.

 

The Museum of Books and Printing ⓒChuncheon-si 1

The Museum of Books and Printing ⓒChuncheon-si 2

The Museum of Books and Printing ⓒChuncheon-si 3

The Museum of Books and Printing ⓒChuncheon-si

 

 

 

Kim You-Jeong Literature Village, the Gwanginsa Company,
and the Museum of Book sand Printing are good spots for book lovers.

 

 

Also, ancient novels such as Hun-Min-Jeong-Eum (the proper sounds for the instruction of people), Donguibogam (principles and practice of Eastern medicine) which is designated as Memory of the World, and The Story of Chunhyang, and also multiple first editions of works that only a few exist today including The Azaleas (1925) by Kim So-Wol and The Silence of Love (1926) by Han Young-Un are displayed. If you are a book lover, you must not miss it!

 


MUST GO PLACES in Chuncheon

 

Demian books

 

Demian books 1

Demian books 2

 

Demian books 3

Demian books 4

 

Demian Books, the biggest bookstore in Gangwondo Province, keeps its place on one side of Chuncheon amidst the time when regional bookstores are closing every day. This place is not a mere bookstore that sells and buys books but is also a cultural complex. On the first and second floors, around 100 thousand books are sold, and there is also an area in which you can listen to or purchase from more than 15 thousand LPs. Cafe Hesse inside the bookstore and rest areas organized in between bookshelves are open for visitors to chat, rest, or read books. On the third floor, you can find seminar rooms where all kinds of book-reading programs or cultural activities are run. With all the charming characteristics, Demian Books has become a must-go spot in Chuncheon for everyone.

 

Seotun Bookshop

 

Seotun Bookshop 1

Seotun Bookshop 2

 

Seotun Bookshop 3

Seotun Bookshop 4

 

In Seotun Bookshop, you can see hand-written book introductions and exclusive MD items when you look around. Also, there is a place where you can have a cup of tea while reading a book quietly, where anyone can leave a message on the community board (people leave reviews or write relay stories). The most impressive thing about Seotun Bookshop is “Blind Book.” Every month, the bookkeeper packs a book covering the title and writes a memo with a few keywords and introduction, making visitors curious about it. When one purchases a book, packaging and heartwarming phrases come alongside for free; don’t miss it as a present for your beloved ones.

 

 


Written by Hwang Jin-Ah

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Hwang Jin-Ah

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