'Kingdom' is a Netflix original series with two seasons released in 2019 and 2020. This zombie thriller drama deals with the conspiracy surrounding the royal family of Joseon and the secret of a plague that makes the dead rise again. This drama series was streamed in many countries and loved by viewers around the globe. Various Korean props like Gat (hat) and Homi (hoe) as well as the architectural beauty of the royal palace from the Joseon Dynasty particularly caught the audience’s attention. We are introducing some tourist attractions of Seoul, where you can experience the filming site of 'Kingdom' and the royal family culture of the Joseon Dynasty.
※ Spoiler alert: Please note that our explanation on the filming site reveals some key moments and the ending of the drama.
※ The place may restrict or change the opening hours, audience size, and viewing areas to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Be sure to check related information on the websites of palaces and museums in advance.
Gyeonghuigung Palace – Jongmyo Shrine – Changdeokgung Palace – Changgyeonggung Palace – National Palace Museum of Korea
Gyeonghuigung Palace is the smallest among the top five palaces in Seoul (Gyeongbokgung Palace, Changdeokgung Palace, Deoksugung Palace, Changgyeonggung Palace, Gyeonghuigung Palace). You can enjoy a moment of composure in the middle of the city. In 'Kingdom', Sungjeongjeon Hall in Gyeonghuigung Palace appeared as “Gangnyeongjeon Hall,” the dwelling of the zombie king (Yoon Se-woong). Gangnyeongjeon Hall is a building that was used as the king’s bedroom, actually located in Gyeongbokgung Palace.
If you reach the innermost part of Gyeonghuigung Palace past Sungjeongjeon Hall, there is a bizarre-looking rock. This rock is called “Seoam,” and legend has it that the rock stores the energy of kings. In the drama, Crown Prince Lee Chang (Ju Ji-hoon) reminisces about Lord Ahn Hyeon (Heo Joon-ho), who finds the prince hiding underneath a large rock when he was still a child and hugs him. Seoam is the very rock where Chang hid.
Address: 45, Saemunan-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul
Operating Hours: Tuesday ~ Sunday 09:00 - 18:00, closed on Mondays, free admission
Directions: Subway line 5, Seodaemun Station (#532), Exit 4, Gwanghwamun Station (#533), 7 minutes on foot from Exit 7
In the latter part of Season 2, Seo-bi (Bae Doo-na) manages to rescue the queen’s baby when a swarm of zombies invade the palace. The baby turns into the young king of Joseon after 7 years. In this scene, a solemn building with large stone floor and red columns merits admiration. This place is called “Jeongjeon Hall” of “Jongmyo Shrine.” This hall enshrines the ancestral tablets of Joseon kings and queens, and it was regarded as a sacred place during the Joseon Dynasty. The shrine was designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1995 for its architectural beauty and historical values.
Address: 157, Jong-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul
Operating Hours: 9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. in February-May and September-October / 9:00 a.m.-6:30 p.m. in June-August / 9:00 a.m.-5:30 p.m. in November-January / Closed on Tuesdays
Directions: Subway Line 1 (#130), Line 3 (#329), Jongno 3-ga Station, 3 minutes on foot from Exit 11
If Gyeongbokgung Palace were the 1st palace of Joseon, Changdeokgung Palace would be the detached 2nd palace. Note, however, that kings of Joseon stayed for the longest time in Changdeokgung Palace. Changdeokgung Palace has buildings and gardens designed after nature and original topography, creating perfect harmony with the surrounding forest.
The Secret Garden of Changdeokgung Palace used to be a resting place of the royal family. Various flowers, trees, ponds, and pavilions make for a picturesque view similar to oriental paintings. This garden appears several times in "Kingdom". The pond where numerous dead bodies were hidden is called Gwallamji Pond. The mystical, gorgeous landscape of the pond made a strong impression on viewers in combination with the tragic circumstances.
The Secret Garden of Changdeokgung Palace is a restricted area, requiring an additional fee for admission. The garden is available for limited hours and to a limited number of visitors. Check out the visiting rules and conditions on the website before visiting because tour guides in different languages (Korean, English, Chinese, and Japanese) are offered at different times.
※ The tour guide service for Changdeokgung Palace has been suspended temporarily to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Address: 99, Yulgok-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul
Operating Hours: 9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. in February-May and September-October / 9:00 a.m.-6:30 p.m. in June-August / 9:00 a.m.-5:30 p.m. in November-January / Closed on Mondays
Directions: Subway Line 3 (#328), Anguk Station, 6 minutes on foot from Exit 3
In the drama, Crown Prince Lee Chang (Ju Ji-hoon) appears for the first time when he kneels at Gyotaejeon Hall, the living quarters of Queen Consort Cho (Kim Hye-jun). This scene was filmed at Tongmyeongjeon Hall of Changgyeonggung Palace. Tongmyeongjeon Hall used to be the queen’s bedroom.
The palace is known to be more exquisite at night than in daytime. When night comes, this ancient palace has a romantic mood created by lighting fixtures that shed light on palace buildings and trees including the light coming out through flower-shaped window bars, giving the Grand Greenhouse a magnificent look. Changgyeonggung Palace also provides its tour guide service in Korean, English, Japanese, and Chinese. Check out the tour guide schedule on the website in advance since different languages are available at different times.
Address: 185, Changgyeonggung-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul
Operating Hours: Tuesday ~ Sunday 09:00 - 21:00, closed on Mondays, admission closed at 20:00
Directions: Subway Line 4 (#420), Hyehwa Station, 12 minutes on foot from Exit 4
The National Palace Museum of Korea is a museum specializing in the Joseon Dynasty that displays and preserves the culture and relics of Joseon. All the way from the foundation of Joseon to the Korean Empire, visitors can take a look at the history of the dynasty and the lifestyle of the royal family. In particular, the museum has many collections that attract the eyes of drama fans, including “Gollyongpo (Red Dragon Robe)” embroidered with a golden dragon and “Eobo (Royal Seal)” symbolizing the royal authority. The National Palace Museum of Korea is to the west of Gyeongbokgung Palace, and admission is always free. We recommend stopping by this museum if you happen to visit Gyeongbokgung Palace.
Address: 12, Hyoja-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul
Operating Hours: 10:00 - 18:00 daily (closed on New Year's Day, Lunar New Year’s Day, and Chuseok)
Directions: Subway Line 3 (#327), Gyeongbokgung Station, 4 minutes on foot from Exit 4
※ Please note that the above information may be subject to change at any time.