Serving as the ancient capital of Gangwon during the Joseon Dynasty, Wonju is now a bustling modern city. It boasts cutting-edge museums and atmospheric temples, as well as plenty of green spaces that highlight the city’s slogan, “Healthy Wonju”.
Things to do in Wonju
Art enthusiasts should visit the Museum SAN, which lies in the serene landscapes of Oak Valley. Its striking design features flower beds, flowing water and stone gardens, as well as an exhibition showcasing the work of contemporary American artist, James Turrell.
Want to see South Korea’s oldest bell? Visit the Sangwonsa Temple to see its famous Bronze Bell, cast in 725 AD during the reign of King Seongdeok of Silla. Admire the hook of the bell that has been shaped into a dragon, while lotus flowers and vines adorn its shoulders.
You can also explore the 7th-century Guryongsa Temple, believed to have been built on a lake inhabited by nine dragons. See South Korea’s largest straw mat preserved within the temple, as well as a wooden shrine of Daewoongjeon that features Buddhist statues from the Joseon Period.
If you’re interested in learning more about the local heritage, spend time exploring the Wonju History Museum. It exhibits historical artefacts collected throughout the Goryeo Dynasty, as well as films that bring the region’s cultural history to life.
Getting around Wonju
Wonju is located around one hour’s drive from downtown Seoul and is connected by regular train services. There are daily flights to Jeju Island from Wonju Airport and an extensive bus network for getting around Wonju.