“My hometown is up in the mountains of Gangwon province. Walk along the ridge for a few miles you will reach a small village. It’s a cozy place encircled by giant hills, thus resembling a deep-sunken rice cake steamer. This is why people call it “Sile” which in Gangwon dialect means “rich cake steamer”
Kim You Jeong
This is what the famous Korean novelist Kim You Jeong (alternatively Gim Yujeong) wrote about his hometown Chuncheon back in the mid 20th century. He was born into a rich family in 1908, but soon lost his both parents and moved to Seoul in the need to better life and acceptance as a creator. Due to his weak health, as well as the Korean press ban from the Japanese colonial government, Kim You Jeong had a hard time releasing his novels to the public.
Right around the time when one of his most iconic works “Spring Spring” was about to be released, Kim You Jeong was diagnosed with tuberculosis and passed away at the young age of 29. Therefore, his works are still being read all around Korea as well as abroad. He has been named as one of the most iconic writers of South Korea and is the only person, who has ever had a subway station named after him.
Kim You Jeong literature Village is not a regular museum. It is the birth home to this great novelist, who was born and raised there up until the time he went to study in Seoul. This place has all his works on the display as well as for sale! They even had an English translation of another iconic work of his – “The Camellias”.
Entrance fee for adults is 2,000 Korean won and it includes two different areas of the village: an indoor museum, where you can learn a lot about his life & work and his actual house, where Kim You Jeong was raised in his early ages. There are also English speaking volunteers, that are always happy to talk to you and let you know facts, that are not written on the information boards.
The outdoor area includes a beautiful pond with a resting pavilion, a water mill and a walking path, where you can feel the nature and enjoy the scenery, which inspired this talented writer to write some of his most successful pieces.
The outdoor area of this literature village is very spacious and includes different pavilions, where you can enjoy various cultural activities (extra payment and booking in advance required) as well as a restaurant, serving traditional Korean food, distinct to the region.
To get to the Kim You Jeong literature village, you need to take the Gyeongchun Subway line (Alternatively ITX train) from Seoul and get off at Gimyujeong Station, which was named after the author. On your way, you will see quite a few other visit-worthy tourist attractions in the area. Make sure not to miss them out and take a look around.
As soon as you get out of the station, you will see another railway, going parallelly with the current subway rail. If you follow the tracks, it will lead you to a tourist information center and a book cafe, established inside the old Korail train, which has not moved from its’ current location in decades.
Right next to it, there is an old Train station, which includes a mini rail museum, which has a retro vibe to it as well as beautiful murals on the outdoor side. (both are a great photo opportunity, in my opinion). You can also write your message and leave it on a sticky note for a more personal experience.
If you are more of an adrenaline junkie, move to the Gangchon Rail Park. It includes two main activities: the zip line and the railbike experience. Railbike is definitely more popular, as the activity takes a long time and brings you through a number of various light&music tunnels, which everyone wants to experience.
But even if you don’t want to do something active or if you don’t have enough time for it, Gangchon rail park is still worth dropping by as it is designed like a giant bookcase! I’d say it is a must for anyone, who has an Instagram account! Who would not want to surprise their friends with the picture, where the books are as tall as some of the buildings you might live in!
There is also a book cafe, where you could relax while reading your favorite book or simply waiting for your train to arrive! Get a snack and enjoy the beautiful nature and fresh air of the Gangwon province.
If you like literature, nature, retro things, taking photos or at least one of the above, you should definitely visit Gimyujeong Station and literature village in Chuncheon as it is totally different from similar museums in Seoul or anywhere else in South Korea.