Seodaemun Prison History Museum: A Touching Horror
You can get automatic admission to Seodaemun Prison History Museum when you purchase a Discover Seoul Pass here.
Seodaemun Prison History Museum is an attraction in Seoul that depicts the lives of Korean Independence Movement Fighters who opposed Japanese rule.
Through interactive displays and video materials, sobering stories of torture and courage come alive.
Underground cells, torture chambers, and killing grounds await you on your tour to Seodaemun Prison History Museum.
If you’re a holder of the Discover Seoul Pass, make sure to visit this partner attraction. You can check the rates of the pass here.
Seodaemun Prison: A History
Seodaemun Prison was originally built to contain the Korean resistance against Japanese occupation. Originally known as Gyeongseong Gamok when it opened in 1908, this was where Korean activists were brought in for detainment, torture, and execution.
Seodaemun prison was notably large, with a maximum capacity of five hundred (500) inmates. It was more than what eight regular prisons could hold at that time, which was just around three hundred (300) in total. Despite its grandness, however, this detention center fell short in 1919 when the Japanese packed 3,500 inmates inside during the peak of the protests.
Here is a historical timetable for Seodaemun Prison:
1908: Opened under the name of Gyeongeong Gamok
1912: Renamed to Seodaemun Gamok
1923: Became Seodaemun Hyeongmuso
1945: Became Seoul Hyeongmuso
1961: Became Seoul Gyodoso
1967: Became Seoul Guchiso
1987: Seoul Guchiso transferred to Uiwang-si, Gyoenggi Province
In November 1998, the Seodaemun Prison History Hall was opened to honor the activists who have given their lives for independence.
What to Expect in Your Visit to Seodaemun Prison History Museum
To capture the valiant spirit that formed Korea as we know it today, visitors can come to Seodaemun Prison History Hall and check out the following:
1/F A Place of Reverence
There is a video room on the first floor where you can watch a 7-minute documentary about the establishment of Seodaemun Prison. There is also a Special Exhibition Room where various displays are held.
2/F A Place of History
To get an in-depth background of the anti-Japanese struggle in Korea, visit the National Resistance Room. To see a layout of Seodaemun Hyeongmuso in 1934 and know more about the inhumane prison life, check out the Prison History Room and the In-Prison Life Room.
B1 A Place of Experience
For some eerie feels, visit the basement of Seodaemun Prison History Museum to see the infamous Temporary Detention Room and Torture Rooms. Dioramas that depict the torture crimes will be available for your appreciation.
'Experience Building' of Seodaemun Prison History Museum
The eerie feels won't stop when you visit the Experience Building inside the Seodaemun Prison History Museum complex. Not only will you learn about (and feel!) what the activists experienced, you will also find the following:
Live voice testimonies and photos of patriotic ancestors
Life inside the prison
Other parts of Seodaemun Prison History Museum that you should not miss:
Central Building for Prison Guards
Engineering Work Building (what I would call the 'pain' shop!)
Execution Building (tiny but terrifying!)
Corpse Removal Exit (brutal tunnel!)
Aside from experiencing the awful conditions of Seodaemun Prison during the Japanese occupation, you will also get to know about the developments that come afterwards.
BUY YOUR TICKETS!
OPTION 1: Buy Door Tickets (Walk-in)
Here are the regular entrance fees for Seodaemun Prison History Museum for offline/walk-in transactions (prices subject to change without notice):
Adults: (19-64 years old): ₩3,000 (around ₱146 or $2.79)
Teenagers (13-18 years old): ₩1,500 (around ₱73 or $1.39)
Children (7-12 years old): ₩1,000 (around ₱48 or $0.92)
Seniors and Kids below 7: FREE admission to Seodaemun Prison History Museum
**Group rates available for 30 members or more.
OPTION 2: Get a Discover Seoul Pass
If you’re set on buying the Discover Seoul Pass, you can get automatic access to Seodaemun Prison History Museum and at least 30 more top attractions in Seoul. The list of partner sites includes Gyeongbokgung, Museum Kimchikan, N Seoul Tower, etc. You can check the full list of attractions here. (Depending on availability, the pass could also give you discounts in other partner establishments!)
🏷 PRICE of Discover Seoul Pass: starts at ₱1,960 or $37.40 for the 24-hour pass, if not discounted!
When you tour the Seodaemun Prison History Museum, go up the 2/F of the main hall and find out why Kang Ugyu, an independence fighter, bombed Namdaemun Station (now Seoul Station).
In the Experience Building, know all about Gwan-sun Ryu, who was said to resemble Joan of Arc.
Ideal length of Seodaemun Prison Museum tour: 1-1.5 hours
While Seodaemun Prison History Museum strives to convey Korea's struggle against the Japanese forces in a tourist-friendly manner, some materials are not fully translated yet in English.
Seodaemun Prison History Museum: Tour Reviews
Here are some reviews that we got from the TripAdvisor page of Seodaemun Prison History Museum in Seoul:
To get a glimpse of this attraction in Seoul, you can also check out geotagged photos on Instagram by clicking below:
Seodaemun Prison History Museum: Address & Operating Hours
Seodaemun Prison History Museum is located in this address: 251, Tongil-ro, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul
Here’s how you can get to Seodaemun Prison History Museum:
By Subway: Take Orange Line and get off at Dongnimmun Station (Exit 5)
By Bus: Get off at Independence Park
Blue Bus: 471, 701, 702, 703, 704, 720, 752
Green Bus: 7019, 7021, 7023, 7025, 7712, 7737
Red Bus: 9701, 9703, 9705, 9709, 9710, 9711, 9712
This historical attraction in Seoul observes the following schedule:
March to October: 9:30am-6pm
November to February: 9:30am-5pm
Last admission: 30 minutes before closing
Seodaemun Prison History Museum is CLOSED on Monday's (or Tuesday's, if Monday is a holiday), January 1, Lunar New Year, and Chuseok
For more information, visit the official website of Seodaemun Prison History Museum here.
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