There’re some places where time has stood still. Among these are closed “whistle stops” which exist just as the way it used to be. These quiet, leisurely places offer deep nostalgia, even in photos. If you're looking for a place to rest in Korea, why don't you take travel back in time through Korea’s whistle stops? Let’s look at four historic Korean stations.
Filming Location for “Architecture 101”
Gudun Station, Yangpeyong
Portions of the film <Architecture 101> and IU's album <Kkot-Galpi #2> was filmed here. Also known as Gudun Station, it is a whistle stop which opened in 1940 during the Japanese occupation, and closed in 2012. This place is designated as part of Korea's modern cultural heritage and is registered cultural property No. 296. Four years after the station was abandoned, it changed and came back to Korea as a place where people could feel analogue emotions.
The old whistle stop and its natural surroundings are well preserved, so it is loved as a date location for couples as well as a place for family visits and leisurely drives. If you visit in the fall, you can enjoy the beautiful sky along the railroad tracks next to Gudun Station. If you are planning a drive near Seoul, why don't you head to Gudun Station?
Gudun Station has a variety of things to enjoy, such as a “Happiness production center” where you can enjoy a variety of programs and performances, a “waiting room” where you can enjoy the past, “The Garden of Confessions”, and “The Maze of Scent” which is photo spot for lovers. You can also have a special experience by making a wish by placing a golden ticket on a 400-year-old tree. Gold tickets can be obtained by purchasing a drink at the nearby cafe "Kamong-Ine."
Address: 8, Gudunyeok-gil, Jipyeong-myeon, Yangpyeong-gun, Gyeonggi-do, Republic of Korea
Opening hour: 09:00 – 21:00 (Closed every Tuesday)
Contact: Yangpyeong Greenpia +82-31-770-2099
This Closed Whistle Stop Is Filled with Traditional Korean Houses
Kimyujeong Station, Chuncheon
Located in Chuncheon, Gangwon-do, Kimyujeong Station is the first station in the history of Korean railways to use the name of a person. The original name was Shinnam Station, but it was renamed in 2004 to honor Kim Yu-jeong, a novelist from Chuncheon, Gangwon-do. Located just an hour from Seoul on the Gyeongchun Line, Kimyujeong Station is a popular destination for tourists to visit in Korea, thanks in part to the unique appearance of the traditional roof tiles.
Inside the station, there are various exhibits including fireplaces, kettles, train schedules, and old items used at the station. Across from the station, a Mugunghwa Train, which stopped running, has been transformed into a book cafe. Plan a picnic at Kimyujeong station, where you can take a variety of photos of depending on the season, lotus flowers, reeds, and sky.
At Gangchon Rail Park near Kimyujeong station, you can enjoy rail biking while also enjoying the scenic Bukhangang area. In addition, visit the "Kim Yu-jeong Literature Village" where you can find the artistic world of Kim Yu-jung and the flow of Korean literature to enjoy a relaxing, temperate tour.
Address: 859-1, Jeung-ri, Sindong-myeon, Chuncheon-si, Gangwon-do, Republic of Korea
Opening hour: Closed every Mondays / Kim Yu-jeong Literature Village (closed every Monday, Closed New Year’s Day, Seol-nal and Chuseock day) / Rail Bike 09:00 – 18:00 departure every hour on time)
Price: Rail Bike 30,000 Won for two people, 40,000 Won for four people / Kim Yu-jeong Literature Village Admission fee 2,000 Won (50% discount for Chuncheon citizens)
The Most Beautiful Whistle Stop
Hwabon Station, Gyeongsanguk-do
Hwabon Station in North Gyeongsang-do is a small train station that was selected as the most beautiful station in Korea by Korean netizens. During the beginning of the Korean War on June 25th, steam locomotives played an important role in transporting military supplies to Korean and U.S. troops stationed to prevent air strikes. Now only some trains stop there. You may enjoy inside Hwabon Station, which preserves the Japanese style of architecture of the 1930s, and the photos of 100 years of history on display.
If you come out to the platform of Hwabon Station, the water tower and the surrounding landscape that used to be watered by the train when the steam engine was in town are beautifully harmonized. When you walk into the rail cafe made of a junk cart and drink tea there, you feel like time has stopped for a while. This place is a place of leisurely enjoyment and quiet romance.
Near Hwabon Station there is Hwabon village with painted murals displaying the stories of “The Heritage of the Three States” on each house. If you follow the wall, you will see a closed school that has been transformed into a museum. The school was changed into a theme museum which has recreated how Hawbon village looked in the 1960s and 70s and is named “When Mom and Dad Were Little.” If you want to go on a trip through time, visit Hwabon station in Gunwi, North Gyeongsang-do.
Address: 711-9, Sanseonggaeum-ro, Sanseong-myeon, Gunwi-gun, Gyeongsangbuk-do, Republic of Korea
Opening hour: 06:00 – 24:00
Where the Exploitation Stopped
Impi Station, Jeollabuk-do
Exploitation under the Japanese occupation one of many pains of our history that is more than a hundred years old. Impi Station in Gunsan-si, Jeollabuk-do is a mint color that attracts attention was built by the Japanese during the Japanese occupation for the purpose of colonial exploitation of local rice production and to expand the dominant power of the market in the Gunsan area. It combines a Western-style whistle stop with a Japanese-style house and was designated as Registered Cultural Heritage No. 208 in recognition of its historical and architectural values.
Opodae, which used to sound a siren every day at 12 p.m. is rare but still alive and well at Impi Station. Inside the station, there are statues depicting the scenery of the time, and in front of the station there is a Railroad Museum that used be a cart, providing another fun experience. As a place where time has stopped in its tracks, if you want to have a new experience it is a good place to visit.
“The Gunsan Museum of Modern History” is also a good place to visit when you visit Gunsan. You can enjoy the view of old Gunsan, which used to be a center of marine logistics, the largest modern cultural resource in the country, and an international trade port.
Address: 2-5, Seowonseokgok-ro, Impi-myeon, Gunsan-si, Jeollabuk-do, Republic of Korea
Opening Hour: Gunsan Museum of Modern History 09:00 – 21:00 (Closed New Year’s Day, every first and third of Monday of the month)
Price: Gunsan Museum of Modern History, Adult 3,000 Won, Youth and Solider 2,000 Won, Children 500 Won
Contact: Gunsan Museum of Modern History +82-63-454-7870
A unique history tour to the whistle stops of Korea!
A whistle stop that seems to stand still in time. If you want to take a emotional and slow journey, why don't you travel to Korea's small whistle stops while also travelling through history?
Picture: owned by editors, Yangpyeong Country office, website of Gudun station, Hawbon village of “The Heritage of the Three States”, and Imagine Your Korea