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Jongmyo Shrine

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photo about Jongmyo Shrine
  • small photo about Jongmyo Shrine
  • small photo about Jongmyo Shrine
  • small photo about Jongmyo Shrine
  • small photo about Jongmyo Shrine


157, Jong-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul


Tel : +82-2-765-0195


cha.go.kr (English, Korean, Chinese, Japanese)


Jongmyo Shrine was built by Yi Seong-gye (1335-1408), the first king and founding father of the Joseon Dynasty. It was a primary place of worship for kings throughout the Joseon Dynasty and has been registered as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site for its well-preserved ancient customs such as memorial services and traditional music.

One of the many unique characteristics of Jongmyo Shrine is the 3-forked path of slightly raised roads that starts from in front of the main gate. The middle path is in honor of kings of the past and leads to Jeongjeon, where mortuary tablets of kings are preserved and memorial services are held. The tradition of enshrining successive kings was originally handed down from China, and has been well maintained. Jeongjeon has 19 different rooms in all, honoring 19 different kings.

The east road of the shrine’s forked path is for the living king and the west is for the living prince. These two paths connect to a room where the king and the prince used to go for ceremonial cleansing and to prepare for memorial services. After preparations had been complete, the king and the prince would then move into Jeonsacheong, a square-shaped room with a yard where the food for the service would be prepared.

The memorial service, called ‘Jongmyo Jaerye,’ is said to be the oldest complete ceremony in the world. It is annually reenacted on the first Sunday of May. Jongmyo Jaeryeak, the musical part of the ceremony, is produced by instruments, songs, and, dances that originated over 500 years ago.


  • Jongno-3(sam)-ga Station (Subway Line 1), Exit 11, 10-min walk from station.
    Jongno-3(sam)-ga Station (Subway Line 3, 5), Exit 8, 10-min walk from station.


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