OWL Magazine Korea

Gangneung Shin Saimdang’s Family Home, Birthplace of Yi I (Yulgok): Ojukheon

One of the prominent cultural heritages you can find in Gangneung is “Ojukheon,” designated as Treasure No. 165. Located in Jukhyeon-dong, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do, it is a wooden structure from the middle of the Joseon Dynasty, making it the oldest standing single-family residential building in history.

“Black Bamboo, Gangneung Ojukheon”

The name Ojukheon comes from the fact that there is a grove of black bamboo in the backyard. It’s named after the black bamboo, with “o (烏)” meaning crow, thus creating the name “Ojuk (烏竹).”

“Shin Saimdang’s Family Home, Birthplace of Yi I (Yulgok)”

This place is particularly significant in relation to Korea’s Joseon Dynasty and continues to have an impact in modern times. It was the hometown of Shin Saimdang, the mother of Yi I (Yulgok), and it’s also where Yi I was born.

You can still encounter Yi I and Shin Saimdang in the present day, as their images are featured on Korean banknotes. Shin Saimdang appears on the 50,000 won bill, while Yi I is depicted on the 5,000 won bill. This is a unique case where both a mother and son are simultaneously featured on banknotes, and it’s also the world’s first and only example of a hat being part of the design on a banknote.

“Key Facilities of Ojukheon”

Here are the main facilities you can explore at Ojukheon:

  • Ojukheon
  • Munsungsa (a Buddhist temple)
  • Sarangchae (men’s quarters) & Anchae (women’s quarters)
  • Eojegak (lecture hall)
  • Yulgok Memorial Hall

Ojukheon is a space characterized by a well-maintained garden surrounding the old building. Thanks to this, Ojukheon exudes an elegant atmosphere, and the park area, which you can find both at the entrance and in other areas, offers a comfortable and peaceful ambiance.

The Yulgok Memorial Hall, located on one side, provides exhibition materials related to Yi I and Shin Saimdang.

It’s a great place for a leisurely stroll, and it can be considered one of the representative historical sites in Gangneung. Please note that there is an admission fee for entry, which is 3,000 won for individual adults.

“A Return Visit to Ojukheon after a Long Time”

Ojukheon is a place that brings back vague memories, as I visited it a long time ago on a school trip. It seems like I visited Gangneung and Seoraksan during a high school field trip, but because it was so long ago and I didn’t pay much attention to where exactly we were going, I don’t remember it very well. Although I have faint memories of that time, looking back on it now feels like experiencing it with fresh eyes.

Ojukheon is one of the representative historical sites in Gangneung, and if you’re planning a trip to Gangneung, I highly recommend including it in your itinerary.

“Gangneung Ojukheon”

  • Address: 24, Yulgok-ro 3139beon-gil, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do 25465
  • Phone: 033-660-3301
  • Operating Hours: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM