OWL Magazine Korea

Sajikdan: The Ritual Site from the Joseon Dynasty

Located to the west of Gyeongbokgung Palace in Seoul, Sajikdan was a place where ancestral rites were performed for the gods of land and grain, alongside Jongmyo Shrine. It is known to have been established when King Taejo, the founder of the Joseon Dynasty, designated Hanyang (present-day Seoul) as the capital and built the palace and shrines.

The Guksadan, where rites for the god of land were held, was placed to the east, while the Gukjikdan, for the god of grain, was situated to the west. The spirit tablets (sinja) were enshrined to the north. Rites were conducted in February, August, winter solstice, and on the fifteenth day of the lunar month. Important national events, drought-ending rituals, and harvest festivals were held here.

“Transformation into Sajik Park”

During the period of Japanese colonial rule in the 1920s, as part of Japan’s policy to suppress Korean culture, Sajikdan was transformed into Sajik Park. The park, officially established in 1940, is known to occupy the original site of Sajikdan.

“Sajikdan Restoration Project”

In 2012, the Cultural Heritage Administration took over management rights from Jongno District, closing Sajik Park, including the athletic field, and demolishing the Jongno Library and Seoul Metropolitan Children’s Library to restore Sajikdan by 2027.

Despite visiting Sajikdan, it still gives off a desolate rather than a distinct cultural heritage site ambiance. Nevertheless, efforts seem to be underway to slowly return Sajikdan to its past glory.

While it may not be a deliberately sought-after destination just yet, it’s hoped that after restoration, Sajikdan will reveal a transformed appearance.

“Sajikdan in Jongno, Seoul”

  • Address: 89 Sajik-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul
  • Phone: 02-739-7205
  • Opening Hours: 24 hours