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Deoksugung Palace

The smallest of Seoul’s Five Grand Palaces is renowned for its mixture of western and eastern architecture.  

Deoksugung Palace features stately architecture and exhibits featuring national treasure and art.

The palace was first built on this site by the Joseon Dynasty in the 15th century. As with Seoul’s other Grand Palaces, Deoksugung has been the victim of much destruction over the years, notably during Japanese occupation in the early 20th century. The palace was the only one of Seoul’s Five Grand Palaces to survive the Japanese invasion of 1592. Today the complex is around a third of its original size, although there are modern additions such as the National Museum of Art. 

Enter the walled palace complex across the Geumcheon Bridge, which was once used to transport royal carriages. As you continue around the grounds, you’ll come across Jeukjodang and the Junmyeongdang building, the simple yet beautiful royal living quarters. The Borugak Jaguwongnu is a water clock that was made in 1536 and, although no longer functioning, is still a notable piece of surviving history.

The two Western-style buildings to look out for are Jeonggwanheon and Seokjojeon. The former was built in 1900, and was where the Emperor Gojong allegedly liked to drink his beloved coffee. Seokjojeon was designed by a British architect. The building was completed in 1910, and now houses an excellent exhibition on the palace’s treasures.

A Deoksugung Palace highlight is the Junghwajeon. This is a grand hall where leaders of the Great Korean Empire once met to discuss important matters. The interior is particularly striking, with its centerpiece of two golden dragons on the ceiling. These mirror the dragons on the canopy outside. Junghwajeon is not always open to the public, so check ahead.   Free English guided tours of Deoksugung Palace are conducted daily. It’s advisable to book one of these tours to get the most out of the palace, as there’s a lot to take in. You can buy an integrated ticket to Deoksugung, which also gives you access to Changdeokgung, Changgyeonggung and Gyeongbokgung palaces, and Jongmyo Shrine. 

Deoksugung Palace is open daily except on Mondays and public holidays. To get there, take the subway to City Hall.

Get the most out of your time spent at Deoksugung Palace. Below is a list of some of the top activities:

You might like to consider purchasing a Full-Day City Tour with Lunch or a Historical Walking Tour in Seoul while you're in the area. These activities are some of the best.

For many more things to do, examine our Seoul things to do page.


Guide to Exploring around Deoksugung Palace


Map

Best Lodging Options Near Deoksugung Palace

See all 1,929 Properties near Deoksugung Palace
Lotte Hotel Seoul ¥16,808
Lotte Hotel Seoul

Lotte Hotel Seoul

30, Eulji-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul, Seoul
     
    5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    This family-friendly Seoul hotel is located in the business district, within a 5-minute walk of Seoul City Hall and Lotte Department Store. Deoksugung Palace and Cheonggyecheon are also within 10 minutes. Euljiro 1-ga Station is only a 2-minute walk and City Hall Station is 5 minutes.

    ENA Suite Hotel Namdaemun ¥9,163
    ENA Suite Hotel Namdaemun

    ENA Suite Hotel Namdaemun

    36, Sejong-daero 11-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul, Seoul
       
      4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Jung-gu, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Sungnyemun Gate and Deoksugung Palace. Cheonggye Plaza and Dongdaemun History and Culture Park are also within 3 mi (5 km). City Hall Station is 6 minutes by foot and Seoul Station is 11 minutes.

      Sotetsu Fresa Inn Seoul Myeong-dong ¥6,647
      Sotetsu Fresa Inn Seoul Myeong-dong

      Sotetsu Fresa Inn Seoul Myeong-dong

      48, Myeongdong-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul
         
        3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Myeongdong, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Myeongdong Street and Lotte Department Store. Namsan Park and Seoul City Hall are also within 10 minutes. Myeong-dong Station is only a 4-minute walk and Euljiro 1-ga Station is 6 minutes.

        Hotel Venue G ¥4,295
        Hotel Venue G

        Hotel Venue G

        117, Cheonggyecheon-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul
           
          3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Jongno, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Cheonggyecheon, Myeongdong Street, and Lotte Department Store. Jogyesa Temple and Seoul City Hall are also within 1 mi (2 km). Jongno 3-ga Station and Euljilo 3-ga Station are within a 5-minute walk.

          Solaria Nishitetsu Hotel Seoul Myeongdong ¥10,800
          Solaria Nishitetsu Hotel Seoul Myeongdong

          Solaria Nishitetsu Hotel Seoul Myeongdong

          27 Myeong-dong 8-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul, Seoul
             
            3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Myeongdong, this hotel is steps from Myeongdong Nanta Theatre and Myeongdong Street. Namsan Park and Lotte Department Store are also within 10 minutes. Myeong-dong Station is only a 3-minute walk and Euljiro 1-ga Station is 8 minutes.

            Lotte City Hotel Myeongdong ¥9,016
            Lotte City Hotel Myeongdong

            Lotte City Hotel Myeongdong

            362, Samil-daero, Jung-gu, Seoul
               
              4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Myeongdong, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Seoul City Hall, Namdaemun Market, and Gwanghwamun. Gyeongbok Palace is 1.3 mi (2 km) away. Euljilo 3-ga Station is 6 minutes by foot and Euljiro 1-ga Station is 8 minutes.

              Tmark Grand hotel Myeongdong ¥7,540
              Tmark Grand hotel Myeongdong

              Tmark Grand hotel Myeongdong

              52, Toegye-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul
                 
                4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Jung-gu, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Namdaemun Market, Postal Museum of Korea, and Bank of Korea Museum. Seven Luck Casino Millennium Seoul Hilton Branch and Sungnyemun Gate are also within 10 minutes. Hoehyeon Station is only a 2-minute walk and Myeong-dong Station is 8 minutes.

                L7 Myeongdong by LOTTE ¥11,456
                L7 Myeongdong by LOTTE

                L7 Myeongdong by LOTTE

                137 Toegye-ro Jung-gu, Seoul
                   
                  4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Myeongdong, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Myeongdong Nanta Theatre, Namsan Park, and Myeongdong Street. Namdaemun Market and Sungnyemun Gate are also within 15 minutes. Myeong-dong Station is only a 2-minute walk and Chungmuro Station is 8 minutes.