Let’s explore Jung-gu, Busan, where we can discover traces of Busan’s dramatic history of modern times!
BIFF Square - Gukje Market - Bupyeong-dong Kkangtong Market - Bosu Book Street - Busan Modern History Museum - Busan Museum of Movies / Trick Eye Museum Busan - Forty Stairs / Memorial Hall - Yongdusan Park
As the starting point of Korea’s cinema, the BIFF Square in Nampo-dong is considered a historic site. Nampo-dong used to be the movie street from the Japanese occupation and the center of Busan’s films where about 20 cinemas were once situated in the 1960s. The BIFF (Busan International Film Festival), which is a remarkable event in the Korean film history, has been held annually in Nampo-dong since 1996. Today, the BIFF Street is full of handprints of famous local and international film directors and actors.
The Gukje Market, which is also known as the title of the Korean movie (Title in English: Ode to My Father, 2014), was originally established by refugees of the Korean War from all over the country, who started selling their products at the market. In particular, the market was more animated when various goods of American soldiers’ supplies were smuggled through Busanhang Port to the market.
The origin of the Bupyeong-dong Kkangtong Market dates back to the opening of ports to foreign trade during the Joseon Dynasty. However, during the Korean War, when American soldiers’ canned goods were greatly traded at the market, the market was named “Kkangtong,” which means “can.” Along with the Jagalchi Market and the Gukje Market, the Bupyeong-dong Kkangtong Market is one of Busan’s most famous traditional markets.
The biggest concerns of Korean War refugees would have been food and children’s education. At that time, tent schools were established throughout Busan, but it was almost impossible to find textbooks. Thus, the Book Street, where people could sell and buy secondhand books, was established in Bosu-dong. In the past, whenever a new school semester began, the Book Street was packed with used textbooks, creating a unique atmosphere. Today, Bosu Book Street still stands in the same place.
The Busan Modern History Museum, which is the former building of the Oriental Development Company established for exploiting Korea during the Japanese occupation, gives you a quick look at Busan’s modern history. After the Independence of Korea, the US Army used this building as the Busan Cultural Center of the US Overseas Bureau of Public Information. Then, after Busan citizens’ persistent demand for the return of the building to the city, the Busan Modern History Museum now stands here.
The Busan Museum of Movies, situated near the Busan Modern History Museum, shows the beginning and present status of Busan’s film industry. At the Trick Eye Museum Busan on the second floor of the museum, you can take distinctive photos with movie scenes as the background, while on the third floor, you can enjoy exhibits related to Korea’s film industry history, the academy, and the studio, providing you film-making experiences.
The Forty Stairs in Jung-gu is the place where Korean War refugees sold relief supplies and separated families reunited. Nearby the stairs, the Memorial Hall of Forty Stairs was established to commemorate refugees’ lives and reflect on the painful history of the Korean War.
As the last must-visit destination, Yongdusan Park allows you to enjoy a beautiful night view. The Busan Tower Observation Deck offers a magnificent night view of Busanhang Port in harmony with the city’s subdued night view.
1Gukje Market bustling with energy
There is an expression in Busan that says, “It’s like a Dottaegi Market,” which means “a loud and bustling atmosphere,” Dottaegi, the old name of Gukje Market, is crowded and full of energy, items, and people.
2Bupyeong Kkangtong Market, the mecca of restaurants in Busan
Bupyeong Kkangtong Market is a place that attracts visitors with its delicious aroma coming from the alley’s entrance, which gets even more delightful at night.
Bupyeong Kkangtong Market is right next to Gukje Market.
Walk around Nampo-dong to go back and forth between Gukje Market and Bupyeong Kkangtong Market. The biggest difference is that Gukje Market is the kind of place that “has it all,” while the Bupyeong Kkangtong Market is a food market.
3Bosu Book Street: Put a bookmark in your mind
A way back in time
Put a bookmark in your mind in the Bosu Book Street
4Busan Modern History Museum faces the modern history of Busan
The Japanese occupation is the painful history of the Republic of Korea. Busan, which was a bridgehead for Japan’s invasion of the continent, still retains the traces of the suffering left by Japan. Busan Modern History Museum tells the tumultuous history of Busan, urging us not to forget the brutal experiences.
5A special space where you become the protagonist, Busan Museum of Movies (feat. Trick Eye Museum Busan)
“Spring” has arrived in the cinematic city of Busan.
Busan Museum of Movies (BOM) is a cinematic experience hall where you can see, feel, and enjoy everything about movies.
Each year, the Busan International Film Festival is held in Busan, a city perfect for filming great movies. Now, it offers a space that allows people to enjoy various experience-based contents related to filming.
6Recall the history with Forty Stairs
What happened to the traveler who cried on the flight of the Forty Stairs away from their sweet home?
The Forty Stairs was a shelter for the refugees who yearned to go back to their hometown. Climb the 40 steps to experience what life’s sorrow must have been like for the refugees.
Located nearby Jungang Station of Busan Metro Line 1, the Forty Stairs became the center of the lives of the refugees gathered from all over the country to the old Busan Station building. The Forty Stairs served as the passage that connected Busanhang Port’s dock to the shantytown on the hillside, a square where separated families met, and a market for selling relief items. There used to be a saying called “Let’s meet by the Forty Stairs in Busan,” and some waited by the stairs believing these words. The Forty Stairs is a place that contains the sorrows of a refugee’s burdensome life around Busan Station.
7Yongdusan Park, a reason to travel to Busan
I visit Busan because of Yongdusan Park!
That’s right. Yongdusan Park is enough reason to visit Busan these days.
If Haeundae is the hot spot of east Busan, Nampo-dong is the most popular place in central Busan. Yongdusan Park is a leading landmark of Busan frequented by those who visit the region.
8Where can I experience wearing hanbok in Busan?
When you try on hanbok here, you will be amazed at the beauty of the traditional garment of Korea. Rent hanbok at “Adam,” a hanbok rental shop, and take a stroll around the town.
While choosing the right hanbok and styling yourself, you will be fluttered with excitement. Since the finger heart became the universal language to express love, now is the perfect time for people who’d like to blow hearts and receive them.
Laughter never ends while traveling. People wearing hanbok look amazing and beautiful at the same time.
Visit Adam once again to wear hanbok.