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A Trip to the Alleys of the Government Complex Gwacheon Station in Search of My Own “Little Forest”


The residents of Gwacheon like to say that Gwacheon has its own pace of living. This becomes apparent if you take a stroll in the city. The pace of walking reminds you of the movie Little Forest. Like the line from the movie, “Whenever you are going through trying times, think about the smell of the earth, wind, and sunshine, and you will be able to get back on your feet again,” think about the time when you walked the streets of Gwacheon. In Saeseoul Plaza, a place being revitalized by young visitors, you can feel the atmosphere of a Gwancheon traditional market. At Yeowoo Bookstore and Pub BYEOL JUMAK located next to each other, you can have the special experience of enjoying a ‘chaekmak’ - drinking Makgeolli while reading a book. After you come out of Gawon Museum of Art, which was established with the vision of inducing people to the world of art more often and in a easier way, your own "little forest" seems to be waiting for you somewhere in front.

Travel Schedule

Saeseoul Plaza → 220m, 3 minutes on foot → Yeowoo Bookstore and Pub BYEOL JUMAK→ 1km, 15 minutes on foot → Gawon Museum of Art

1. Saeseoul Plaza: The Old and the New in the Same Place



In Gwacheon, you often hear people say, “that is so Gwacheon-like.” Saeseoul Plaza is a traditional market that very much reflects the character of Gwacheon. Its appearance
is a far cry from your average traditional market. In order to make the market look more modern like its urban setting, the market is housed in a commercial building. Saeseoul Plaza was opened in 1985 as a shopping center; in 2008, it received a license to operate as a traditional market. The market occupies the 1st~7th floors of the building.

There is no one who has not been to Saeseoul Plaza among those who is born and raised in Gwacheon. It is such an integral part of their lives. Today, young people with childhood memories of the market have started small businesses of their own there. The young business owners are bringing a breath of fresh air into the old spaces of the market. All of them started their businesses with their own dream.

YUHIJANG is a store that buys and sells time in the form of memorabilia from the past. It is owned by Yu Jeong-won, a local cartoonist/illustrator. Yu used to collect dolls from the ‘70s and ‘80s to serve as motifs for his drawings when, one day, he decided to open a store so that he could share with others the small joys of the hobbies like collecting dolls. The store is packed with adorable items and dolls that you will want to own when you see them. From a grandmother who drops by from time to time to buy a present for her granddaughter, to elementary school kids who come to look at the dolls, the ages of the customers who frequent the store are as diverse as the history of the market. Yu also creates drawings on a notebook for customers who want their own drawings. Such requests are usually for a present to be given away, and completing a drawing takes about 4 days.

KKOTSONYEON is a plant shop run by Song Han-jun, a young man who still sports a boyish look. As a child of parents engaged in the horticulture business, he was naturally drawn to the idea of starting a flower-related business of his own. He did not think twice about opening a business here because Saeseoul Plaza was a place where he had roamed since childhood. The store’s bestseller is the MANSE cactus, the shape of the hands when you hurrahed, which is easy to grow and is perfect as a gift. It is also popular as a couple gift.

Opposite KKOTSONYEON is 962 Melting Point, a jewelry store run by jewelry designer Son Byeong-jun. He had wanted to make his own wedding ring when it came time for him to marry, and this led him down the path of jewelry designing. The “962” in the store name is the melting point of silver. From this knowledge, we could deduce that silver was the main material used by 962 MELTING POINT. Every season, Son puts out rings and earrings based on a different theme.

These businesses run by young people coexist side by side with stores that have been doing business for a long time in the market. Saeseoul Plaza is a great place to feel the unique atmosphere of a marketplace where the old and the new coexist together. We strongly recommend visiting here at least once.

Address: 20, Byeoryangsangga 2-ro, Gwacheon-si, Gyeonggi-do

Tel.:+82- 2-3679-1401

Opening hours: 10:00~20:00, Closed on the first, third, and fifth Sundays of the month.

Website: None



2. Yeowoo Bookstore & Pub BYEOL JUMAK: Places Where You Can Be Happy Together



When it comes to food and liquor, there is always a pairing that works perfectly. Just like beer & chicken, wine & cheese, what could match well with makgeolli (Korean rice wine)? It’s neither mung bean pancake nor green onion pancake but books. There is a one-of-a-kind establishment in Gwacheon where you can drink makgeolli while enjoying books as a snack. Books are sold at Yeowoo Bookstore, and makgeolli can be bought at Pub BYEOL JUMAK.

Yeowoo Bookstore and Pub BYEOL JUMAK are in a symbiotic relationship. The bookstore operates its book selling business through bookshelves set up inside the pub. Books and liquor share the same space, but the businesses are run by different owners. The nice thing about this arrangement is that you can order makgeolli at 10 o’clock in the morning when the bookstore opens and buy books even after the bookstore employee has gone home. This is how customers are able to enjoy chaekmak - makgeolli and book combination -- anytime during the operating hours.

Yeowoo Bookstore is the culmination of the collective efforts of five members of a cooperative who got together to realize their dream of owning a small bookstore. The core value of the bookstore is ecofeminism; the bookstore espouses the idea of equality for women as well as all forms of life, animals and plants included. The bookshelves are filled end-to-end with selected books about ecofeminism that have been recommended by experts. In addition, there is a special bookshelf dedicated to books on liquors, writing, and speaking as well as books written by ordinary citizens of Gwacheon.

If you are clueless about what to read, don’t hesitate to ask the bookstore employee for some recommendations. He will talk to you about the books in such a convincing way that gives you a strong desire to read. The bookstore also serves as a venue for gatherings. People with the same interest in poetry reading, book reading, and writing meet up regularly to build friendships. People of all age groups from young people in their 20s to those in their 50s~60s come to the meetings. It’s a great time to experience bonding between people that transcends generations. You can order tea and fair-traded coffee. Veranda coffee is a special coffee made using beans roasted by a bookstore neighbor in his apartment veranda. The coffee tastes excellent.

The makgeolli served in Pub BYEOL JUMAK is chosen through strict criteria. The makgeolli has to be made using Korean rice, and any artificial-flavoring additives must not be used. Pub owners also care about the amount of dedication and the philosophy that go into brewing the rice wine. The same strict guidelines apply in the selection of side dishes for the makgeolli. Only fresh seasonal ingredients grown using environment-friendly methods and bought directly from the farms where they were harvested are used. Any artificial flavorings must not be used to spice up their tastes. The makgeolli is so good that 2-year-old kimchi as the main side dish is all that is needed to empty a bottle of makgeolli. Among the different makgeolli brands produced across the nation in the eight provinces of South Korea and sold here, the bestseller is Haechang makgeolli from Haenam, Jeollanam-do Province. Byeol Pub’s honey-flavored makgeolli, which uses the best-quality natural honey as an additive, is especially effective as a hangover reliever.

If you come here for a drink, we suggest these words when making a toast:

“Let’s have a toast. To books and liquor, To myself. And to happiness for all!”

Yeowoo Bookstore

Address: Silla Shopping Center B1,37, Byeoryangsangga 1-ro, Gwacheon-si, Gyeonggi-do

Tel.: +82-2-504-2578

Opening hours: 10:00~01:00

Menu: veranda coffee KRW4,000 , hand drip coffee KRW 4,000, Five-flavor berry tea KRW 4,500

Website: None



Address: Silla Shopping Center B1,37, Byeoryangsangga 1-ro, Gwacheon-si, Gyeonggi-do

Tel.: +82-2-504-7016

Opening hours: Weekdays 15:00~01:00, Weekends 14:00~01:00

Menu: Makgeolli KRW 5,000~24,000, Samcheonpo Bugak(Fried Laver Chips) KRW2,000, Boiled meat slices  KRW15,000

Website: None



3. Gawon Museum of Art: A Place You Want to Stay for a Long Time



If going to an art museum has always been daunting for you, then you should visit Gawon Museum of Art. The late Lee Yong, a painter trained in western art, founded this gallery in 2003 with the intention of making arts much closer to everyone.

There are three enjoyable aspects of visiting Gawon Museum of Art. First, the trip to the gallery itself is enjoyable and feels like “art”. The very greenish trees along the road to the art museum make you feel refreshed and relieved. The road is empty, save for a few people coming and going. As you walk, the leisurely pace feels like an unexpected present for you. Fully ripe fruits that tell you the season and vegetables grown to their full lengths can be seen hanging on the trees lining the roads. Seeing the fruits of nature in their natural state, not in a supermarket display rack is an enjoyable experience in itself.

You will experience the second enjoyment when you arrive at the art museum. The name Gawon means “beautiful garden”. The art museum and its garden are beautiful befitting its name. The museum exudes an exotic atmosphere reminiscent of a house in a Southern European country. After touring exhibit halls 2 and 3, stand on the terrace and look down at the well-managed garden. You will become smitten by the autumn foliage in autumn and feel the splendor of white snow in winter. Plus, don’t miss the monthly exhibition with a different theme each month. In this tranquil setting, the time spent immersing yourself in the meanings and energies of the artworks on display will enrich your day.

The third and final enjoyment provided by the art museum is the chance to enjoy a cup of coffee in the coffee shop on the first floor. The coffee shop uses coffee beans made by Heo Yeong Man’s Apgujeong Coffee House, a brand known for its unique quality and aroma. Instead of iced coffee, we recommend hot coffee because it retains the full aroma and flavor of coffee. Even the gentle sound of classical music playing in the coffee shop is part of the perfect unity of space you can experience here.

Address: 24, Saebit-ro, Gwacheon-si, Gyeonggi-do


Opening hours: 10:00~18:00 (17:00 in winter), Closed on Mondays

Admission: KRW 2,000




1. If you get off at Exit 1, 2, or 10 of Seoul Subway Line 4 Government Complex Gwacheon Station, you will find that all the attractions are within walking distance. Exit 10 will take you to the art museum. It takes about 20 minutes on foot.


2. Before leaving for Gwacheon, you should watch the movie Little Forest. As scenes from the movie overlap with the alley you are walking through, you might feel as if you are the main character in the movie. Especially the scene where the characters eat kimchijeon (pancake) and drink makgeolli will really pull you in the direction of Byeol Pub.


Public Transportation Information

[Subway] Exit 1 of Seoul Subway Line 4 Government Complex Gwacheon Station. Follow Byeoryangsangga 2-ro on the left. It is 6 minutes away from here on foot.


Driving Information

Banpo-daero → Woomyeonsan Tunnel Toll Gate → Woomyeonsan-ro → Gwacheon IC → Kolon-ro → Woochaeguk Intersection → Byeolyang-ro → Byeoryangsangga 3-ro → Byeoryangsangga 1-ro Byeoryangsangga 2-ro → Saeseoul Plaza