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Discovering a New Incheon by Traveling Back in Time to the Port Opening Period
Date 05-22-2020 11:07
Discovering a New Incheon
by Traveling Back in Time to the Port Opening Period


Incheon is an interesting city as the borders that separate nations, times, and realities from imaginations begin to blur when you walk down its streets. The city features a vividly red Chinatown, scenes from the late 19th century Korea, and a fairy tale–like village all at once.





Korea’s Largest and Most Famous Chinatown


Dozens of Chinese restaurants with bright red signs throng behind the large pai-loo (Chinese gateway) that shines in red and gold. Four pai-loos mark four different directions in Incheon’s Chinatown. Once you step past the gate, you will be drawn by the exotic scents of spices. Upon the Incheonhang Port’s opening in 1883 and the Qing consulate general’s establishment in the city the following year, a growing number of Chinese merchants and migrants have begun to flow into Incheon, eventually leading to the creation of the current Chinatown. Initially, the town consisted of major Qing businessmen’s stores, restaurants, and mansions. Today, it’s mostly occupied by Chinese restaurants run by second- or third-generation Chinese immigrants. Mandabok’s hayan jjajang (noodles in white bean sauce) Chinese gonggalppang (hollow bread), tanghuru (candied May tree fruits on little sticks), and wood-fired oven-baked dumplings are some of the most popular delicacies available. Getting a taste of the wide variety of street food while touring Chinatown’s alleyways is also delightful. Finally, you should head to Jjajangmyeon Museum after eating. Gonghwachun, a popular local establishment, was remodeled into a museum after seven decades of serving the local clientele. It’s a perfect place to learn why Incheon became home to Korea’s largest Chinese immigrant population and how jjajangmyeon (noodles in black bean sauce), which originated from China, evolved in the country.




Tel. +82-32-760-6494 (Tourism Marketing Team, Jung-gu District Office, Incheon)
Address: 12, Chinatown-ro 59beon-gil, Jung-gu, Incheon



Childhood Nostalgia: Songwol-dong Fairy Tale Village


Hanjungmun Gate, the fourth pai-loo of Incheon’s Chinatown, opens straight onto Songwol-dong Fairy Tale Village. This fantastical area was the brainchild of an ambitious plan that followed the themes of great children’s classics and transformed the entire neighborhood in 2013. Eleven themed alleyways, which include Dorothy Road, Red Riding Hood Road, and Folktale Road, bring visitors into scenes from children’s books. Utility poles were transformed into the plant from Jack and the Beanstalk, and gas meters now resemble the Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz. Thus, this neighborhood is widely popular among adults and children alike. Ultimately, the proper way to finish the village tour is by enjoying the trick art murals along Mural Street, where 39 visual illusion artworks are sprawled across a two-story building. It’s a perfect backdrop for taking funny selfies with loved ones.



Tel. +82-32-760-6480
Address: 38, Donghwamaeul-gil, Jung-gu, Incheon



Time Travel Back to the 19th Century: Open Port Area’s History & Culture Street


In the late 19th century, Incheon was the third city in Korea that was opened to the outside world. Once the Jemulpo Port was established in Incheon in 1883, modernity seeped into this sleepy, little fishing village as residences for foreigners were soon erected, stores were set up to trade imported goods, and hotels were opened. The buildings in this area that date back nearly 130 years have retained their antique charms. The Open Port Area’s History & Culture Street, which starts with the Incheon Art Platform, features the INCHEON Open Port Modern Architect, INCHEON Open Port Museum, Jayu Park, and Naeri Methodist Church. It will take about half a day to tour all these buildings. Meanwhile, the INCHEON Open Port Modern Architect and the INCHEON Open Port Museum are two must-see places if you’re short on time. The Modern Architect displays miniatures of all historic buildings found near the port, while the Museum houses artifacts from Korea’s “first” modern features, including Naeri Methodist Church, which is Korea’s first Methodist church, and Gyeongin Line, Korea’s first railway.



Tel. +82-32-763-3356 (Division of Culture and Tourism Information, Incheon)
Address: : INCHEON Open Port Museum, 89, Sinpo-ro 23beon-gil, Jung-gu, Incheon