korean tomb picture

Visiting Korean Royal Tombs

korean tomb picture
korean tomb picture






favorite places in Youngchando Island Korea

in 2009 UNESCO added the Korean Jeonson Royal tombs to their world heritage list.

recently, an old Korean friend, who I met back in 1980 during my Peace Corps day, suggested that we plan to visit all 40 of the Jeonson royal tombs as part of our Korean travel bucket list.

he is taking a Korean history course and they just finished studying the royal tombs.

Visit to Jeongneung Tomb

we picked for our first tomb, Jeongneung Royal tomb.  Jeongneung  Royal Tomb was built for Queen Sindeok Second Queen for King Taejo First King of Josean dynasty, died 1396 of illness

Heungcheonsa temple build to honor her spirit is next door and is well worth a visit as well

There are 122 tombs in all, most in Seoul or Gyeongi province, a few are in North Korean territory.

the King and Queen tombs are called  neung, the 14 Myo and 66 myo tombs for lesser royal family member.  this tomb was located elsewhere and relocated in 1409. It burned down but was restored in 1669.  Most of the tombs have sustained some damage over the years, all are either rebuilt or being fixed up.

all follow roughly the same pattern.  Most are locate near a mountain so there is ample hiking opportunities near the tombs.  Many are also located next to temples as well.  Most have either a steam or a lake/pound on the site,  Jeongneung tomb has a stream running through it.   all were located according to Fungshi principles.  The landscaping is in harmony with the natural surroundings. All have ample English signage, many have English language pamphlets as well and there is a lot of background reading on the internet.   Most have ancestral rites performed annually, the memorial rites of Jeongneung are held on September 23 every year.

the remaining tombs are 


2.1Donggureung Tomb Cluster (동구릉)

2.2Gwangneung (광릉)

2.3Heolleung and Illeung (헌릉&인릉)

2.4Hongneung and Yureung (홍릉&유릉)

2.5Jangneung (Gimpo) (김포 장릉)

2.6Jangneung (Paju) (파주 장릉)

2.7Jangneung (Yeongwol) (영월 장릉)

2.8Jeongneung (정릉)

2.9Olleung (온릉)

2.10Paju Samneung Cluster (파주 삼릉)

2.11Sareung (사릉)

2.12Seolleung and Jeongneung (선릉&정릉)

2.13Seo-oreung Cluster (서오릉)

2.14Seosamneung Cluster (서삼릉)

2.15Taereung and Gangneung (태릉&강릉)

2.16Uireung (의릉)

2.17Yeongneung and Yeongneung (영릉&영릉)

2.18Yungneung and Geolleung (융릉&건릉)

Transportation to Tomb

The nearest stations Sungshin Woman’s University Station on the number 4 blue line or Gireum station, also on the the number 4 blue line.   From Sungshin Woman’s University take exit 6, from Gireum station take exit 3.  You can easily walk to the tomb and temple  -less then ten minutes about 1/4 tp 1/2 mile if that, but you can also take the local bus or basic taxi fare.  Buses 1014, 162 (blue) 1213, 1164, 153, 171, 8153 all serve the tomb.

driving – from Mia Junction right turn on giregumgyo bridge turn right, ariang gogae  pass turn left ariang market turn right.  as usual parking can be a problem so best to travel by public transit.

address for Navi 74 neung-gil, Seongbuk ku,  Seoul 136-102 

Tel: 82 291-4453-133

the trip from the station, and a walk through the grounds and hills nearby and back to the station takes about 2 hours and is a nice 2 mile round trip loop trail.

Admission Fees

 the basic fee for adults age 16 to 64 is 1,000 won, children and elderly (over 65) are free.  there is a pass that allows free access to all 122 tombs but we did not buy that today, will buy it next time I think.

Update  Visit to Taereung and Gangreun Tombs


Taerueng and Gangrueng Tombs

Taereung and Gangneug are located near each other in Northeast Seoul at the base of Baramsan mountain. the tomb is surrounded by dense pine trees and has larger stone statues than in most tombs.  The two tombs were built about the same time and are in the classic style.

Queen Munjoeng,  3rd consort to King Jungjon the 11th King of the Chosen dynasty, and mother to King Myeongjong is buried at Taereung tomb.  She died at age 65.

the memorial rites are held every May 16.

Getting there

the nearest subway stations are Seokgye (line 1/6 exit 1 to 6) bus 1155, 1156, 73 or 74),  Taereung station (Line 1/7 exit 7 bus 1155, 1156, 73,74 or 82 A or 82 B) and Hwrangdae station (line 6) take bus 202, 1155, 1156, 73,74 or 82A or 82B) about four stops on the bus. 

the Taereung Military Academy is near by as is Seoul Woman’s University and the National Olympic Training Center and the National Rifle shooting range.   There are lots of places to eat near Seokgye station.

Admission Fee

1,000 won per adult covers both tombs plus the museum


King Myeongjong, 13th King of the Chosen dynasty ruled from 1553 to 1567 and presided over a tumultuous period of bitter clan rivalry in the middle of the Chosen dynasty.  His wife, Queen Insun is buried here as well.

the entry way is covered with thick moss and has an archaic feel to it.

Gangreun is about a 15 minute walk from Taereung.  Both are about a 30 minute walk from the nearest subway station so taking the bus is the best option.

The memorial rites are held on the 4th Sunday of every April.

Royal Tomb Museum

the Royal Tomb Museum is also located at Taereung.  The museum is small, but informative.  Unfortunately not enough English signage.

  Ghosts Sijo

the Korean tombs
of the ancient 
Kings of the Past 

by the ghosts
of the ancients
all around me

the old ghosts 
whispering to me 
the sounds of the ghosts
in the wind 

for more info see the wiki article below and the Korean Government Tourism link below

Heungcheonsa Temple

Heungcheonsa (Korean: 흥천사; RR: Heungcheonsa) is a Buddhist temple of the Jogye Order in Seoul, South Korea. It is located at 592 Donam-dong, in the Seongbuk-gu area of the city.


three down, 119 more to go!  I will update this as I hit the various tombs, mountains, and temples on the list.

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