The Jongmyo (종묘) Royal Shrine smells of cedar, winter and fire.
This royal shrine was made in 1394 by the Joseon Dynasty to pay tribute to the ancestors of royalty.
There isn’t any actual bodies here, just spirit tablets for the ancestors. There are 83 spirit tablets on the grounds, in either Jeongjeon (main hall) or Yeongnyeong-jeon (the Hall of Eternal Peace).
Jongmyo Shrine is located in Northern Seoul, a stone’s throw away from both Changdeok Palace and Changgyeong Palace (more on those in later posts).
The only way in was to take a guided tour, which meant I had to wait around for 20 minutes for the English tour to start. I am not a fan of guided tours.
But the tour guide was sweet and informative, so no real complaints.
The grounds are desolate and gorgeous. I think it was really fitting for me to visit in the winter.
And it was quiet with a tremendous sense of peace.
A gorgeous tree on the grounds.
Criss-crossing throughout the grounds are a set of three paths, the middle one raised. These were created for royalty to use, but instead of the king using the raised one (like in palaces), the middle one is reserved for the ancestors’ spirits.
Even today, out of respect, people don’t walk on the middle one.
Jongymo Royal Shrine would be a great place just to go, bring a book and enjoy the quiet as you sit next to symbols of Korean reverence.
Entrance fee for the Jongmyo Royal Shrine: ₩ 1,500 ($1.38).
The decorations of the front entrance.
The side staircase of the main hall. The stone at the bottom is a cloud, and the staircase symbolizes a rainbow to Heaven.
My brochure from the site