Art villages of Busan, art museums without a roof

Written and photographed by travel writer Lee Cheol-hyeon

Art villages of Busan, art museums without a roof
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There are hidden travel spots throughout Busan where you can encounter the culture and history of villages with beautiful scenery in the backdrop, especially the arts and culture villages that tell of colorful and artistic stories on each alley and street.
The fall season where the cool wind blows is perfect for you to go on an arts and culture street tour. From “Kangkangee Culture Village” with an affectionate name to Hocheon Culture Village and Lee Jung-seob Street, let’s visit these open, roofless art museums we have found in Busan.
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Kangkangee Culture Village

Located across from Jagalchi Market, Kangkangee Culture Village is also known as the “shipyard village.” The area if the former home of “Tanaka Shipyard,” which manufactured the nation’s first-ever ships with engines, as well as the mecca of the repair shipbuilding business. Once-forgotten town because of the aging population, it was reborn under the name of “Kangkangee Culture Village” along with the restoration of Yeongdodaegyo Bridge. Today, the area is full of a variety of exciting elements such as regular tours, cruises and ship experiences. It is also a popular weekend travel spot for Busan locals and a must-visit attraction for Busan travelers.
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“Kangkangee Information Center,” which can be said to be where the village starts, is being utilized as a terminal for ship experiences and marine tours. Here, you can book a ticket on a cruise ship called Kangkangee Sea Bus and enjoy a relaxing trip. Living up to the name as a culture village, Kangkangee Sea Bus boasts fancy colors and glides through the waters. From the cruise on the sea, you can get a panoramic view of the shipyard and the village.
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The cruise is just one of the impressive attractions of Kangkangee Culture Village. Check out the “Colorful Street” right in front of Kangkangee Information Center. Colorful Street is a street created by newly painting the walls of old warehouses and service centers as a part of the Wall Art Project. As a result, a unique street whose fancy, colorful buildings grab people’s attention was created and, today, it has been reborn as a place where you have to take selfies. It is no exaggeration to say that Colorful Street has served a huge role in transforming a “town that had been repairing ships” for a long period of time into a “village with arts and culture.”
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As you start walking from Colorful Street towards different corners of the village, you will be able to enjoy street cartoons known as the “Pole Art Project.” Different cartoon cuts are drawn on telephone poles that are easily found on streets, and they tell stories of the past and present of Kangkangee Culture Village.
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The history of the village can be examined in more detail if you visit the “Street Museum” where the countless changes by era that the village has experienced and endured from the beginning to the present day are drawn on ordinary walls. The village’s history flows along the walls. Once you walk past the Street Museum and move towards the sea, you can get a view of many of Busan’s landmarks, including Yeongdodaegyo Bridge, Jagalchi Market, Busan Tower and Yongdusan Park. It is also a great place to space out while gazing at the sea, motorboats traveling through the waters, and the waves rocking back and forth.


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Lee Jung-seob Street

Do you know Lee Jung-seob, a genius artist who represents not only Dong-gu, Busan but also Korea? Lee Jung-seob is famous for being the creator of “White Ox” and silver foil drawings on tin foil inside a cigarette pack, and there is a street in Busan that has splendidly displayed the works of Artist Lee Jung-seob.
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Established in Beomil-dong, Dong-gu in Busan, Lee Jung-seob Street wonderfully expresses the works and world view of Artist Lee Jung-seob on stairs and walls. Not many know that there is an art-filled neighborhood in such a small village in the city where people frequently come and go, but this is where “Lee Jung-seob Street” exists.
To fully enjoy Lee Jung-seob Street with a deeper understanding of the artist, it would be a good idea to learn a little bit about the artist before you visit the area. Lee roamed the area around Mildawon, Geumgang Coffee Shop and pubs by the wharf in the Gwangbok-dong area. Together with other artists who had fled to Busan, they made significant contributions to Korean arts. Though he lived as an impoverished artist drawing on silver foil paper inside cigarette packs, he produced world-renowned works like , and and is remembered as an artist with the nickname of genius painter.
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When you stand at the entrance of the street and look towards the view above, what grabs your attention before anything else is the "staircase murals." The artist's famous works are painted on each and every step. If you look at the stairs from the front, the paintings come to form a single, complete mural artwork. These are difficult stairs to climb but, as you look at the paintings and take one step at a time, you will be able to reach the top before you realize. At the highest point of the staircase, you can relax and enjoy the view below.
At the rest area in the middle of the staircase, chairs and wall structures that pay homage to Lee's works are installed to allow visitors to appreciate and examine his artistic sense in a unique way. While walking up the steps, you can come to meet Lee Jung-seob's art works in a variety of forms from murals to installation art and tile art, which will make you feel as if you are in an art gallery.
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Lee Jung-seob Observatory located at the end of the staircase is where you will have a panoramic view of Beomil-dong. It is a small observatory but it still boasts beautiful scenery that anyone would fall in love with. Here, you can briefly rest or take photos to make good memories. Also, the observatory is an attractive location from which you can enjoy a complete view of "Hocheon Village," another art museum without a roof in Busan, in a relaxing manner.


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Hocheon Village

Do you know the location of "Hocheon Village"? Once an ordinary town, it has become a must-visit spot during a trip to Busan. Just a few years ago, the village did not see many people visiting the area. However, ever since it became known as a filming location for a drama, it started to gain fame and, now, Hocheon Village is one of the tourist attractions that represent Busan.
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If you actually visit Hocheon Village yourself, you will find something greater and more colorful than a mere "drama filming location." This is a village that had already been boasting a long history, brilliant culture and beautiful scenery even before being a filming location.
The village features houses standing along Sanbok Road that continues in curves and bends, and the colors of the roofs and walls form gorgeous harmony. The view of Hocheon Village during the day is filled with gentle but splendid paint-like colors.
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The name, Hocheon Village, originated from Hogyecheon, a stream that flows through the village whose name means a stream to which a tiger used to come to drink. This is why you can easily run into tiger paintings in different places of the village. The tiger mural street is painted with tiger murals and tells their stories on every wall of the houses. As you slowly walk through the village roads, you will be able to enjoy story-filled tiger paintings.
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Near the refreshingly flowing water of Hogyecheon, you find “Eoseulleong Art Museum,” which is where calligraphy classes are held for residents of Hocheon Village and nearby areas and, also, where the completed works are exhibited. Depending on the period of the year, Eoseulleong Art Museum may be exhibiting artwork.
People walk on the deck trail built along Hogyecheon and capture diverse scenes of the village with their eyes. At the end of a diligent walk, you will reach 180 Stairs, famous for its appearance in the drama, . The 180 Stairs viewed from below look so tall that it feels as if they can touch the sky but, once you start walking up the steps, you will be mesmerized by the wonderful scenery of the village that unfolds behind you.
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“Hocheon Cultural Platform” awaits you at the top of the staircase and this is where a replica of “Namil Bar” from the drama, , is set up. It has been widely loved by those who stop by this area as a must-visit photo zone to take selfies of their lives.
The view of the village seen from Hocheon Cultural Platform is like a beautiful painting. Come and visit Hocheon Village, a roofless art museum filled with things to see from the gorgeous village landscape to 180 Stairs, murals and art galleries, anytime.

Travel Etiquette

Look around quietly as it is an area where actual residents currently live.
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Get Directions
Starting point
destination
  • Address

    Kangkangee Culture Village : 36, Daepyeongbuk-ro, Yeongdo-gu, Busan (Kangkangee Culture Village Information Center)
    Hocheon Village : 491, Eomgwang-ro, Busanjin-gu, Busan (Hocheon Cultural Platform)
    Lee Jung-seob Street : 1461-142, Beomil-dong, Dong-gu, Busan
  • Inquiry

    Kangkangee Culture Village Information Center
    +82-51-418-3336
  • Closing Dates

    Open all year round
  • Hours

    Always open
  • Service Fees

    Free
  • Traffic Information

    Kangkangee Culture Village
    Exit 6, Nampo Station, Subway Line 1 → 18-minute walk
    Exit 6, Nampo Station, Subway Line 1 → Yeongdodaegyo Bridge (Nampo Station) Bus Stop, Transfer to Bus 6 → Kangkangee Culture Village Bus Stop, 8-minute walk
    Parking: Bongnae-dong, Namhang Market Public Parking Lot (Fees apply)

    Hocheon Village
    Exit 7, Beomnaegol Station, Subway Line 1 → Beomnaegol Station Bus Stop, Transfer to Bus 29, 86, or 38 → Areumville Apt. Bus Stop, 7-minute walk
    Lotte Hotel & Department Store (Seomyeon Station) Bus Stop across the street from Lotte Department Store Busan Branch in Seomyeon, Bus 87 → Hocheon Village Entrance
    Parking: Sky Way Parking Lot (Fees apply)

    Lee Jung-seob Street
    Exit 7, Beomil Station, Subway Line 1 → 15-minute walk
    Exit 7, Beomnaegol Station, Subway Line 1 → Beomnaegol Station Bus Stop, Transfer to Bus 29, 86, or 38 → Areumville Apt. Bus Stop, 2-minute walk
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