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Insadong is a dong, or neighborhood, of the Jongno-gu district of the South Korean city of Seoul. The main street is Insadong-gil, which is connected to a multitude of alleys that lead deeper into the district. At one time it was the largest market for antiques and artworks in Korea.

Insadong was originally two towns whose names ended in the syllables "In" and "Sa". They were divided by a stream which ran along Insadong's current main street. Insadong began 500 years ago as an area of residence for government officials. During the early period of the Joseon Dynasty (1392–1897), the area was property that belonged to Gwanin-bang and Gyeonpyeong-bang. Bang was the name of an administrative unit, Hanseong during that time (old name for the capital, Seoul). During the Japanese occupation, the wealthy Korean residents were forced to move and sell their belongings, at which point the site became an area of trading in antiques. After the end of the Korean War, the area became a focus of South Korea's artistic and cafe life. It was a popular destination among foreign visitors to South Korea during the 1960s, who called the area "Mary's Alley". It gained in popularity with international tourists during the 1988 Seoul Olympics. In 2000 the area was renovated, and, after protest, the rapid modernization of the area was halted for two years.

Insadong-gil is "well known as a traditional street to both locals and foreigners" and represents the "culture of the past and the present". It contains a mixture of historical and modern atmosphere and is a "unique area of Seoul that truly represents the cultural history of the nation."The majority of the traditional buildings originally belonged to merchants and bureaucrats. Some larger residences, built for retired government officials during the Joseon period, can also be seen. Most of these older buildings are now used as restaurants or shops. Among the historically significant buildings located in the area are Unhyeongung mansion, Jogyesa - one of the most significant Korean Buddhist temples, and one of Korea's oldest Presbyterian churches.

The area is well known for sightseeing, with approximately 100,000 visitors on Sundays reported in 2000. Insadong is also a visiting spot for foreign dignitaries such as Queen Elizabeth II and the princess of Spain and the Netherlands. It contains 40 percent of the nation's antique shops and art galleries as well as 90 percent of the traditional stationery shops. Particularly noteworthy is Tongmungwan, the oldest bookstore in Seoul, and Kyung-in Art Gallery, the oldest tea house. There are daily calligraphy demonstrations and pansori performances

Helpful Phone Numbers to Know

Here are a few helpful numbers to have in case you need help, have a specific question, or looking for information on events

1345 for immigration information in English

1330 for general Korea tourism information in English

1588-5644 BBB free interpretation service - choose your language of choice

120 (then press 9 for English) for Seoul city information, including transportation and festival info

02-390-2000 for National Health Insurance consultation in English

InKAS Winter Cultural Classes

InKAS will be offering 3 different cultural classes for Korean adoptees during the months of November and December! The class location will be in Yonhui-dong (near Hongdae Station) close to the InKAS guesthouse. All classes are free of charge, but small renting/textbook fees will be required.

Conversational Korean Language Class: Anyone can join this class, it will focus primarily on conversational speaking. Class will be taught by an accredited Korean instructor. Textbook will be used. 
Course days: M
ondays and Wednesdays 4pm-6pm
Course dates: November 5th - December 28th (no class 12/24)
Course fees: Textbook fee 30,000 won

Korean Traditional Paper Doll-Making Class: Learn how to make the traditional Korean dolls (닥종이 인형) as seen in the event picture. 
Course days: Tuesdays 4pm-6pm
Course dates: November 6th - December 18th
Course fees: Materials fee 30,000 won

Gayageum Class: Learn how to play the Gayageum (가야금), traditional Korean instrument similar to the zither, with 12 strings. 
Course days: Thursdays 4pm-6pm
Course dates: November 8th - December 20th
Course fees: Gayageum renting fee 30,000 won

Login --> My Applications --> 2012 InKAS Winter Cultural Classes
Deadline is Friday, November 2nd

If you have any questions please email to:

Fall and Winter InKAS Event Dates!

Hello Everyone!

We have finalized our event dates for the remaining events this year, so please mark your calendars!!  As each event approaches, we will send out official event information, invitations, and schedule details.  This notice is only meant to notify you of each event's date, thanks for your interest!!

November 16th and 17th: Bukchon hanok experience camp - a 1 night, 2 day stay at the hanok village in Jongro district.

December 1st and 2nd: InKAS winter trip 1 night, 2 day stay at the Yongpyung Resort.  Will include informational seminars on various topics and skiing!

December 21st: InKAS Christmas Party - will also include informational seminars prior to the party in the afternoon.

Please look out for more information and hope to see you all at our events!

Online Scholarship Program Temporarily Closed

Our online Korean language program is temporarily closed, we apologize for any inconvenience and will make an announcement once our program is fixed and running once again.


InKAS - International Korean Adoptee Service Inc | Phone: +82-2-3148-0258 | Fax: +82-2-3148-0259
(03698) 15F, 662, Gyeongin-ro, Guro-gu, Seoul, Republic of Korea