Seodaemun Prison History Hall

Attraction 484 Tongil-ro, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul 120-760, South Korea Published on: 13-11-2015

2 hours
09:30 AM - 06:00 PM
03:30 PM
05:30 PM
First-time visit
Must see
Temple & Monument
1.00 USD

Seodaemun Prison History Hall is good for

Good for family with kids Family with kids Good
Good for senior Senior Good
Good for couple Couple Good
Good for solo Solo Good
Good for group Group Good
  • Highly recommended by fellow travellers.
Seodaemun Prison History Hall is a museum and former prison in Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, South Korea. It was constructed beginning in 1907.

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Why Seodaemun Prison History Hall is special ?

Seodaemun Prison History Hall is a museum and former prison in Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, South Korea. It was constructed beginning in 1907. The prison was opened on October 21, 1908, under the name Gyeongseong Gamok. Its name was changed to Seodaemun Prison in 1923.

The prison was used during the Colonial period to house anti-colonial activists, and could accommodate around 500 people. After the colonial era ended in 1945, the prison was used by the South Korean government until 1987, when it was replaced by a facility in Uiwang City, Gyeonggi Province. In 1992, the site was dedicated as the Seodaemun Prison History Hall, part of Independence Park. Seven of the prison complex's original fifteen buildings are preserved as historical monuments. Park Yu-ha, a professor of Sejong University criticized that the History Hall is focused on the history of Japanese rule only to exacerbate the hatred toward Japan, totally ignoring the 50 year history after the liberation.


What to explore at Seodaemun Prison History Hall?

Seodaemun Prison History Hall was built in remembrance of Seodaemun Prison, and to salute the Korean patriots. There you'll find seven jail cells, a historical exhibition hall, an execution room, watchtowers and a basement jail cell where Yu Gwan-sun an historic figure during the independence movement died. The 1st floor is “A Place of Reverence,” where you can learn about Seodaemun Prison via the graphic systems. A large screen shows the background of its founding and the transition periods in its history. The Material Room has displays and information on Korea's history. The museum also holds special exhibits. The 2nd floor is “A Place of History,” where you can view the “National Resistance Room,” “Prison History Room” and the “In Prison Life Room.” This floor shows examples of how the people fought through this dark chapter in history continuing to hold on to their hope and resolve for freedom. “A Place of Experience” is the most horrifying and dreadful place in the prison. In the “Temporary Detention Room” and “Torture Room” you will see recreated torture scenes that are frighteningly realistic. At the Seodamun Independence Park nearby you can visit the Independence Hall, the Patriotic Martyr Monument, the March 1st Declaration of Independence Monument, relic no. 32 and no. 33.


How to get to Seodaemun Prison History Hall?


Dongnimmun Station (Subway Line 3), Exit 5.


-Get off at Independence Park

Blue - 471, 701, 702, 703, 704, 720, 752

Green - 7019, 7021, 7023, 7025, 7712, 7737

Red - 9701, 9703, 9705, 9709, 9710, 9711, 9712


Selling points

  • Experience History Firsthand
  • Really great first-hand view of history
  • Educational and Interesting
  • A must see when in Seoul
  • Provides a Balanced Visit to Seoul

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1.0 day
6.40 USD
Total travel distance
Number of places
5 places




484 Tongil-ro, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul 120-760, South Korea

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Tips for you

  • Toilet is available.
  • This museum offers facilities for the Handicapped including wheelchair rental service, restrooms, parking spaces
  • You should ask permission if you want to take photograph.
  • You should not write anything or touch on the object in the museum.
  • You should keep eyes on your children to avoid getting lost.
  • The official website is great site for more detailed information, so you visit it before your trip to the museum.
  • Parking is available and costs 1,000 won ($1)for first 30min / 300 won($0.3) for every 10min after.
  • Parking is available.
  • Visitors can make reservations for foreign language tours.
  • Admission ticket is 1500 won($1.5) for Youths (13-18).
    Ticket and Pricing


FourSquare View more

good place for historian to understand japanese war crimes in colonized korea 1910-1945. but also so touching and i really feel cold inside. really disgusted by japanese torture method.

TripAdvisor View more

Seodaemun Prison is an important place to visit while in Seoul as it explains the complicated relationship between Japan and Korea. At the beginning of the 20th century, Japan occupied Korea bringing with it great oppression while forcing the people to take on Japanese customs. Of course, this was met with a lot of resistance. Because of this, many Koreans were taken to Seodaemun for questioning and were tortured by the Japanese, the most famous Ryu Gwan-sun. Many of the factory buildings are gone, but the museum’s main buildings still include some cells that housed prisoners, torture chambers, and many exhibits explaining this time in history. I think the most powerful part of Seodaemun Prison was the room which included hundreds of photos of people who had been imprisoned there. It was pretty powerful to see the faces of the people who would try to hold onto their country at any cost, including death. This museum may not be for everyone especially if you are not into history, but for 3,000 won and the chance to learn a little more about the history of modern Korea made it worth it for me. Be warned, many of the displays are in Korean only which may be frustrating to some. Also, during the week, there are a lot of school groups making it cumbersome to navigate through large groups of children at times, but in the end, it was still worth it as it's a very powerful museum.

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