Insadong (인사동) is an area in the Jong-no (종로) district of Seoul. It is filled with streets and alleys with all sorts of things from modern galleries to traditional tea stores. It has a tendency to get a little touristy at times since it is super popular with tourists, but nevertheless, I think it’s fun to go there once in a while.
There were lots of little stalls on the main street that sold everything from jewelry to street food to handmade knickknacks. Like I said, a little touristy, but they did make for some pretty adorable photos.
I think Insadong is one of those places in Seoul where you can really tangibly see the fusion of old and new. There literally is something for everybody!
There are traditional brush stores, selling all sorts of things from brushes to inks to grinders…
There are tons of stores selling traditional ceramics…(I really loved the tiny liquor cups that they had!)
And then there were other stores selling all sorts of vintage items. It was like a blast to the past, since I grew up with most of these toys and pop culture icons.
Here are one of the touristy stores. There were signs written in English, as well as Japanese, since apparently a lot of Japanese tourists love to visit the area.
This store was selling all sorts of lucky bronze animals, especially toads (it says frog in the signs but I’m pretty sure they were toads 😀 ).
At the heart of Insadong is a building called Ssamjigil (쌈지길). It’s an open air area full of stores and art galleries and tea places. In the basement is a large room where you can even try your hand at some traditional (and non-traditional) crafts!
This is another view of Ssamjigil from the ramp that winds around the building.
If you are in Seoul, make sure to make a point of visiting this area! You will likely spend all day here, if not in the shopping areas, then in one of the many delightful little cafes.