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Chuseok’s celestial journey: Best spots for full moon gazing in Seoul

Sept. 28, 2023 - 16:01 By Moon Ki Hoon

In traditional Korean culture, the full moon is a symbol of life's essence and the passage of time, embodying abundance and fortune in its luminous splendor. Chuseok, or Hangawi, celebrated on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month, captures this heritage through traditions like crafting songpyeon -- half-moon shaped rice cakes symbolizing unity -- and, of course, making wishes under the harvest moon.

For those planning to immerse themselves in this celestial treat, here are some of the top places for moon gazing in and around Seoul:

1. Namsan Park

Night view of the N Seoul Tower from Namsan Park (Seoul Tourism Organization)

A short walk from Myeong-dong Station on Seoul Subway's Line No. 4 unveils this popular urban gem. Whether on top of the mountain or inside the towering N Seoul Tower, the panoramic vistas of the city below, bathed in moonlight, promise to offer visitors an enchanting experience.

2. Eungbongsan

Eungbongsan's octagonal pavilion (GettyImages)

Located near Eungbong Station on the Gyeongui-Jungang Line, the 81-meter-high mountain boasts a beautiful octagonal pavilion on its peak, a vantage point like no other for moonlit nights overlooking the Seoul skyline.

3. Achasan

View of Seoul from an observation deck on Achasan (GettyImages)

With an altitude of 295.7 meters, Achasan stretches across the eastern outskirts of the capital. Accessible from Gwangnaru Station on Subway Line No. 5, the mountain offers the perfect elevation to appreciate the moon’s reflection above the serene waters of the Han River.

4. Naksan Park

Night view of Seoul from the fortress trail at Naksan Park (Seoul Tourism Organization)

Not far from Hyehwa Station on Line No. 4, Naksan Park is nestled in a hilltop neighborhood of Jongno-gu and is graced by the remnants of fortress walls from the Joseon Era. Having gained popularity among young couples in recent years, the place provides a mesmerizing backdrop for moon gazing enthusiasts.

5. Seokchon Lake

Night view of Seoul from a walkway at Seokchon Lake (Seoul Metropolitan Government)

Just around the corner from Jamsil Station on Line No. 2, the serene Seokchon Lake transforms into a tableau of romance under the full moon, with the glowing Lotte Tower and Lotte World amusement park framing the scene.

6. Namhansanseong Provincial Park

View from the hiking trail along the fortress walls of Namhansanseong (GettyImages)

Dubbed the "Great Wall of Korea," this expansive fortress, just a 20-minute walk from Namhansanseong Station on Line No. 8, spans 11.7 kilometers with its stone and masonry walls, seamlessly contouring the landscape. Today, amidst the forested hillocks and scenic city vistas, it offers not only a journey through history -- King Injo of Joseon capitulated to invading Manchu forces here in 1636 -- but also a picturesque locale for moon gazing, especially when traversing the trails that flank the fortress walls.

7. Haengju Sanseong

Night view of Seoul from a vantage point at Haengju Sanseong (Yonhap)

A brief bus ride from Neunggok Station on the Gyeongui-Jungang Line will lead you to this mountain fortress, which was a famed battlefield during the Japanese invasion of Korea between 1592 and 1598, known as the Imjin Wars. Watch Seoul’s vibrant fusion of modernity and tradition come to life as the full moon rises above the majestic peaks of Bukhansan to the north of the capital.

8. Haneul Park

View of the Han River from an observation deck at Haneul Park (Seoul Metropolitan Government)

A 20-minute walk from World Cup Stadium Station on Line No. 6 brings you to Haneul Park, a vast grassland nestled within the World Cup Park. The place is an autumn favorite thanks to its extensive fields of reeds, and the sight of the full moon rising above its canvas is sure to present a memorable view for visitors.