Customers were lined up outside of the new flagship store of Uniqlo in Myeongdong, Seoul, on opening day in November 2011. According to the company, about 120,000 customers visited the store in Myeongdong and the total sales amounted to 3.6 billion won during the first three days of opening. It is no mere coincidence that the Japanese clothing retailer decided to open its world’s secondlargest flagship store in Seoul’s Myeongdong.
As a center of fashion, culture and shopping in Seoul, Myeongdong is packed with bustling streets, large department stores and malls, a host of restaurants and steaming street stalls as well as a lot of visitors, living up to its reputationas the nation’s busiest shopping district.
A survey conducted by Seoul city government found that one of the top spots for foreign tourists is the bustling shopping area of Myeongdong. Shoppers can see and buy the trendiest items in Korea ranging from clothing, accessories and cosmetics to shoes. They also can experience ‘Real’ Korea from a variety of Korean style street food carts called pojangmacha where they can enjoy a broad range of inexpensive street foodstuffs.
With the Korean wave called Hallyu booming overseas, particularly, the number of foreign tourists to the area has increase remarkably. Myeongdong is centrally located close to Seoul Station, Namdaemun and City Hall as well as other popular tourist sites nearby, such as Namsangol Hanok Village and N Seoul Tower.
Namsangol Hanok Village, situated at the foot of Mt. Namsan, consists of a traditional Korean garden and five traditional hanok, or traditional Korean houses. Visitors can also check out some Korean crafts, folk games and performances. On Saturday there’s a traditional Korean wedding performance. The village can be accessed via Chungmuro Station (lines No. 3 and 4).
N Seoul Tower, widely known as Namsan Tower, is the highest point in Seoul, offering grand views of the city. There’s also a digital observatory, restaurants and gift shops. Those who wish to visit can either walk up the mountain or take a cable car, which can be accessed from Myeongdong Station (exit 3).
For those who want to get tourist and cultural information about Myeondong area, the Seoul Global Culture & Tourism Center(http://seoultourism.kr/2011/eng), located on the fifth floor of the M Plaza building in the middle of Myeongdong, offers a whole host of tourism information in Korean, English, Chinese and Japanese.
The center can be reached at (82-2) 3789-7961~3.
To access the area by subway, get off at either Euljiro 1(il)-ga station (line No. 2) or Myeongdong station(line No. 4).