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Sunday, July 23, 2017

Seoul Citizen's Forest in Yangjae, Seoul, South Korea

If you're looking for a park that's not overly crowded and one that's not where every Korean goes, I have one recommendation for you: Seoul Citizen's Forest in Yangjae. It was created in 1986 just before the 1986 Asian Games and 1988 Summer Olympics.

I came here in May of this year when the weather was still a bit cold, so it wasn't as green as it normally would be between the end of the spring and middle of the summer. However, I still enjoyed it because it was nice and quiet. During the summer, the stream that runs parallel to the park (see picture below) has grass along the hillsides. But as you see from the pictures, notice few people were there when it was bit cold, so it was great!

And if you take a closer look, you can see South Korea's national flag in the distance, which gave the picture more character.

The park itself has various walking trails including the main 4.8km walking course. It also has 43 species of trees including pine and maple trees. It truly does feel like you're in the mountains when you're strolling through some parts of the park and see maple leaves scattered all over the grass.

These trails were made for jogging and biking as you can see....

One famous person is memorialized here: Yun Bong-gil. According to Wikipedia, on April 29, 1932, Yun Bong-gil brought a hand grenade disguised as a water bottle to Shanghai's Hongkew Park where a celebration for Japanese Emperor Hirohito was being held. He threw it, killed Yoshinori Shirakawa and the government minister for Shanghai's residents, Kawabata Sadaji.  He seriously injured Lieutenant General Kenkichi Ueda, the commander of the 9th Division of the Japanese Imperial Army and the Japanese Envoy in Shanghai Mamoru Shigemitsu, who both lost a leg. Yun tried to kill himself with a bomb in a bento box, but was arrested before he had the chance. He was found guilty by a Shanghai military court on May 25, was transferred to Osaka prison on November 18, and was moved to Kanazawa, Ishikawa. Yun was executed by a firing squad on December 19 and then buried at Nodayama cemetery in Kanazawa. President of the then Chinese Republic Chiang Kai Shek praised his actions by saying "A Young Korean patriot accomplished something tens of thousands of Chinese could not." Future president Syngman Rhee disapproved of this and Kim Koo's strategy of assassinations as a way of gaining independence. He felt that the Japanese could use those attacks to justify their oppression of Korea.

Yun Bong-Gil Memorial
Yun Bong-Gil Memorial
The trails lead to Yangjae Stream on the other side of the park. From there, you can walk all the way to Gangnam on the 15.6 km path. Here are a few pictures of Yangjae Stream (Yangjaecheon). For more information on Yangaecheon, you can go here.

Yangjae Stream (Yangjaecheon)

Yangjae Stream (Yangjaecheon)

There is only one disadvantage of this park. If you're looking for a restaurant near it, you won't find one. After my friends and I came out of the park, to find a restaurant, we found one pub, and a few businesses, but no real restaurants. We had to take the bus back to Gangnam Station to eat. You can either have a picnic here, eat before you get to the park, or just go to another area to eat after you leave the park.

Getting there:

1. You can take the subway by going to Yangjae Station on Line 3 and come out of Exit 7.
2. You can take the bus: Seocho 8, 8201, M6405, 3200, or Seocho 20 and get off at the Citizen Park bus stop (시민의숲).

Scott Worden (The L.A./Seoul Guy)
Instagram: laseoulguy
Twitter: laseoulguy

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