If you think Jukseong Church (죽성성당) is so picturesque that it must be in a movie, you are almost correct. It was indeed built for a Korean drama, ‘Dream.’
30-36 Jukseong-ri, Gijang-eup, Gijang-gun, Busan, South Korea
Donghae Line, Gijang station (기장/K123), Exit 1 > walk to Gijang Catholic Church (기장성당) bus stop about 450 m (1500 feet) > Transfer to Bus: Gijang-gun 6 > Off at Jukseong Dream setjang (죽성드림세트장) bus stop
Parking lot available nearby
Call: +82-1330 (Korea Travel Hotline by Korea Tourism Organization – KTO)
(Information in this post is based on a visit in 2020, Oct.)
Jukseong Church (죽성성당)
Jukseong Church (죽성성당), or Jukseong Dream Open Set is so photogenic that it has been beloved by both local photographers and visitors. Don’t get confused. The church is not a real one where you can attend worship on Sunday.
Gijang Jukseong Church was built and used for a Korean drama, ‘Dream (2009)’. After filming, Gijang-gun decided to keep this Kdrama set because the place had been loved by locals and visitors. The building holds occasional small exhibitions by local artists. You can watch the TV drama here for free (as of 2020. Nov. / no subtitles). Click here to see more information about the Kdrama ‘Dream’.
‘Dream’ is not the only TV drama filmed in Gijang area. Gijang-gun, Busan, has attracted many film makers thanks to a strong local mood, lively fishing villages, and, of course, beautiful coast of East Sea (동해). The local administration promotes the area as a filming location in many ways (like using a concrete tetrapod in the picture below).
The list of movies filmed in this area include Ode To My Father (국제시장), The Attorney (변호인), Inside Men (내부자들), The Sheriff in Town (보안관), My Brother (우리형), Friend (친구), Kundo: Age of the Rampant (군도: 민란의 시대) and more.
Gijang-gun has many areas with spectacular coastal sceneries, and this should be one of the best spots. The breathtaking view of horizon from Jukseong Church to Jukseong Breakwater would help you let go of your worries and feel so refreshed.
Jukseong Port (죽성항)
Within a short walking distance from Jukseong Church, you can find Jukseong Port and Jukseong Breakwater. I don’t know a thing about fishing (although I’m a voracious seafood eater), but it seems like this area is the spot for fishermen. When I visited, quite a lot of people were casting fishing lines.
The view of Jukseong Church from the breakwater gives another wow moment (the very first of picture of this post). With this view, I wouldn’t mind if I don’t catch any fish although the fishermen wouldn’t agree with me.
On the way to Jukseong Breakwater, you see Hwanghakdae (황학대), where Yun Seondo (윤선도) came and write poems while he spent 6 years in Gijang.
Gosan Yun Seondo from Joseon Dynasty is one of the grand masters of Korean sijo, which is a Korean traditional poetic form. He was banished to Gijang because he challenged and criticized those in power. Hwanghak means ‘yellow crane’ and it got its name because the place looked like a yellow crane spreading its wings.
Gijangri Jukseong Haesong (Black Pine / 기장리 죽성 해송)
On the opposite side of Jukseong Church, you can see an old tall black pine over Duho Village (두호마을), Gijang Jukseongri Haesong (기장 죽성리 해송/black pine).
The black pine seems like one big tree, but they are actually five black pines grew in a group. The trees are about 250 to 300 years old. The tree is within a short walk from Jukseong Church, but if you are in hurry, this doesn’t have to be on top of your list.
Trail along Jukseong-ri
Jukseong-ri is (죽성리) a small coastal town where you can fish, walk on a trail along the wide open ocean, appreciate historical stories about the town, enjoy seafood, or simply sit and breath in the peace brought by the ocean wind.
The coastal trail along the East Sea (동해) is easy to walk and well managed. There are several spots along the trail where you can have a sit and lose the sense of time. My favorite spot is the steps facing to the ocean where you can absorb calm and yet energetic vibe from the ocean while sipping a cup of good java.
There is a group of pojangmacha (포장마차/tent-style street stall) near Jukseong Church. You can have hoe (회/raw fish), jeonbokjuk (전복죽/abalone rice porridge), jogaegui (조개구이/grilled clams), and more.
Gijang Woljeon Seafood Market (기장월전 활어판매장)
Gijang Woljeon Seafood Market is located at the end of the trail, the opposite side of Jukseong Breakwater. They have two sections: seafood shops where you order and restaurants where they bring what you order and eat (or cook) them at some extra fees. You may feel some sellers are a bit aggressive, but no worries. You just do what you need to do nonchalantly. They do no harm.