Before coming to Korea, I was looking forward to seeing much more of the country’s history. I’m always up for exploring old palaces and castles, it’s one of my favourite things to do while travelling. Since I moved to Korea, I knew I wanted to discover the country’s historical places. However, I didn’t really know any and had to find out where I should go. I was told about a castle called “Jinjuseong” and I became curious.
What is Jinjuseong Fortress?
I had never heard of this place before I was told about it. However, this fortress has a notable significance in Korean history. It’s been destroyed and rebuilt over hundreds years. It was used by both the Goryeo and Joseon dynasty. Furthermore, it played a crucial role when Japan went to war with Korea in 1592. The Korean army was successfully able to hold off a Japanese siege despite being outnumbered.
How to get to Jinjuseong Fortress?
It’s possible to visit this place as a day trip from Busan, or in my case Changwon. It’s important to know how to get there as it can be easy to get lost. I took the train, however the station is nowhere near the centre of the city. The train ride is only 36 minutes from Changwon. Once you arrive, you have to get the 131 bus over and you’ll be there in about just over 20 minutes.
The station itself is also a really memorable building and it has a station of this unusual looking animal for some reason. Keep in mind, it’s also possible to get to Jinju by bus. It might take a bit longer, but it’s much more straightforward. This is because there’s a bus station which is a 5 minute walk from Jinjuseong.
How Much Does it Cost to Enter Jinjuseong Fortress?
In order to enter the fortress itself, it only costs 2000 won or about £1.30. I think this is a fair price and you don’t really have to pay for anything else. This means that visiting this place is very affordable and ideal for backpackers on a budget.
Once you enter the fortress, you’ll be greeted by this fancy looking structure. If you want to take the stairs to go in, you have to take your shoes off which is very much the done thing in this country. Once you’re up there, you can appreciate how intricately decorated this place is. Moreover, you can also get fantastic views of the Namgang River. You can only imagine how hundreds of years ago, epic battles took place here.
The Shrine to Nongae
Right next to the pavilion is a shrine dedicated to Nongae. According to legend, Nongae was a Korean woman who sacrificed herself to assassinate a Japanese general in 1593. It was interesting to read about this story and seems like a more bizarre historical anecdote.
Walking Around the Fortress
Unfortunately, it seemed like some parts of the fortress were off limits for some reason the day I visited. However I walked by the walls of the fortress and saw what looked like cannons. During the Japanese invasion, the Joseon army used these cannons known as Chongtongs.
The Jinju National Museum
Located inside of the fortress is this museum which explains the historical significance of the fortress. As you’ve already paid to go inside the fortress, visiting this place is completely free.
If you’re interested in the history of the wars between Japan and Korea, you’ll definitely be interested in looking around this museum. As mentioned before, this fortress played a crucial rule in the war between Japan and Korea in 1592 known as the Imjin War. This was at a time when European traders started to sail across the world and sold guns to both Japan and Korea.
The Gates of the Fortress
In order to enter and exit the fortress, you pass through the gates. These structures look amazing and are the best spots for a picture while visiting the fortress. Unfortunately, you can’t go inside them which is understandable.
Once it gets dark, the fortress also lights up which makes it look much more atmospheric. However, it started to rain, so I headed over to the bus station and went back to Changwon.
Is Jinjuseong Worth Visiting?
This place is definitely worth visiting, especially if you’re interested in the history of Korea. Before moving to Changwon, my knowledge of Korean history was limited mostly to the Korean War. Visiting Jinjuseong has given me an insight into the war between Japan and Korea back in 1592. If you’re staying in Busan and want to make the trip, it’s worth it just make sure you know how to get there.