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Traditional Gems at Seomun Market

It is common for foreigners to think they need to wander up to Seoul in places like Insadong or Itaewon to find Korean gift items. But this, as it turns out, is unnecessary as there are a handful of quality Korean gift shops located right here at the market. These shops, generally located indoors, offer items that are very difficult to come by in other areas of the city. Things like traditional fans, wood carvings, wooden masks, statues, beautiful handmade chopsticks, mother-of-pearl jewelry chests (Najeonchirgi), handbags, as well as the standard key chains and postcards.


Finding this shop can be difficult, but thanks to a new numbering system, it as simple as asking for kimchi in a Korean restaurant.  The quaint stall named ‘대동사’, number 907 is located in the second main building just after the tiny Angel-in-Us coffee shop.



This is a stall comprised completely of traditional (not one PSY image to be seen), mostly handmade, Korean souvenirs. While browsing I noticed for sale, among other things, pens, chopstick sets, beautiful handheld mirror sets, Taekwondo figures, beer mats, cool coin sets, fans; and the usual keyrings, magnets, socks etc. What stood out as a really great gift for moms or sisters were these beautiful jewellery boxes decorated with stained cut glass designs, and the numerous rainbow- colored purses and clutches. For dads, there were really interesting framed paintings, and some traditional ‘Hahoe’ masks, which ive been told are now used as symbols of good luck!

Finding this hidden treasure is a bit of a hunt, but here my best efforts at detailed directions!


Take the bus to Keimyung University Hospital, walk through the market entrance directly across from the hospital itself, walk until you pass the ‘Angel in Us’ until you see small orange signs with 4지 구 on them, go down that side street and you should see a big blue sign reading ‘4지 구종 합 상 가’. The stall is indoors on the left hand side of this street under a door with a sign reading ‘Elizabeth Canival’, once inside just look for stall 907. Easy!


If you take the take the subway you will end up at the main entrance, just follow all the small colored signs with numbers on until you locate the 4’s. From there you just look for the blue sign, as described above, and you will see the entrance door! It takes a little bit of searching but I do think it’s worth it, especially because all the trinkets (magnets, pens) all ranged from ₩2,000 – 5,000, while the larger items like purses and pictures varied from ₩25,000 – 70,000; all were light enough not to cost too much in postage fare too!


Contact details for 대동사 are 010-4756-0333 or 010-4758-0333.


Written and photographed by Jen O Grady and Erik Liimatta