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Jukbyeon Cape

Gyeongbuk Bike Path
Learn about the Jukbyeon Cape, a mountainous bit of land jutting into the East Sea.

Jukbyeon Cape (Jukbyeongot; 죽변곶; map) hangs at the east end of Jukbyeon Port. Topped by a 38-meter hill, residents also refer to the area as Yongchu Cape (용추곶), or “Dragon Cape,” because it’s shaped like a dragon’s tail.

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The cape has been a strategic military position since ancient times. Along Korea’s straight eastern coast, it sticks out far into the East Sea, second only to Pohang’s Homigot.

Kingdoms and countries have take advantage of this natural formation throughout history: 

  • The Silla Dynasty (57 BCE ~ 935 CE) built a castle on the cape to protect against Japanese pirates.
  • The Joseon Dynasty kept a beacon tower (죽변곶 봉수대; map) on the cape to signal against invaders.
  • Japan constructed a watchtower on Jukbyeon Cape during the Russo-Japanese War (1904 ~ 1905).

Jukbyeon Lighthouse

In 1910, Japan erected Jukbyeon Lighthouse (죽변등대; map) on Jukbyeon Cape’s highest point. Designed by a French architect, the white, octagonal tower rises four-stories or 16 meters.

When the sun sets, Jukbyeon Lighthouse’s lantern emits a burst of light every 20 seconds, which reaches 37 kilometers out into the East Sea. 

Jukbyeon Lighthouse’s specific intervals distinguish it from nearby lighthouses in Hupo (10 seconds) and Homigot (12 seconds). Fishers returning to port at night can quickly determine if they’re sailing into the correct port by counting the time between bursts.

Jukbyeon Lighthouse is the only staffed lighthouse in Uljin and Yeongdeok Counties. To signal nearby ships in the day or harsh weather, its keeper can string up colorful daytime signal flags, blow a fog horn, or send pings through its radio tower.

Here are a few more interesting Jukbyeon Lighthouse facts:

  • In 1950, a warship shelling the area exploded the top half of Jukbyeon Lighthouse. Workers repaired the lighthouse a year later.
  • North Gyeongsang Province designed the lighthouse a cultural monument in 2005. 
  • The lighthouse sits in Jukbyeon Lighthouse Park (죽변등대공원; map), where you can find a 1911 nautical chart and the Happy Sea sculpture (행복한 바다).
  • The lighthouse is open year-round from 9 AM to 6 PM. Its keeper sometimes allows visitors to climb its spiral staircase to view Jukbyeon Port from its upper platform.
  • Jukbyeon Lighthouse is one stamp on Korea’s Lighthouse Stamp Tour.

Bamboo’s the Name

Jukbyeon Port’s namesake blankets the Jukbyeon Cape: bamboo or “jūk” (죽) in Korean.

Bamboo grows naturally on the cape. But the woody shoots aren’t like inland bamboo. Harsh sea air altered its evolution, limiting the bamboos’ growth to 3 meters tall and one finger-width thick.

But this hardy bamboo grows dense. In ancient times, archers turned the steeled bamboo into arrows and to hurl at incoming pirates.

Today, visitors can hike “Dragon’s Dream Path” (용의 꿈길; map) through a forest made up of Jukbyeon’s famed bamboo. The walk features viewing decks and stairs leading down to the rocky coast.

Into the Storm Set

The Into the Storm Set (폭풍속으로 세트장; map), also known as the “Fisherman’s House” (어부의 집), is a two-story house on a sheer cliff overlooking the East Sea on Jukbyeon Cape.

As its name implies, the house was the shooting location for the K-drama Into the Storm (폭풍 속으로), which ran from 2003 to 2004. The story depicted the struggles of two fisherman’s sons and a mysterious woman who comes into their lives.

Uljin County demolished the original set, which was built for the temporary shoot, and replaced it with a permanent structure. Tourists can now snap pics of the house’s orange roof set against the emerald sea. Or they can step inside between 9 AM and 6 PM year-round and pretend they’re entangled in a love triangle.

Heart Beach

Stand on the cliff next to the Into the Storm Set. Gaze down at “Heart Beach” (하트 해변).

Why the name “heart beach?”

Trace the beach’s shoreline: two curving bends meet to form a widow’s peak: the top of a heart shape. Rocks and reefs poke out from crystal waves: a heart’s bottom V.

The beach has become a mecca in Jukbyeon for social media posters. A recent popular opinion: love will bind couples that stroll its shore.

Jukbyeon Coast Skyrail

Again, stand on the cliff next to the Into the Storm Set. Look down at “Heart Beach.” Notice the monorail track skimming over it.

That’s Jukbyeon Coast Skyrail (죽변해안스카이레일; map).

Opened in 2017, the driverless monorail travels 2.8 kilometers from the east end of Jukbyeon Port. It wraps around the outside of Jukbyeon Cape, pauses at Bongsu Port (봉수항; map), then lands further up the coast on Hujeong Beach (후정해수욕장; map).

A one-way trip lasts 40 minutes and passes four of Jukbyeon Port highlights:

Passengers can buy tickets to the Jukbyeon Coast Skyrail at either the Jukbyeon Port or Hujeong Beach stations. The monorail gets busy, however. Peak season, waiting times last for hours. Advance registration is available (for those living in Korea).

  • Weekdays: 9:30 AM ~ 6 PM
  • Weekends & Holidays: 9 AM ~ 6:30 PM