Korean East Coast Bicycle Route icon.

Jukseoru Pavilion

Gangwon Bike Path

Jukseoru Pavilion (죽서루; map) is an 800-year-old pavilion built on a cliff overlooking the Osipch Stream (오십천; map) near downtown Samcheok City. This architectural marvel, dating back to the Goryeo Dynasty, is celebrated as the best of “Gwandong’s Eight Scenic Views.”

The logo for Naver Maps.
Map

History

Jukseoru Pavilion, named after a nearby bamboo forest (“Juk” means bamboo), was originally part of the Jinjugwan complex, one of three guest houses operated by Samcheok’s local government. Jinjugwan sat within a walled area separate from Samcheok’s ancient fortress.

The precise founding date of the pavilion is uncertain. However, a poem from the reign of King Myeongjong (1170 ~ 1197) suggests it was constructed around the time of the Goryeo Dynasty (918 ~ 1392).

During the Joseon Dynasty (1392 ~ 1897), the pavilion underwent 25 expansions and restorations by local governors, who refurbished its eastern section and planted thousands of bamboo shoots to revive the dying forest.

Plaques and engravings from historical figures, including King Sukjong and King Jeongjo, adorn Jukseoru. Its scenic beauty has inspired many artists and poets, with famed landscape painters like Jeong Seon, Kim Hong-do, and Gang Se-hwang featuring the pavilion in their works.

Eight Scenic Views

Jukseoru Pavilion is celebrated as one of the “Gwandong Eight Scenic Views,” a title given to the most picturesque landmarks within Gangwon State’s coastal region. Its unique position on a steep cliff offers views of the surrounding mountains.

Jukseoru is also the only site among the “Eight Scenic Views” that rests along a stream or river. The Osip Stream, which winds through Gangwon State’s inland mountains before reaching the East Sea, sculpted the high cliff on which Jukseoru Pavilion sits.

Eight Scenic Spots in Gwandong

After the Silla Dynasty (신라; 57 BCE ~ 935 CE) unified the Korean peninsula, four legendary Hwarang (화랑; elite warriors) — Yeongrang, Sullang, Namrang, and Ansang — set off to explore Korea.

As they traveled through Yeongdong (영동) — the coast of Gangwon Province — they wrote of Eight Scenic Spots in Gwandong (관동팔경). Listed north to south, they are:

  1. Chongseok Pavilion (Chongseokjeong; 총석정; map) — a pavilion built on stone pillars overlooking the East Sea in North Korea.
  2. Samilpo Lake (삼일포; map) — a lagoon that was once a lake beside the sea in North Korea.
  3. Cheonggan Pavilion (Cheongganjeong; 청간정; map) — a coast pavilion in Goseong County.
  4. Naksan Temple (Naksansa; 낙산사; map) — a 1,500-year-old temple and historic treasure along the coast in Yangyang County.
  5. Gyeongpo Grand Pavilion (Gyeongpodae; 경포대; map) — a 700-year-old pavilion on a coastal lake in Gangneung City.
  6. Jukseoru Pavilion (죽서루; map) — an 800-year-old pavilion built on a riverside boulder in Samcheok City.
  7. Mangyang Pavilion (망양정; map) — a 700-year-old pavilion on a hill with a panoramic view of the East Sea in Uljin County.
  8. Wolsong Pavilion (Wolsongjeong; 월송정; map) — a 700-year-old pavilion in a pine forest overlooking the East Sea in Uljin County.

Natural Harmony

​​Jukseoru Pavilion exemplifies Korean architecture’s principles of “harmony with nature.” It resembles a crane with its wings spread. Holding up the pavilion’s main floor, 22 pillars of varying lengths rise from the stony clifftop ground, embodying the Korean architectural ethos of adapting to the natural environment.

Originally featuring only five bays (the open space between pillars), later renovations added one bay to each side, eliminating the need for typical pavilion staircases that rise from below through a hole in the pavilion floor. Additionally, Jukseoru deviates from normal pavilion symmetry to accommodate the geography, with its ends featuring a different number of bays—two on the north and three on the south.

Scenery

Designers created Jukseoru Pavilion’s bays to be “living paintings,” creating a series of continuous scenes akin to a seven-panel folding screen. This approach, known as “borrowed scenery,” transforms the surrounding landscape into a panoramic artwork.

The most breathtaking view from Jukseoru is arguably the western panorama at dusk when the setting sun over Mount Dutasan bathes the pavilion in golden light, casting long shadows through its pillars and enveloping the interior in a warm, reddish glow.