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Hupo Port

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Learn about Hupo Port, a vital economic engine in Uljin County.

Hupo Port (후포항; map; aerial view) is Uljin’s largest port and one of its most revenue generating settlements. Sitting on the county’s southern border near Yeongdeok, the port is home to:

  • Over 170 fishing boats.
  • A distribution center that sends locally caught seafood throughout the country.
  • A cargo port that transports goods, like limestone mined from nearby hills.
  • Bustling fish markets and seafood restaurants.
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Hupo Port Fish Market

Peak season, between November and April, tourists flock to Hupo Port for its fresh seafood. Snow crabs, octopuses, squid, sea snails, flounder, cod, mackerel. Hupo Port’s main attraction. 

Throughout the year, Hupo Port’s restaurants and seafood markets buzz with fishers, distributors, and gawkers, looking to buy, sell, or eat the sea’s bounty.

The Auction

Three in the morning. Hupo’s fishing boats swing around the port’s breakwater and set sail for Wangdolcho (왕돌초), a reef 27 kilometers (17 mi) off the coast. There they toss nets, set box traps, and pull snow crabs, fish, crustaceans, and more from the East Sea’s depths.

When they return to port in the afternoon, they offload their catch at the Hupo Port Fish Market (후포어시장회도매센터; map), where it’s stored in bubbly fish bins.

The next morning at 8:30 AM, a swarm of workers lay out snow crabs belly up on the market’s cement floor.

A siren blares and the auction begins. The auctioneer bellows bids through a loudspeaker. Purchasers fling snow crabs and live fish into water tank trucks and motor off to local restaurants and beyond.

All is over in an hour. Fishers celebrate with shots of soju before untangling nets and prepping the next day.

Markets & Restaurants

Hupo’s auctions cater towards restaurants and resellers. But average folk can drop by the port’s fish markets or restaurants to dine on fresh caught hoe (회; sashimi) or steamed snow crab.

  • Hupo Port Fish Market (후포어시장회도매센터; map) sits in Hanmaeum Square (한마음광장; map). Visitors drop by, pick and purchase a fish or crab, then visit one of the many restaurants that surround it.
  • Hupo Fisheries Cooperative Distribution Center (후포수협수산물유통센터; map) is a three-story building shaped like a passenger ship on the port’s east end. It hosts a seafood market where patrons can choose a sea creature, then have one of the seven restaurants on the building’s 1st and 2nd floors prepare and serve it to their tables.

Uljin Snow Crab Festival

Like Ganggu Port in Yeongdeok, the port’s star catch isn’t fish. It’s snow crabs. 

To promote these meat-stuffed critters, each year the county holds the Uljin Snow Crab Festival (울진대게와 붉은대게축제) at Hupo Port. The three-day takes place between March and April, when snow crabs reach their peak weight.

Festivities take place around Hanmaeum Square (map) and the Hupo Fisheries Distribution Center (map). Events include an opening ceremony, singing contest, bare-handed fish catching, rope pulling contest, and a special cruise to Ulleung Island (Ulleungdo; 울릉도; map), 120 kilometers (75 mi) off the coast.

Other Hupo Port Highlights

  • Hupo Beach (후포해수욕장; map) hangs just below the port’s breakwater. In summer, its sands and shady pines host crowds of beachgoers.
  • Hupo Port Breakwater (후포방파제; map) is the largest breakwater on Korea’s east coast. It extends 1.3 kilometers from the Hupo Port’s east end. Besides protecting boats from choppy waves, the breakwater provides a perch for anglers to cast their lines and catch sea bream and mackerel.
  • Hupo Passenger Terminal (후포여객선터미널; map) hangs on the east side of Hupo Port, below Deunggi Mountain. It sends ferries once or twice a day to Ulleungdo Island.
  • Uljin Snow Crab Promotional Exhibition Hall (울진대게홍보전시관; map) sits on the second floor of the Hupo Passenger Terminal. Consisting of six sections, the hall provides a history of snow crabs in Uljin, from dioramas, info about snow crab species, and more.