As part of our trip to Incheon’s Chinatown, we decided to have a look at the Korean-Chinese Cultural Center, not so much because we hadn’t any clue about Chinese culture, but we wanted to see how it adapted and evolved in Korea.
The Korean-Chinese Cultural Center was built by the Jung-gu District of Incheon to facilitate mutual understanding between Korea and China by learning more on each other’s culture, history, economy and society. Diverse performances are available, along with special exhibitions, Chinese cultural lecture, Chinese cultural experience corner, reading room on Korean-Chinese history & culture are put in place for visitors to enjoy while learning. In addition, on the weekends, Chinese language classes for Koreans, Korean language classes for Chinese, free moving screenings, and other variety of exhibits are also available.Korea Tourism Organization
According to the KTO website, this is a place where both Koreans and Chinese come together to interact and learn more about one another’s culture – a great initiative move to promote mutual understanding and respect.
The building itself seems to have taken inspiration from both Chinese and Korean architecture, and is easily noticed from afar.
The place was empty on the day that we went – understandably so, considering that it was a weekday afternoon. If I recall correctly, there was only one other local family there (a mother with kids), and that was about it. The place should be more lively when there are activities going on (presumably weekends, or school trips), or when there are important foreign guests.
The floor plan of the center is as follows:
Main Building (Korea and China Cultural Hall)
[B1F] Language Lecture Room
[1F] Information Desk, Planned Exhibition Room, Management Office, Etc
[2F] Korean-Chinese Cultural Exhibition Hall, Culture Lecture Room
[3F] Friendship City Promotion Hall, Chinese-dress Experience Hall
[4F] Performance Hall
Annex (Overseas Chinese History Hall)
[1F] Office Room, Planned Exhibition Hall, Chromakey Studio
[2F] Overseas Chinese History Hall, Video Room
Naturally, you’ll find a lot of display pieces here that are related to Chinese culture, specifically China.
In the main building, you will find exhibitions featuring artefacts and guides to Chinese culture, and an in-depth feature on each geographical part of China. Very interesting and definitely worth spending time looking at, although I do have to say that it helps if you can read and understand Chinese, because the English explanation is slightly lacking.
Did you know that China actually comprises 56 ethnic groups? Among them Han Chinese (which are the largest Chinese ethnic group) account for a whooping 91.59%. One other notable group is the Chaoxian group, whose ancestors were, in fact, immigrants from the Korean Peninsula.
Of course, you can’t miss out on introducing Chinese food, which are well-loved in Korea. Although Chinese food in Korea is not quite the same as that found in China nowadays, you still can draw similarities between the two.
In the annex building, you will find more about overseas Chinese living in Korea.
It’s not a very big place, so a visit here will take you about two hours max.
Strangely enough, I find that many locals enjoy visiting Chinatown and learning about Chinese culture. Frankly, I don’t really know if they are just there for the Chinese food (who can resist, really), or if they are Korean-Chinese/Chinese who can speak Korean – the possibilities are endless, but even as a Singaporean Chinese myself, I find it quite comforting, if that’s the right word.
If you are from another race, don’t speak Chinese, or don’t even know a single thing about Chinese culture, I definitely recommend that you make a trip here, especially if you have young kids! It’s an eyeopening look into a population that is hard to ignore: they actually account for 51.6 percent of all foreigners in Korea! It also helps that the place is very quiet, so you can really concentrate on reading and looking at the exhibits.
Adults (ages 19 or older): 1,000 won
Teenagers (ages 13-18): 700 won
Children (ages 7-12): 500 won
Groups (20 people or more) Teenagers: 500 won
Children: 400 won
* Last admission is 30 minutes before closing.
Address: 238, Jemullyang-ro, Jung-gu, Incheon
Incheon Station (Seoul Subway Line 1). *Walk for about 5 minutes.
– Take Bus No. 5, 15 or 28 and get off at ‘In front of Jung-gu Office’ Bus Stop.
– Take Bus No. 2, 5, 23, 28, 45 or 306 and get off at ‘Incheon Station’ Bus Stop.
*From Incheon Station, cross the pedestrian crossing and turn right, towards Jung-gu Office direction. Walk for about 5 minutes to arrive to see Jung-bu Police Station. The Korean-Chinese Cultural Center is found on the opposite side.