Exploring unique reading spaces
while feeling the autumn breeze
Jeonju is mainly known for its traditional Korean culture, Bibimbap, Hanok village, and Hanbok experience,
but in fact, it is also a fairly famous ‘city of books’. Since the “2017 Korea Reading Festival” was held in Jeonju,
Jeonju city has declared “Jeonju, the city of reading,” and has been holding the “Jeonju Reading Festival” every fall.
This year, the ‘2022 Jeonju Reading Festival’ (September 30-October 2, 2022) will be held for three days,
centering on the Jeonju Hanbyeok Culture Center and the Jeonju Hyanggyo area.
In Jeonju, there are many private bookstores, neighborhood bookstores, village libraries, and book cafes
with a good space for reading and a unique atmosphere, befitting the name 'City of Books'.
Some bookstores have created networks to hold interesting events such as the ‘Neighborhood Bookstore Literary Award’,
and public libraries with various themes and specialized fields are being opened all over the city.
These unique and innovative spaces attract book lovers and book travelers from all over the country to Jeonju.
Now is the season for reading. Let’s visit the exotic and unique reading spaces in Jeonju
that lead ‘Jeonju, the city of reading’ into a new urban culture trend.
The heavy body will become light, and the poor heart will grow plump.
A cozy resting place in the heart of the Hanok VillageBooks save people, spirits and times [Salim Bookstore]
At the southern end of the Hanok Village, the heart of Jeonju’s cultural tourism, when you cross the Namcheongyo Bridge where Cheongyeonru stands in the wind, and turn toward Jeonju Hyanggyo, you will see a small and cute Hanok bookstore in your left eye. [Salim Bookstore] is a neighborhood bookstore that looks simple from the outside, but once you enter, you will be captivated by the neatly arranged books and pictures, cute props, and the warm and classic interior resembling nature. It is a pretty space where you will want to read each book slowly. For some reason, all the books here seem to have meaning to me, and they make me feel comfortable enough to think, 'I want to live in a space like this'. I am envious and grateful for the sense and hard work of the bookkeeper who created such a wonderful space.
[Salim Bookstore] is a bookstore opened in 2017 by Hong Seung-hyeon, a bookkeeper who had been exploring the country in the hope of opening a bookstore after settling in Jeonju. Previously, he opened a bookstore and gathering space in Deokjin-dong, but moved to Hanok Village last summer due to the redevelopment of the village. The bookkeeper started the bookstore because he wanted to help save people, the neighborhood, and the region, and that's why he named it 'Salim'.
The bookstore mainly deals with humanities books, art books, and children's books. He redesigns the books of writers who have a relationship with him and exhibits and sells them. It has also created its own brand called ‘Salim Books’ for various collaborations with local writers.
If you go down the narrow stairs behind the bookkeeper's seat, there is a small stationery store in the semi-basement. Cute hand-drawn illustrations, postcards and notebooks engraved with concise sentences to relax the mind, and various props catch the eye. These are props that give you a lot of heartfelt emotions, enough to make you want to bring a large eco bag.
Although it is not a large space, small events such as small book talks and exhibitions by local writers and artists are often held. Thanks to being introduced several times in travel magazines and local media, it is known as a tourist attraction in the Hanok Village and attracts quite a few tourists. Coincidentally, the reading festival held in October will be held at Hanbyeokru and Hyanggyo, near the bookstore, so it would be a good idea for those participating in the event to stop by the bookstore.
On a sunny autumn afternoon, why not stop by the Salim Bookstore and pick up a book you like while walking along the Hanok Village? Even before you open the book, you will feel that your body and mind are healed in the coziness that permeates the bookstore.
- 8-2 Jeonjucheondong-ro, Wansan-gu, Jeonju-si Map View
- Operating hours
- 12:00-18:00 pm (Closed on Tuesdays)
Comprehensive art space embracing art like the villageArt dwells in every fingertip and every step [Seohak Art Village Library]
If you cross the Jeonjucheon Bridge with Jeonju Hanok Village on your back, you will come to Seohak Art Village. This is a cozy and friendly neighborhood with small workshops, galleries, guesthouses, roastery cafes, and bookstores along every nook and cranny. Recently, a splendid complex culture and art space claiming to be an art-specialized library was created here. This is [Seohak Art Village Library], which opened in early June of this year.
This is a village library directly managed by Jeonju City, and after remodeling the building that was a cafe and exhibition center, it has been transformed into a unique place where the library and exhibition hall harmonize. The unique structure of the existing building and the characteristics of the outdoor garden were preserved, and the identity of the art village was fully captured.
Two side-by-side buildings called Paengnamu-dong(the left building with a large hackberry at the entrance) and Damjaengi-dong(the right building covered with ivy) are connected on the second floor. It arouses curiosity and admiration with its quiet exterior, as if it had been relocated from an old painting. Works drawn by actual local artists in the library building are also exhibited inside.
The library is largely composed of an open reading room, thematic bookshelves, an exhibition room, and an outdoor garden. The spaces are arranged according to the four major themes of 'Lighted, dwelled, permeated, and dyed', which means genres such as photography, travel, local art, music, and fine art. The spaces are arranged according to the four major themes of 'light, dwell, permeate, and be dyed', which means genres such as photography, travel, local art, music, and fine art. Each reference room and exhibition space have art books, pop-up books and picture books while there are also various non-book contents such as LPs, CDs, sculptures, photos and paintings.
If you walk slowly along the space, you will find that the works of local artists are properly arranged along the line of sight and circulation. There is also an attic-like leisure space where you can read quietly alone and a creative space for children, so you can feel that a lot of thought and consideration went into the process of creating the space. When I inquired about the person who conceived the space, he said that the planning and composition of the space was done by the village chief, a general artist.
In the gallery on the first floor of the Damjaengi-dong, monthly exhibitions by local artists are being held. In September, artist Lee Hee Chun's solo exhibition 'Summer' is being held, followed by the Jeonju International Photography Exhibition, invitational exhibitions of artists Kwak Seung-ho and Han Sook.
Books at the Seohak Art Village Library are for reading only and cannot be borrowed, so it would be a good idea to set aside enough time during the day to visit and enjoy the luxury of reading, appreciating art works, and enjoying outdoor performances. On a moderately rainy day, if you fall in love with a book while looking at the moist outdoor garden here, you will be happy in the world.
- 12-1 Seohak-ro, Wansan-gu, Jeonju-si Map View
- Operating hours
- 9:00-18:00 (Closed on Mondays and public holidays)
A place with old trees, the smell of literature, and the strong scent of coffeeLiterary Bookstore Kafka
What would a space for someone who loves books, writing, classics and literature look like? [Kafka] is not just an ordinary book cafe that serves both books and drinks. There is a really old and strong 'scent of literature' here.
If you cross Chunggyeong-ro from Gaeknidan-gil around Jeonju Int'l film street, and head south, you will find a quiet old downtown area. Located on the second floor of a shabby building across from Jeollagamyeong, Kafka was said to have been created in 2013. When you enter the entrance, which is obviously made by hand, and slowly climb the stairs, old signboards, flower pots, second-hand books, and props seem to be whispering to you. It's about the past times they've lived.
Opening the cafe door, a nice vintage concept bookshelf fills your eyes. If you move as if possessed, the old wooden floor creaks and creaks whenever you walk. Does the floor want to make its presence known?
[Kafka], a bookstore and café, mainly stocks literary and humanities books such as poetry, novels, and essays, and the books are divided into new books, recommended books, and used books(you can read them comfortably and leave them behind). Like most vintage bookstores, there is also a corner that displays and sells old cassette tapes and CDs.
Gang Seong Hun, a bookkeeper and barista here, is a rising writer himself, writing instructor and local literary activist. He is the creator of the Jeonju Bookstore Network and the Jeonju Neighborhood Bookstore Literary Award. He also made a book by weaving the winning works of the Neighborhood Bookstore Literature Award, which was held twice. It is an activity that started for fun, but it is said that manuscripts from all over the country gather and the number of participants increases every year. Proceeds from the sale of the book are used as prize money for the literary prize.
Kafka's furniture and props are neither shiny new nor complete 'sets'. Perhaps they brought something with a story from somewhere, or the bookkeeper made it by directly tapping and painting waste wood. Here, not only books, but also tables, chairs, lights, and props feel as if they have been gathered here after a long journey. Someone's hand touches left on the object, the traces of the years keep looking into it, and it makes me curious about the story behind it.
If you are a person who responds to old objects, literary sensibilities, vintage and analog, I hope you visit Kafka once. These days, when sophisticated and colorful spaces are lined up, you can feel the affection and romance as if you were traveling through time. It is basic to taste hand-drip coffee with the sincerity of the bookkeeper at the sunny window, and it is worth participating in the book meeting with good people that is often held here.
In Kafka, you can experience reading not just as an act of reading a book, but as an empirical thought that encounters a time and space. It is truly a magical space. “A book should be the ax for the frozen sea within us.” - Kafka -
- 2nd floor, 32, Pungnammun 4-gil, Wansan-gu, Jeonju-si Map View
- Operating hours
- Wed-Sun 12:00-21:00 (Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays)
A healing space full of modern sophisticationAn authentic book cafe by a publisher, [Cheongdong Book Cafe]
I heard rumors that there was a “hot” book cafe in a quiet residential area facing Seogok Park in Hyoja-dong, Jeonju, so I visited it. A lattice-shaped outer wall reminiscent of a window frame or a wooden bookshelf in a modern house, a signboard with an elegant font, and a simple flower bed welcome the eye. For a moment, I look at the outside scene that exudes the sensibility of a girl who likes books.
Upon entering, the lattice-shaped wooden bookshelf you saw outside decorates the entire interior. I feel like I am inside a modern wooden building even though I think it is a device to display 'books' well. The books were arranged so that the covers could be clearly seen, giving the impression of a ‘book exhibition hall’ rather than a bookstore.
This is a bookstore type book cafe directly operated by Cheongdong Book Publishing company. ‘A place making books, communicating through books, and having breath and side where you can hear the voice of books.’ Bronze Book Cafe introduces itself like this. CEO Lee Hyeon Mi, who has been running an independent publishing house in the region for 18 years, opened the book cafe in 2020 to create a space to meet and communicate with readers. As an independent publishing company, on one side of the space, books, goods, and carefully selected stationery made by Cheongdongbook Publishing company are displayed and sold. There are mainly books about education, and there are also picture books and fairy tales for adults. The recommended book curation exhibition with the theme of ‘publisher’ is also unique to this place.
Most of the books in the book cafe are for sale, and are largely divided into new books, recommended books, and used books(can be read without purchasing). There are book reviews, recommendations, and guides from carefully selected by bookkeepers all over the bookshelf, giving a small impression. What is noteworthy is the promotion of books by local writers, and a cup of Americano coffee is provided free of charge when purchasing a book by a local writer in Jeonju or Jeonbuk. The management philosophy of Cheongdong Publishing company is to discover and support promising local writers.
Cheongdong Book Cafe is a good place to heal because of its spacious and cozy interior, and it is already rumored among visitors. Every threshold has been removed so that wheelchairs and strollers can move in and out comfortably, and the entire structure is carefully designed to accommodate events such as music performances and book talks. There is an outdoor terrace outside the large window, so the bamboo garden subtly adds green to the indoor landscape. It is a landscape that makes you feel at ease just by looking at it.
Another special feature of this place is the delicious and pretty drinks and desserts. Drinks are served in a neat outfit that makes you want to take a picture before eating. It is a so-called ‘Insta-worthy restaurant’. CEO Lee Hyeon Mi said, “Of course, if it is a cafe, the drink itself must be competitive.” She said that she always thinks about drinks that people will like and puts effort into developing the menu. I heard that a lot of young customers want to eat it, so I ordered a black sesame latte and tried it. It was sweet and savory, but what is the reason why I can feel the ‘taste of love’ in it?
A book cafe where you can drink tea, read books, and enjoy performances. I think it might be the best hang-out for the locals. Even if it is not a book, it is also recommended as a healing place that is good for occasional bruises. If you are stressed out or tired of your daily life, if you need a quiet time to read a book or tidy yourself up, stop by at least once. The light appearance of bamboo and coffee with the scent of flowers will soothe your mind.
- 1F, 504-7 Senae-ro, Wansan-gu, Jeonju-si Map View
- Operating hours
- Mon-Fri 10:00-21:00
Mon-Fri 10:00-19:00 (December-February during the winter season)
Sat, Sun, holidays 12:00~18:00
Everything about movies, from DVDs to old movie magazinesThe dream library of film enthusiasts, Jeonju Film Library
On the Jeonju International film Street, where the Jeonju International Film Festival is held every year, there is a space dedicated to films by filmmakers for filmmakers. On the second floor of the Jeonju Yeonghwa Hotel, a cafe, library, and museum created in 2015 by a local figure who poured his life into film. 'Jeonju Movie Cafe & Library' is the first private library specializing in films in Korea.
From the moment you step on the stairs, your heart will beat as if you are entering another world. An old projector placed in the doorway catches the eye. This 35mm film projector was made in Japan in the 1970s, and it is said that the nearby 'Cinema Town' theater used it until the mid-2000s(Jeonju Cinema Town is the only local movie theater in Jeonju that survived while multiplex theaters such as CGV and Lotte Cinema occupied the movie street).
Upon entering the space, a tall and wide hall spreads out. It's a good place to have a 'party'. The entrance side is a museum displaying film-related equipment and props. A variety of old cameras, projectors, and sound devices with the year of production are on display, and miniatures of famous movie characters and old movie magazines evoke nostalgia.
The creator of this space is Min Byeong Rok, a filmmaker who served as the executive director of the Jeonju International Film Festival from 2003 to 2012. In 2015, when he donated the movie books and video materials he had collected throughout his life to create a library, other filmmakers in the region also joined in his voluntary move and added valuable materials. Currently, the film library has about 15,000 video materials, including the world's first film 'Arrival of a Train' made in 1895, about 3,400 specialized books, and about 2,000 film-related magazines.
It is awkwardly nice to see magazines that contain the youthful days of top middle-aged and movie giants who are gaining global popularity today. First edition videotapes and DVDs of classic Japanese animations and classic movies, old posters... Although they do not reflect the latest trends, it is a truly precious space with highly collectible materials. It is a paradise for those who love the history and genre of film itself, for cinema kids who have grown up dreaming of becoming filmmakers, and for those who are nostalgic for the past.
Unfortunately, the Film Library has been temporarily closed to general visitors since the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, it is said that only movie hotel users can use it as an auxiliary facility, so those who plan to visit Jeonju should refer to it.
- 2F, Jeonju Younghwa Hotel, 28-27, Jeonjugaeksa 2-gil, Wansan-gu, Jeonju-si Map View
- Operating hours
- Available when staying at a movie hotel