Getting there

Jaman Mural Village is a 10 minute walk from Jeonju Hanok Village. We followed the tourist boards and walked along the main road. Alternatively, there’s a overhead bridge that connects Omokdae with Imokdae and Jaman Mural Village.

Imokdae

The village is built on a steep hill with winding turns. It’s hard to miss Imokdae’s colourful pavilion tucked in a green corner.

First Look

There aren’t any boards at this point and the route to follow is the one with painted walls. The murals might not impress at first glance, but they do get better as you walk deeper and climb higher.

Trinket Shops & Cafes

Cafes are a constant feature of this mural village. Each has its own theme and decor. Some shops also sell trinkets and souvenirs of popular dramas and cartoons. We found a small restaurant selling Jeonju’s delicacies. It was the only restaurant selling a meal in the village.

Figuring out the Maze

The narrow alleys of the village twist and turn around brightly coloured houses. It’s a maze that leads into interesting corners and murals. Getting lost (not that you really can) is highly recommended here.

Love Actually

Mural villages, like these, are hotspots for young couples — Korean or foreign. Surprisingly, there weren’t many couples on the day of our visit. The lanes were deserted and we’d rarely come across another traveller.

Blue Rooftops

The old rooftops of most refurbished villages are coloured in bright paints. This village had more blue rooftops than other colours of the spectrum. The rooftop was in contrast to the overcast sky. It’s best to keep a low voice when you walk along these quiet lanes. Many houses are still occupied by locals who like to maintain their privacy and quiet.

Cafes

The density of cafes keeps increasing as you climb higher. Some of them double as guest houses. Although, I can’t imagine climbing these narrow alleys with luggage. Most tourists (in this part of the world) have mastered the art of packing light and travelling with their rolling suitcase.

Art Attack

Further Up

Staircases connect narrow alleys to the higher parts of the village. Some paths end in ruin and broken stairs. Once again, the painted murals act like markers to what’s ahead.

Cuteness Overload

I’ve always liked street art and graffiti. But, in Korea, the illustrations can get too cute for me. During my early days here, I’d find it hard to appreciate or even enjoy the cuteness around me. Three years later, I’m a changed person. I find comfort in the escapism offered by these mural villages. Perhaps, it’s a way to look on the bright side of life.

Comic Strip

We had reached the end of the mural village. This comic strip mural was quite impressive and was bang opposite the highest cafe in the village.

Cafe With the View

It was a hot afternoon and very few had made it here. We had to wait for a couple of minutes before a person came to the counter. I still had my cappuccino (from the earlier cafe) and had to put it aside. We ordered two litchi drinks with ice and enjoyed them with the warm afternoon breeze.

The View

This point has a phenomenal view of the village and other tourist sights below. The cascading peaks of neighbouring mountains formed the backdrop to the old hanok village and the city.

Going Back

We spotted some more cafes on our way down.  This time, we took another route and saw a different set of murals.

The End of the Road

There probably were many other paths tucked in this quaint village. We had to head back to the bus terminal and catch a bus to Gwangju (our next destination). Jeonju was a wonderful surprise and we were excited to have kickstarted our Korean road trip with this fantastic city.

Posted by:twobrownfeet

Walkers. Wanderers. Travellers. Now in Seoul.

31 replies on “The Highest Cafe of Jaman Mural Village (자만벽화마을)

  1. What an absolutely amazing place. I love street art at the best of times but these murals are absolutely wonderful. So vibrant and colourful. And what a view at that last cafe. Truly amazing. Thanks for sharing Cheryl. Hope you’re well. Hugs from a cold Melbourne Tuesday night. xx

    1. These villages are my escape. 🙂 We loved the narrow lanes and brights pops of colour all around us. Felt like wonderland! lol.
      We had a terrible heatwave and I’m surprised I survived it. Temps are slowly dipping. I can’t wait for autumn. Just a month away. 🙂
      Is it still winter in Melbourne? Stay warm my friend! xoxo

      1. Sounds like you’re ready for a cool change. Here it’s still cold though there are hints that spring is on its way. Two more weeks till it’s official! Like you I can’t wait for the change. xx 😊

  2. wow, what a fantastic discovery! glad you made it to the top, it was all worth it for the view, as well as for the things you found on the journey both up and down.

    1. Aha! You’re right. I thought she looked familiar. We couldn’t explore the whole village, but I’ve seen pictures of Ghibli’s No face character on another blog. One of the souvenir shops did sell Ghibli souvenirs. 🙂

  3. That is some serious color! Not just a wall here and there – it seems like virtually every building is decorated. Not being a cartoony art fan, I like the corrugated metal roofs in their plain bright colors the best!

    1. Lol. I had to literally drag Basil to Jeonju! We cancelled a Russia tour because he couldn’t take too many days off and it was easier to have a Korean adventure instead. 🙂 Our plan was to hit the southern unexplored coast of the peninsula. And then, I decided to add the tourist hotspots to break the journey. A lot of the art here takes some getting used to. But it’s nice to add diversity in the trip. Many old villages are painted like this, to attract tourists and probably get some income for the residents. Although, some residents don’t like tourists especially if they’re too noisy. 🙂

    1. Hi Peta! It’s good to hear from you. 🙂 I loved the lotus glower painting and dragged Basil to the other exit — just to get a picture of it. I’ve painted a similar picture in one of my Korean culture classes. 🙂 This particular painting is inspired by a traditional Korean painting of the lotus flower and a dragonfly.
      Thank you for your lovely comment.

  4. What a fabulous place, I would so love to see it for myself. I’ve only just recently got into exploring street art, first in Manchester and over the last two weeks not far from my home town, and I’ve seen some brilliant murals, so this post has really interested me 🙂

    1. We love street art! I just checked your post and your collection of pictures is quite wonderful. Street art here, in Korea, is generally influenced by traditional culture and/or cutesy figures. It can take a while o get used to. 🙂
      Thanks for stopping by and thank you for being a part of the conversation. Have a great week!
      Cheryl

  5. Murals are always interesting to see – it seems like they’re a direct reflection of a local culture. Too bad so many American “murals” are just random graffiti. I wonder what that says about us?

    1. I agree. Murals are so different across the globe. In Belgium, the artwork was inspired by Herge (in a certain sections of the city); in Rekjyavik/Shanghai it was more modern quirky graffiti with colour pops; in Mumbai, it’s iconic movie characters/ independence heroes; and in Korea it’s a mix of Korean paintings (like the traditional lotus one), folk heroes, or anime/Ghibli characters (Japanese animation). I haven’t visited Philadelphia (or the US), but I remember Basil photographed some interesting murals that started from a high wall and spilled onto the street. It was more art than graffiti. But I get what you mean. 🙂

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