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renting a hanbok in seoul: mother and daughter in bukchon

Renting a hanbok in Seoul is one of the most unique and memorable ways to experience Korean culture. Just imagine wandering around historic sites, transformed into a Joseon-era princess, and you’ll understand exactly why renting a hanbok in Seoul is so incredibly popular.

renting a hanbok in seoul near gyeongbokgung

Enter your Joseon-dynasty dreams by renting a hanbok in Seoul

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In this guide, you’ll learn:

  • what makes up a traditional Korean hanbok and how to wear one properly
  • what to expect when renting a hanbok in Seoul
  • the approximate cost of hanbok rental in Seoul
  • where to rent a hanbok near Gyeongbokgung Palace and other important tourist sites
  • the most captivating spots to have a hanbok photo shoot in Seoul with possible itineraries

What is a Korean hanbok?

If you’re planning on renting a hanbok in Seoul, you should know exactly what a Korean hanbok actually is, right?

Well, simply put, a Korean hanbok is literally just translated as “Korean clothing.” It’s most typically associated with the Joseon Dynasty period from 1392 to 1910.

renting a hanbok in seoul

Your hanbok denoted your professions and social status during the Joseon Dynasty.

Historically, there was a huge collection of hanbok, ranging from informal to formal. The style, colour and accessories worn with the hanbok would denote rank, marital status, and profession. And most Koreans wore them in their daily life, until just 100 years ago.

These days, you’ll likely only see Koreans wearing hanbok for special occasions or holidays like Chuseok, Lunar New Year, weddings, and birthdays. For me, a sighting is always kind of a special experience, simply because it’s so rare in modern life.

child wearing korean hanbok

My 2 year old self is not happy about wearing a Korean hanbok

The Modern Hanbok

Hanbok have evolved as much as Korea’s culture and society. Today, modern hanbok are rooted in tradition, but adapted to the needs of living in modern civilization. Now, you can find hanbok with shorter lengths and contemporary design details, which are attracting a whole new class of customers, in Korea and around the world.

leesle modern hanbok

The modern hanbok are adapted to the needs of contemporary life by Leesle (CCBY-SA 4.0)

Renting a Hanbok in Seoul

Korean hanbok have graceful lines, are vibrantly coloured using natural dyes, and made for expressive motion. When you get your hanbok rental in Seoul, try spinning around while wearing it and you’ll see exactly what I mean. The proportions of the hanbok make the wearer look as if they’re floating on air.

renting a hanbok in seoul

Korean hanboks were made for movement.

Women’s hanbok

A woman’s hanbok is made up of a wide bell-like skirt called a chima, and a slim-fitting top or jacket called a jeogori. This is typically what you get when renting a hanbok in Seoul.

Traditionally, there’s also an undershirt and pantaloons to wear beneath the jeogori, but these are usually optional add-ons.

TIP  | If you’re renting a hanbok in Seoul, it usually includes the chima and jeoguri, with the option of renting the bell-like underskirt for an additional cost. During summer in Korea, it’s best to wear something cool and comfortable underneath your hanbok. Leggings or shorts, and a slim fitting t-shirt would be good options. A Korean winter is very cold, so be sure to wear extra-warm layers underneath your hanbok.

Men’s Hanbok

A man’s hanbok consists of a vest, jeogori and loose fitting pair of pants called baji. Don’t make the mistake of thinking this is plain or simple though. Men’s hanbok can be just as dramatic and intricate as women’s.

renting a men's hanbok in seoul at gyeongbokgung palace

You can rent a men’s hanbok if you want to! I did.

What to Expect when Renting a Hanbok in Seoul

If you’ve never worn a Korean hanbok, it can definitely be a mildly confusing experience… to say the least. Not to worry though. It’s actually a very simple process. I’ve broken it down into 9 easy steps below.

hanbok rental in seoul: mom and daughter in Korean hanbok in bukchon hanok village

Renting a hanbok in Seoul is one of the best ways to experience Korean culture.

1
Find the hanbok store you made your reservation at. You can use an app like Naver or Kakao Maps for directions.
2
Present the voucher for your hanbok rental to the staff.
3
You’ll be required to leave a valid passport or ID card, which you’ll get back when you return the hanbok.
4
When renting a hanbok in Seoul, you can usually try on 2 different sets of hanbok, before deciding on the one you’ll rent for the day. Don’t be shy about asking the staff for help. They have tons of experience doing this and will be able to help you with getting the right fit.
5
You put on the skirt or chima first, and the jacket or jeogori goes on top. The staff will help you with tying any bows or ribbons.
6
Get your hair done if it’s included with your rental, and select any extra accessories you want to borrow.
7
Leave your shoes, clothes and any extra belongings you don't need to take with you in the free lockers that are provided with your hanbok rental.
8
If you return your hanbok late, there will be extra charges or fees levied, so be sure to book enough time when you make your reservation.
9
Head out and take memorable photos of your hanbok rental experience in Seoul.

TIP  | Visiting during a busy holiday season like Chuseok or Lunar New Year? To avoid disappointment, be sure to reserve your hanbok in advance online. For the best selection of hanbok, arrive at the hanbok rental store in Seoul as early in the morning as possible.

Where to Rent a Hanbok in Seoul

There are literally dozens of places to rent a hanbok in Seoul. Most are concentrated in the Jongno district, near the city’s most important historic attractions and sites for good reason. However, it IS possible to find hanbok rental at other places, like the N Seoul Tower, in Myeongdong and even at the Coex Aquarium.

hanbok rental in seoul korea

Every hanbok rental store in Seoul has different hours, rules, and rates.

Keep in mind though that each store has slightly different opening hours and rules for renting a hanbok in Seoul. Be sure to read the fine print when making your booking.

Renting a hanbok in Seoul at the best prices

The best way to rent a hanbok in Seoul is undoubtedly by reserving one online. Prices are discounted and the whole process is easy and convenient. I’m not just saying this – I know from personal experience.

I’ve rented hanbok in Seoul, 4x now for my daughter. What can I say… she loves feeling like a princess! The first time we just walked from store to store, and the whole experience was chaotic, confusing and messy. The other times, I reserved my hanbok rental in Seoul in advance and the whole process was streamlined and peaceful, not to mention cheaper.

Hanbok Rental in Seoul | Stores

The following shops are well-known and popular places for renting a hanbok in Seoul. Most are conveniently located close to the major tourist sites, so you can simply walk out of the store and directly to traditional places like Changdeokgung or Bukchon Hanok Village for photos.

Renting a Hanbok in Seoul near Gyeongbokgung

If you’re planning to take photos mainly around Gyeongbokgung Palace, Bukchon Hanok Village, or Jogyesa, I recommend renting your hanbok at the following locations. All are within reasonable walking distance of these historical sites.

girl in korean hanbok in seoul at gyeongbokgung palace

We rented this hanbok from Hanboknam near Gyeongbokgung for my daughter.

Hanboknam near Gyeongbokgung

Address: 133-5 Sajik-ro Jongno-gu, Seoul, Republic of Korea

Check prices and rent a hanbok in Seoul at Hanboknam’s location near Gyeongbokgung

Hanboknam has over 500 different hanbok to choose from, in both traditional and themed styles. There’s also a ton of accessories to borrow, like hairpieces, shoes and purses. Free basic traditional hairstyling is included with every hanbok rental at Hanboknam. Prices start as low as 8,000 won when you book online.

renting a hanbok in seoul at hanboknam in gyeongbokgung

Hanboknam is just a block away from Gyeongbokgung Palace.

Hanbok That Day

Address: 36, Yulgok-ro 1-gil, Jongno-gu | 서울시 종로구 율곡로1길 36

Check availability and reserve at Hanbok That Day

Located in Anguk-dong near Gyeongbokgung Palace and the Bukchon Hanok Village, Hanbok That Day offers both traditional and fusion hanbok to rent. Choose between a 3 or 4 hour hanbok rental, and commemorate your experience with photos taken by a professional photographer. You can use their indoor studio, or opt for outdoor photos at Seoul’s nearby traditional sites.

Hanbok 3355

Address: 45 Sagan-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul

Check availability of a hanbok in Seoul at Hanbok 3355.

Hanbok 3355 offers hanbok rental in Seoul in several different styles, from Standard to Premium. Their Standard and Modern hanbok styles come in sizes ranging from small to 3XL.

TIP  |  Get decked out in a Korean hanbok, then take a guided tour of Bukchon Hanok Village, Gyeongbokgung Palace, Gwanghwamun Plaza, Cheong Wa Dae, and the N Seoul Tower, with a stop for Ginseng Chicken Soup and a Kimbap making experience on this excellent value day tour. Check availability of the day tour here.

Renting a Hanbok in Seoul near Changdeokgung

It’s best to reserve your hanbok rental in Seoul at a nearby store, if you’ve got your heart set on a Changdeokgung photo shoot. Changdeokgung Palace and its Secret Garden or Huwon are a fair distance from Gyeongbokgung, and you don’t want to waste time walking between locations.

hanbok rental at changdeokgung

Naia’s Auntie Stephanie rocking a hanbok at Changdeokgung.

Dorothy Hanbok near Changdeokgung

Address: 23 Yunposun-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul

Rent a hanbok in Seoul at Dorothy Hanbok near Changdeokgung

Dorothy Hanbok has tradition and themed hanbok for children, men, and women, for 2 to 4 hours. Dorothy Hanbok has been around for over 30 years and has a ton of gorgeous and intricate hanbok designs to choose from.

Hanboknam near Changdeokgung

Address: Seoul, Jongno-gu, Donhwamun-ro, 85 2층

Rent a hanbok in Seoul at Hanboknam’s location near Changdeokgung

Hanboknam also has a location near Changdeokgung Palace.

renting a hanbok in seoul: traditional hairstyling

You can opt for more than basic hairstyling for a little bit more money.

Best Places for a Korean Hanbok Photo Shoot

After renting a hanbok in Seoul, you need to know where the best locations are for a photo shoot. To really work the whole Joseon-era princess thing, these are the locations I recommend.

rent a hanbok seoul

There are many wonderful places in Seoul to take pics in a hanbok

Seoul’s Joseon Dynasty Palaces

Seoul has 5 royal palaces from the Joseon Dynasty, each with a different character and unique features. The most popular palaces for a hanbok photo shoot are undoubtedly Gyeongbokgung and Changdeokgung.

Best of all – if you’re wearing a hanbok, entrance into ALL of Seoul’s palaces is absolutely FREE!

Gyeongbokgung Palace and Gwanghwamun Gate (광화문)

Address: 161, Sajik-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul | 서울특별시 종로구 사직로 161 (세종로)

Gyeongbokgung is the most popular palace to visit because of its grandeur and scale. There’s tons of amazing spots to do a hanbok photo shoot and you’ll end up with truly memorable photos.

gwanghwamun gate at night in korea

Gwanghwamun Gate is stunning at night!

Don’t miss Gwanghwamun Gate either! It’s Gyeongbokgung’s main gate, and it’s a huge, intricate and amazing place to get the first photos of your hanbok rental in Seoul. If you time your visit for 10AM or 2PM on any day, except Tuesday, you can catch the Changing of the Royal Guard ceremony in front of the Gate as well.

Bukchon Hanok Village

Address: 37, Gyedong-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul | 서울특별시 종로구 계동길 37 (계동)

Bukchon Hanok Village is walking distance from Gyeongbokgung Palace. Try to time your visit for just before sunset for epically gorgeous skies.

renting a hanbok in seoul: bukchon hanok village

This is the most popular street in Bukchon Hanok Village to take a picture in your hanbok.

Keep in mind that this is a real neighbourhood where people actually live. Stay as quiet as you can while you’re in the area to respect the residents.

Changdeokgung Palace and Huwon

Address: 99, Yulgok-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul | 서울특별시 종로구 율곡로 99 (와룡동)

Changdeokgung is considered by many to be the most harmonious and lovely of all of Seoul’s palaces. It’s Huwon or Secret Garden is incredibly lush and picturesque.

renting hanbok in seoul

Rent a hanbok and take pics at Changdeokgung for gorgeous colours and serene scenes

Choose this for your photo shoot location if you want to avoid busy-ness and crowds. You’ll adore finding secluded spots in the Huwon to snap pics.

TIP  |  The Huwon at Changdeokgung is quiet because the only way you can enter is via guided tour, which you can book here. Once you’re inside though, you don’t really have to stick with the tour. You can just wander around by yourself to take pictures. Keep in mind that Changdeokgung is closed on Mondays.

Deoksugung Stone-wall Road

Address: Jiha 101, Sejong-daero, Jung-gu, Seoul | 서울특별시 중구 세종대로 지하 101

This 1100 metre stone-wall next to Deoksugung Palace is incredibly stunning during autumn in Seoul, when its 130 trees sheds thousands of golden coloured leaves.

wearing hanboks outside deoksugung stone wall road

You’ll have to travel a bit to get this Korean hanbok pic at Deoksugung.

Deoksugung is a bit far from both Gyeongbokgung and Changdeokgung, and requires a subway, bus, or taxi to get to. Worth it? Probably.

Jogyesa Temple

Address: 55, Ujeongguk-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul | 서울특별시 종로구 우정국로 55

Jogyesa Temple is the centre of Buddhism in Korea. There are special events throughout the year, like the always incredible Lotus Lantern Festival in spring.

renting a hanbok in seoul: jogyesa temple in korea

Jogyesa Temple has lovely lanterns to take pictures with.

Jogyesa is south of Gyeongbokgung Palace and Bukchon Hanok Village, but still within walking distance.

Other Potential Photo Spots

Gyeongbokgung Palace, Gwanghwamun, Bukchon Hanok Village, and Changdeokgung Palace are definitely the most popular places to take photos when renting a hanbok in Seoul. If you want to get off the beaten path a little, you could also consider the following locations.

  • Gwanghwamun Square
  • Changgyeonggung Palace
  • Samcheongdong-gil
  • Cheonggyecheon Stream
  • Insadong-gil
renting a hanbok in seoul: insadong

Renting a hanbok in Seoul is a memorable way to experience Korea’s culture.

How much time do I need?

If you’ve rented your Korean hanbok for a full day, you could visit every location mentioned here and have a truly epic photo shoot. However, if your hanbok rental is just for a few hours, it’s probably wise to concentrate on a few places only.

I’ve created some possible itineraries, based on the length of time you’ve rented your hanbok in Seoul for.

renting a hanbok in seoul: hanboknam

Your rental starts when you leave the store, so take your time choosing your hanbok.

Itineraries for a 1.5 to 2 hour Hanbok Rental in Seoul

If you’re really limited for time, it’s best to visit 1 or 2 locations maximum, provided they’re close to each other. You should also rent your hanbok from the store that’s closest to where you want to take pictures.

Renting a hanbok in Seoul for just 90 minutes is totally possible, but ONLY at the Hanboknam stores (there are multiple locations). 2 hour rentals are available at Hanbok That Day, Dorothy Hanbok, and Hanbok 3355.

where to stay in seoul | insadong

Pick your favourite locations if you’re only renting your hanbok in Seoul for a few hours ⓒ IR Studio, Korea Tourism Organization

Here’s a few potential itineraries to choose from:

child in korean hanbok at gyeongbokgung palace

Renting a hanbok in Seoul is a ton of fun. Enjoy!!

Itineraries for Renting a Hanbok in Seoul for 4 hours

If you’ve rented a hanbok in Seoul for 4 hours, you can range a bit further. Here are a few possible itineraries:

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Renting a Hanbok in Seoul: Essential Info and FAQs

1
How much does it cost to rent a hanbok in Korea? Prices vary depending on the style and type of hanbok you rent. Expect to pay a minimun of 8,000 won for a 1.5 hour rental of a traditional hanbok and up to 40,000 won for a 4 hour rental of a themed hanbok.
2
Can foreigners wear hanbok? Is it cultural appropriation? Koreans are usually very happy to see foreigners wearing their traditional dress, and encourage it. Just be respectful of the culture and tradition while you are wearing one - and for goodness sakes, definitely don't wear one as a Halloween costume.
3
Where can I rent a hanbok in Seoul? There are a ton of hanbok rental shops in Seoul, near the major tourist sites like Gyeongbokgung Palace, Bukchon Hanok Village, and Changdeokgung.
4
How much time do I need for my hanbok rental in Seoul? It depends on how many locations you want to visit. But I'd say you need at least 2 hours to not feel rushed.

Renting a hanbok in Seoul is the perfect way to get awesome souvenirs of your trip to Korea. Share your experiences in the comments below.

renting hanbok in seoul

Comments:

  • July 6, 2020

    The Korea hanbok is soo beautiful! I wish I could visit Seoul and rent it too

    reply...
  • diapersinparadise

    January 19, 2020

    This is super helpful – we are planning a 24 hour layover in Seoul in February, and want to do a hanbok photoshoot for our girls. May I ask a couple questions? First, would any of the shops that you mentioned likely have hanboks for young children, or would I want to go to a particular place? They are 1.5 and 3 years old. And second, because we’re going in late February, are we going to be too freezing cold to actually wander around outside for this with little ones? Or do people do this year round? Thanks so much – this article was exactly the kind of info I needed!

    reply...
  • September 12, 2019

    what an interesting idea… this sort of thing is possible in Japan as well and the locals love doing it. Kyoto especially. makes for some great photos! Except when this one guys refuses to dress up and insists on wearing shorts…. 😛

    reply...
  • September 12, 2019

    For some reason, my previous comment did not stick … anyway, I did read all about the hanbok, but I mainly marveled at Naia and how grown-up and beautiful she is! I’ve missed seeing that sweet face. Hope you guys are all good.

    reply...
  • September 11, 2019

    This piece on how to rent a hanbok was so interesting to read! I always wondered how some companies let you rent want. Two hours rental seem like a good time if you want to wear a hanbok for the experience of it. It doesn’t look too practical to wear these days but if people wore it every day back in the day, I guess then it’s possible 🙂 Gyeongbokgung Palace looks so pretigous it’s no surprise many people like to do photo shoots there lol. Your daughter looks like she is enjoying wearing her hanbok ?

    reply...

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