How to Rent a Hanbok in Seoul in 9 Easy Steps
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 hanbok rental in Seoul is so incredibly popular.
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
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In this guide
- 1 What is a Korean hanbok?
- 2 Renting a Hanbok in Seoul
- 3 What to Expect when Renting a Hanbok in Seoul
- 4 Where to Rent a Hanbok in Seoul
- 5 Hanbok Rental in Seoul | Stores
- 6 Renting a Hanbok in Seoul near Gyeongbokgung Palace
- 7 Renting a Hanbok in Seoul near Changdeokgung
- 8 Best Places for a Korean Hanbok Photo Shoot
- 9 How much time do I need?
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.
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, weddings, Lunar New Year, and birthdays. For me, a hanbok sighting is always kind of a special experience, simply because it’s so rare in modern life.
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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.
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.
GOOD TO KNOW | 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Should I reserve a hanbok rental in Seoul in advance?
There are a few ways you can go about renting a hanbok in Seoul. Like I said, there are hanbok rental shops littering the streets around major tourist attractions in the city.
Having a wander around, walking into any store that strikes your fancy, and renting your hanbok in Seoul is one way to do it. This works if you have extra time in your itinerary to search around.
If you’re pressed for time, it might be easier and more convenient to just reserve a hanbok online. That’s what I’ve done the last few times. 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 for my daughter on 4 separate occasions. 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 advance, and the whole process was streamlined and peaceful. It’s definitely my preferred method for renting a hanbok in Seoul, because I didn’t waste a moment of time.
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 Palace
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.
Hanboknam near Gyeongbokgung
Address: 133-5 Sajik-ro Jongno-gu, Seoul, Republic of Korea
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.
Hanboknam is one of the most convenient places to rent a hanbok in Seoul. It’s steps from the subway station and walking distance to Gyeongbokgung Palace. Check details here.
Address: 45 Sagan-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul
At Hanbok 3355, you don’t have to worry about finding the perfectly sized hanbok rental in Seoul. This shop offers hanboks in several different styles, from Standard to Premium, with the Standard and Modern hanbok styles coming in sizes ranging from small to 3XL.
There are also hanbok available for children aged 1 to 12. Check full details here.
GUIDED HANBOK EXPERIENCE + PAINTERS SHOW | Get decked out in a Korean hanbok, then take a guided tour of Bukchon Hanok Village, and Gyeongbokgung Palace, before relaxing on Samcheong-dong Cafe Street and checking out the best-selling Painters Show.. Check details here.
Hanbok That Day
Address: 36, Yulgok-ro 1-gil, Jongno-gu | 서울시 종로구 율곡로1길 36
Located in Anguk-dong near Gyeongbokgung Palace and 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. Check info 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 probably won’t want to waste time walking between locations.
Dorothy Hanbok near Changdeokgung
Address: 23 Yunposun-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul
Dorothy Hanbok has traditional and themed hanbok for children, men, and women, for 2 to 4 hours. Dorothy Hanbok has been renting hanbok in Seoul for over 30 years and they have a ton of gorgeous and intricate hanbok designs to choose from. Check details here.
Hanboknam near Changdeokgung
Address: Seoul, Jongno-gu, Donhwamun-ro, 85 2층
Hanboknam also has a hanbok rental location in Seoul near Changdeokgung Palace. I found it didn’t have as much selection as the Gyeongbokgung location, but there’s still plenty to choose from. Check info here.
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.
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’ve rented a hanbok in Seoul, entrance into ALL of the city’s palaces is absolutely FREE!
HANBOK PHOTO SHOOT | Pick out a gorgeous premium hanbok and meet up with a professional photographer for an unforgettable photo shoot at either Gyeongbokgung Palace or the National Folk Museum. Get info here.
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 after renting a hanbok in Seoul, because of its grandeur and scale. There’s tons of amazing spots to do a photo shoot and you’ll end up with a truly memorable souvenir of your trip to Korea.
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. This is probably my favourite place to take photos in a hanbok rental in Seoul. Try to time your visit for just before sunset for epically gorgeous skies.
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. Its Huwon or Secret Garden is incredibly lush and picturesque.
Choose Changdeokgung for your hanbok photo shoot location if you want to avoid crowds. You’ll adore finding secluded spots in the Huwon to snap pics.
VISITING THE SECRET GARDEN | 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 Palace 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.
Deoksugung is a bit far from both Gyeongbokgung and Changdeokgung, and requires a subway, bus, or taxi to get to. Worth it? Probably.
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.
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
- Cheonggyecheon Stream
How much time do I need?
If you’ve rented your hanbok in Seoul for a full day, you could visit every location mentioned here and have a truly epic photo shoot. However, if you’ve only got a few hours, it’s probably wise to concentrate on just a few places.
I’ve created some possible itineraries, based on the length of time you’ve rented your hanbok in Seoul for. Check them out below.
Hanbok Rental in Seoul | 2 Hour Itinerary
While it is possible to rent your hanbok in Seoul for less than 2 hours, I wouldn’t really recommend it. It takes time to walk around locations, and the last thing you want is to feel rushed while trying to get the perfect shot!
If you’re really limited for time, it’s best to visit 1 or 2 locations maximum, provided they’re close to each other. It’s a good idea to rent your hanbok from the store that’s closest to where you want to take pictures, so you don’t waste time in transit.
You could very easily spend an entire 2 hours, exploring Gyeongbokgung Palace, but if you’d like a bit more variety, here’s a few potential itineraries to choose from:
- Rent from Hanboknam’s Gyeongbokgung location, then visit Gyeongbokgung, Gwanghwamun Gate and Gwanghwamun Square.
- Reserve your hanbok at Hanbok That Day, then head to Gyeongbokgung and Bukchon Hanok Village.
- Visit Hanboknam’s Changdeokgung store, then continue onto nearby Changdeokgung Palace and the Secret Garden.
Hanbok Rental in Seoul | 4 hour Itinerary
If you’ve rented a hanbok in Seoul for 4 hours, you can definitely range a bit further afield. Here are a few possible itineraries:
- Rent at Dorothy Hanbok near Changdeokgung, then visit Changdeokgung Palace and Huwon, Bukchon Hanok Village, Gwanghwamun Gate and Square, and end it all at Gyeongbokgung Palace.
- Visit Hanboknam’s location near Gyeongbokgung, then go to Gyeongbokgung Palace, Gwanghwamun Gate, Bukchon Hanok Village, Cheonggyecheon Stream, and finish off at the Deoksugung Stone-wall Road.
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Renting a Hanbok in Seoul: Essential Info and FAQs
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.
Hello ! I think hanboks are so beautiful, I have already tried it once in Jeonju. I am in Seoul right now and I would love to do a night tour of Gyeongbokgung Palace as it is available at this time of year. But hanbok rental shops are not open late into the evening. Do you have any recommandations on what do to? Thank you ! 🙂
Hi Sandrine, when I went to Gyeongbokgung at night, I rented from Hanboknam. It stayed open late during the event. Otherwise, I’d just walk around and find a shop that’s open – there are many in the area, so I don’t think you’ll have trouble finding one!
Travel Connect Experience
The Korea hanbok is soo beautiful! I wish I could visit Seoul and rent it too
Renting a hanbok and taking pics is an awesome souvenir of a Seoul trip! Hope we will all be able to travel soon. 🙁
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!
I would go to the Hanboknam location near Gyeongbokgung. It’s one of the biggest and most convenient with the largest selection of hanboks, and they’ll definitely have something for your 3 year old… I rented for my daughter when she was around that age. I am not 100% sure about your 1.5 year old though. Maybe send them an email or call to ask?
End of February should not be too cold. December and January are the coldest months here, and there’s very little snow, so it’s easy to walk around at anytime. I have a FB Group called Travel Planning + Guide that’s specifically for asking questions and planning travel to Korea, if you’d like to join… we’re offering hanbok photo shoots also, so if you’re interested in that, you can find info about that in the group.
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…. 😛
Koreans actually also love doing this. It’s become REALLY trendy in recent years, especially in places like Jeonju outside of Seoul. The big difference from Japan is the price. Here, it’s so affordable to rent a hanbok, but in Japan it’s crazy expensive to rent a kimono.
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.
Actually, it did stick, but I’m actually moderating comments now (since I’m taking this whole blogging thing more “seriously” now. 😉 I can’t believe how grown up she is already, and how fast it happened. She’ll be turning 4 in less than a month!!!! 😮
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 ?
Haha, I have such painful memories of wearing one as I child, I don’t have the urge now – but I can certainly understand the appeal of wandering around palaces taking pics if I was visiting Korea as a tourist. The pics really are something special! Nowadays, they have these gorgeous modern hanbok which shorter lengths that are very practical and lovely for everyday. 🙂