Sumunjang (Royal Guard) Changing Ceremony @ Gyeongbokgung Palace, South Korea

By : Chha

If you are new to Gyeongbokgung Palace then i would suggest you to read the previous post first become reading this one. You can get the entrance fee, direction and some information on the Gyeongbokgung Palace from the previous post.

In Gyeongbokgung Palace they do have a few programs for their visitors or you can say, it is something like a performance. One of it is the changing of guards call the Sumunjang (Royal Guard) Changing Ceremony. So far i dont see any blog or travel post mention about the exact location where the guard changing ceremony will take place as there is so many gate in Gyeongbokgung Palace. We almost enter the wrong gate and almost miss the ceremony.

The Exact Location :

The Sumunjang (Royal Guard) Changing Ceremony is held at the Gwanghwamun Gate, which is the first gate to the Gyeongbokgung Palace but you will need to wait at the square which is the area where the tickets counter is. Meaning to stand after Gwanghwamun Gate and before Heungnyumun Gate.

Before the ceremony start, they will sound the Traditional Korean Drum as a sign that the ceremony will start. Each drum beat has it own meaning and things that they need to do.

Ceremony Procedure (Source) :
  1. The first drumbeat signal sounds and the relieving guard unit mobilizes towards Gwanghwamun Gate.
  2. The second drumbeat signal sounds and the relieving guard unit moves outside of Gwanghwamun Gate, and the chief of the relieving guard unit and the chief of the guard unit on duty perform an identification check.
  3. The chief of the relieving guard unit orders his unit to take their positions at the gate and the relieved guard unit mobilizes to the inside of the gate.
  4. The third drumbeat signal sounds and the chief of the relieved guard unit orders his unit to exit the vicinity.

Ceremony Participants (Source) :

Position: Keeper of the Royal Palace Gates
Duty: Responsible for guarding the palace gates

Position: Chief Keeper of the Royal Palace Gates
Duty: In charge of guarding the palace gates and commanding the Sumungun

Position: Deputy Keeper of the Royal Palace Gates
Duty: Daejonggo (Management of Large Bells and Drums)

Position: Lieutenant to the Chief Keeper
Duty: Assistance to the Chief Keeper, and management of the gate book

Position: Armed Guardsman
Duty: Guarding the palace gate

Position: Regular Guard
Duty: Private soldier of the Joseon's central army

Position: Subordinate Soldier
Duty: Sentry of the palace gate

Position: Jeollugun
Duty: Delivery of time for the royal court

Position: Military Band Musician
Duty: Member of a royal military band

The Sumunjang (Royal Guard) Changing Ceremony is actually a very simple ceremony which takes about 20 minutes to complete but we feel that it is worth the time to actually witness the ceremony ourselves since we are already there, why waste it right ?

There is only 3 slots a day for the Sumunjang (Royal Guard) Changing Ceremony which is at 10:00 am, 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm.

Other than the Sumunjang (Royal Guard) Changing Ceremony there is still other programs available at different time such as the Gwanghwamun Gate Guard-on-Duty Performance at 11:00 am, 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm. The other one is the Sumungun (Gatekeeper) Military Training outside of Hyeopsaengmun Gate at 9:35 am and 12:35 pm.

Next (National Folk Museum of Korea) >>

Visited : April 2015
Season : Spring

Click Here : Complete Travel List

Posted Date : 27 August 2015
Posted Time : 9.09 pm