Wearing Hanbok and visiting the palaces of Seoul is one of the most popular traditional activities in Korea.
It’s also one of the most unique Korean activities that you can do and a great way to experience a part of Korean culture. If you haven’t yet considered wearing hanbok on your trip to Korea, I recommend it! It’s an experience that you won’t forget.
While you can take fantastic photos in Hanbok, it’s also a great way to learn a little about the history and culture of Korea. When you do decide to wear Hanbok, I highly recommend trying to learn a bit about the background of the outfit and also to visit the museum sections of the palaces.
With that being said, this post contains everything that you need to know about Hanbok rental in Seoul – from where to rent hanbok to hanbok photoshoots and more!
Looking to purchase some Hanbok for yourself? Check out Joteta for all kinds of traditional Korean goods from children’s Hanbok to Korean gift sets!
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. For more information, please read my affiliate disclaimer. Secondly, I have worked for HaB Korea as a hanbok photographer in the past.
What Is Hanbok?
Hanbok is Korean traditional clothing dating back to the three kingdoms period – a period which ended around 650 AD. Hanbok is generally very colourful and intricately designed, being made up of multiple items of clothing.
Traditionally Hanbok was worn by the commoners, while another type of clothing, the gwanbok, was worn by officials. Although the term hanbok simply means ‘Korean clothing’, the hanbok referred to in contemporary Korean culture is that of the Joseon dynasty – the last dynasty in Korea.
Women’s hanbok is bell-shaped, with the jacket intended to be tight-fitting and the skirt to be free and flowing in order to hide the movements of the woman. This gives a certain grace to the movements by hiding her legs.
Men’s hanbok, on the other hand, consists of a top, coat, and pants. Similar to women’s hanbok, these clothes will come in hundreds of different colour options – all of them as intricate and eye-catching as the last. Learn more about hanbok.
Hanbok in Modern Korea
Despite the clothing being hundreds of years old, it is still worn by Koreans today. During your stay in Korea, you are sure to come across a contemporary hanbok store – they are quite common!
Nowadays, hanbok is normally worn for special occasions. Most often, family events of different kinds. Children wear hanbok on their first birthday (yes, there are many types of children’s hanbok too!), and many couples wear hanbok for their wedding ceremonies. Further, it is often worn for funerals.
Hanbok popularity has also skyrocketed among tourists, and wearing hanbok is a must-do activity for many visitors to the country. Although many countries have traditional clothing, not many countries have clothing as colourful and breathtaking as the hanbok.
Hundreds of different stores now exist where tourists and locals alike can rent hanbok for the day. The government has even started promoting a national Hanbok Day in October. Modern hanbok has also been created and adapted to suit modern lifestyles.
Hanbok is a much-loved part of Korean culture and it’s one of the most popular tourist activities for good reason!
Where to Rent Hanbok
If you are looking for hanbok rental in Seoul then you are in luck – there are a TON of different rental agencies that offer tourists and locals the ability to rent their dream hanbok.
While Hanbok rental agencies can be found all over the city, they are more common in the traditional areas of Seoul. Primarily, the area from Gyeongbokgung to Insadong. This area also includes many popular locations to wear hanbok!
With the amount of hanbok rental shops in Seoul, it’s hard to list them all. Despite there being so many, I chose to list only the stores that I have visited and/or experienced myself. If your favourite store isn’t listed here then it’s most likely for no reason other than I have yet to experience it!
Important Notes for Hanbok Rental
Before you rent your hanbok, these are a few important points to keep in mind!
- Gyeongbokgung Palace is CLOSED on Tuesdays. However, there are other nearby places to enjoy wearing hanbok – Bukcheon Hanbok Village, and Changdeokgung are two other popular areas.
- Changdeokgung is CLOSED on Mondays. Luckily, this means that at least one palace is open every day!
- A deposit is usually required. Many hanbok rental stores will require that you pay a deposit before wearing hanbok. This deposit varies but could be as high as 50,000KRW. This is to ensure that you don’t damage the hanbok. If you bring the hanbok back in good condition, this cost will be completely refunded.
- Booking in advance is better! While not essential, it can save you a LOT of time. Booking in advance is required for some services such as the makeup/photoshoot services. If all you want is hanbok, then booking in advance is optional.
- Morning is the least busy time. If you want to avoid the crowds, visit before noon. After lunchtime, both the stores and palaces become significantly busier.
- Be early! It can take up to an hour to actually get into your hanbok – if you take too long, this time can even be deducted from your total Hanbok-wearing time. Due to this, make sure to be early.
- Second to the point above, being early allows you longer to look at and try on different hanboks.
- Late hanbok returns will incur extra costs. However, the exact amount varies by the service in question.
- Lockers are usually provided to store your belongings. This is ideal because you don’t want to be carrying a backpack around with hanbok!
Hanboknam is perhaps the most popular hanbok rental in Seoul. They have 5 locations over Korea, including a location in Busan and one in the Jeonju Hanbok Village.
Hanboknam has convenient locations within a short walking distance from Gyeongbokgung, Changdeokgung, and Bukchon Hanbok Village – three popular locations to wear hanbok.
The store also offers storage for all of your bags and other items that you may not want to carry. Rental is provided from anywhere from an hour to one day.
If you are looking to catch your hanbok experience in pictures, Hanboknam offers both indoor and outdoor photoshoots. This is a fantastic way to capture your Korean trip!
Finally, it’s possible to rent hanbok from Hanboknam totally free of charge if you have the Discover Seoul Pass.
If you are looking to rent hanbok in Seoul, Oneday Hanbok is another popular hanbok rental in Seoul that offers a large variety of hanbok to choose from.
Oneday Hanbok has only one location in Seoul. However, the location is very convenient and is located very close to Gyeongbokgung and Changdeokgung Palaces as well as Bukchon Hanbok Village and Insadong.
Two rental periods are allowed – 4 hours and 24 hours. 4-hour sessions begin at 18,000KRW, while one day costs 24,000KRW. All basic accessories are included in this cost!
Similar to many other agencies, Oneday Hanbok also has a photoshoot service. However, Hanboknam is generally cheaper if you are looking to also have a photography session.
Last but not least, the Seohwa Hanbok rental in Seoul. Seohwa is by far the closest hanbok store to Gyeongbokgung and is located almost right outside the entrance to the palace! It’s a very short walk from the store to the palace.
Seohwa has relatively standard priced rental times. However, what makes them stand out is their two-day rental period – something which most other hanbok services don’t offer.
Both the one and two-day periods are priced well, coming in at 25,000KRW and 35,000KRW respectively. If you are looking to hire hanbok for a longer period of time, then Seohwa is the way to go.
As you have probably already noticed, hanbok photo shoots are a very popular activity in Seoul. There are tens (or even hundreds) of different companies that specialise in hanbok photography.
Many of the Hanbok rental stores in Seoul will have photoshoot packages on offer on their website. However, there are also other stores and services which specialise in photography – especially hanbok photography.
My recommended service is this one offered by HaB Korea. I am always impressed by the results and they have very positive ratings from customers. It’s possible to get a package that includes Hanbok rental from Hanboknam. This shoot takes place around Gyeongbokgung Palace and makes for stunning, traditional photos.
If you would prefer a studio shoot or have a strict budget, then photoshoots such as this studio shoot offered by Trazy are a great option. Despite being in a studio, you will get some fantastic pictures that show off the beauty of the hanbok.
Finally, the most in-depth photoshoot (but also the most expensive) is this one offered by Oneday Korea. You will get a professional photographer for 3 hours, who can not only take photos but also guide you.
If you are looking for a photoshoot where you can take your time, then this is the best option.
Hanbok Photography Tips
After working as a hanbok photographer myself, I quickly came to realise a few things that will make your photoshoot the best that it can be.
- Arrive early! On-time is too late. Since there are usually queues (even if you book in advance), you will want to make sure that you are at the store putting on your hanbok well in advance of the photoshoot time. If you are late, you might lose some of your photoshoot time!
- If you want to explore the palaces (in hanbok), book for a longer period. Since most of the photoshoots are only for one hour, it can often be a bit of a rush while the photographer is with you. If you really want to explore the palace, I would recommend staying for a further hour or two after the photographer leaves.
- If you need to carry something (makeup, accessories, etc), try to hire a small traditional handbag to carry them in. Otherwise, you can ask the photographer to carry your extra items. You want to make your photos as authentic as possible!
- Beware of the weather in summer and winter! Even one hour outside in summer is enough to drain energy from even the hardiest people. Hanbok is warm clothing, and in summer it can easily get to 35+ degrees. Make sure to take the weather into account.
Hanbok Photo Studios
If you would prefer to take photos in a studio rather than outside, there are a few options. This is especially helpful if you are visiting Korea in the winter or summer when the weather can be a bit extreme at times!
- Namsan Tower Hanbok Museum and photo studio. This is a great way to not only learn about hanbok, but also to take some studio pictures.
- Hanbok Rental Experience. Another fantastic option, Hanbok Rental Experience stands out because they also provide you with a free (included in the price) printed image.
- Hanbok That Day. Hanbok That Day provides another fantastic studio which has a variety of different backdrops and themes.
Where to Wear Hanbok
Still wondering where to wear hanbok? You’re in luck! There are a few fantastic places to wear hanbok around Seoul.
It is even possible to explore the whole city in hanbok! While this might sound funny initially, you will quickly realise that wearing hanbok is actually quite common. In some areas, every third or fourth person will be wearing hanbok.
- Firstly, the most popular locations to wear hanbok are at the two main palaces of Seoul. Gyeongbokgung and Changdeokgung are both located very close to one another and both are within walking distance of the main cluster of Hanbok rental stores.
If you wear hanbok, both of these palaces will give you free entry! This is a further encouragement to visit the palaces!
- Bukchon Hanok Village is another popular location and one that is very close to the palaces. A hanok village is a Korean traditional village, and Bukchon is one such village that is located right in the centre of Seoul. Another great choice is Ikseondong Hanok Village.
Bukchon makes for some fantastic photo locations in the streets that are flanked by traditional Korean houses. Exploring the area will lead you to find hundreds of different photo locations with different traditional backdrops.
- If you want to explore even more of the culture, then I would recommend visiting Insadong – the cultural hub of Seoul. In Insadong you can find traditional teahouses which have tea ceremonies throughout the day. Whether you choose to wear hanbok or not, a tea ceremony is something that shouldn’t be missed.
These are just a few ideas, however. You can explore nearly anywhere in the city with hanbok. The choice is yours!
Purchase Your Own Hanbok
Although hanbok was never out of fashion, it definitely appears to be making a strong comeback recently. Contemporary takes on hanbok are becoming more common to see, and traditional hanbok is still as popular as ever!
If you are interested in purchasing a hanbok while you are in Korea then there are a few different options. Throughout the city, there are a lot of speciality stores which tailor hanbok specifically.
However, getting a tailor-made hanbok costs upwards of 200,000KRW. That’s only the price for a cheaper hanbok! If you are looking for a cheaper option, have a look at some of the options available on Korean websites.
Another option is to purchase on a global website such as Amazon. There are a lot of different hanbok options and they are much cheaper than getting them custom made! While not as authentic or high quality, they are a great option for saving money.
Children’s Hanbok is also popular, especially for special occasions. Although it can be quite difficult to find children’s Hanbok, there are some good stores out there. One store that has a variety of Hanbok for children is Joteta.
Best Hanbok Rental in Seoul
So, what is the best Hanbok rental store in Seoul? Really, it depends on what you want. However, I do have a few recommendations.
Hanboknam is generally one of the highest-reviewed hanbok stores in the city. On top of that, it has a good location and multiple branches across the country. I have been there more than 10 times and I have never had an issue. Their hanboks aren’t the fanciest, but they are still very nice! Further, the price is reasonable.
If you happen to have the Discover Seoul Pass, then you get a few 90 minute hanbok season with Hanboknam, so make sure to check them out!
If you want photos, check out HaB Korea. Their photo sessions always have fantastic results and I am sure that you will be pleased with the results. The photographers double as guides and they are very professional at what they day.
Hanbok Rental FAQ
What Is Hanbok?
Hanbok is the traditional clothing of Korea. This clothing became popular during the Joseon dynasty and still plays an important role in Korean society today. These days, it is worn at weddings, funerals, and some other events. However, it has also been modernised for contemporary Korean fashion.
Is There Hanbok for Children?
Yes! There are all kinds of hanbok, and hanbok can be found for children of nearly all ages.
Is There Hanbok for Males?
Although many people think of hanbok for women, hanbok for men is just as popular and beautiful. There is a hanbok for everyone.
When Is the Best Time to Wear Hanbok?
Hanbok is generally quite heavy clothing, and as such, it is most comfortably worn in the off-peak seasons. This means fall and spring. However, it can be worn in any season! Just expect it to be very hot in summer.
Where Can I Rent Hanbok?
Hanbok can be rented all over Korea. There are a LOT of different stores located all over the country. For more information, and which stores are best, feel free to refer to the best hanbok rental in Seoul.
Can I Purchase My Own Hanbok?
Some people fall in love with hanbok and want to take one home. The good news is that this is possible! Both traditional hanbok and modern variations of it can be purchased all over Korea.
What Is Modern Hanbok?
Modern hanbok is a contemporary take on the traditional clothing. Although smaller (so as to be more comfortable and easy to wear), these hanbok retain many elements of older hanbok. You will sometimes see them being worn on the streets of Korea. You can learn more about modern hanbok here.
Where Is The Best Place to Wear Hanbok?
There are many places in Korea to wear hanbok, but the most popular places are palaces and traditional (Hanok) villages. Some popular locations in Seoul are Gyeongbokgung, Changdeokgung, and Bukchon Hanok Village.