The Daejeon Tourism Association and the city of Daejeon started a tour of Soje-dong to experience local travel.
It is a tour where you can feel the everyday life by walking through old alleys and houses, which are now disappearing, and restaurants and cafes with trendy sensibility.
As a neighborhood adjacent to Daejeon Station, Soje-dong presents a unique neighborhood scene to travelers visiting Daejeon. From villages built in the 1920s, traces of modern architecture, and modern Daejeon history, Soje-dong allows you to feel the changes of the city's past, present, and future at the same time.
There are two tours of the original city center accompanied by a cultural tourism commentator at 10:00 am and 2:00 pm every day. We started walking from the Travel Lounge in Ginkgo-dong and entered Soje-dong after about 20 minutes. You can tour the original downtown tourist spots while listening to the explanation of the cultural tourism commentator on the historical, cultural, and cultural tour course. Pre-registration is required and the cost is free.
We started at the Travel Lounge in front of Daejeon Station. On foot, I walked towards Daejeon Station through the underground shopping malls of Daejeon. There are many small merchant's shops in the underground shopping mall, and there is also a traditional craft workshop.
The destination of this tour is Soje-dong, which is behind Daejeon Station.
Below is a wooden building that used to be a railroad warehouse. In Soje-dong, railway-related facilities built since the 1920s remain as shown below.
We started walking from the Travel Lounge in Ginkgo-dong and entered Soje-dong after about 20 minutes.
In Soje-dong, cafes started to appear one by one in the neighborhood where there were only small supermarkets, Yongwons, and restaurants starting in 2019, and now 18 cafes and 8 new style restaurants are in operation. This area became a representative urban commerce district in Daejeon, creating a unique neighborhood scene different from the city center.
So why Sojedong Tour?
Daejeon is a railway city. Daejeon developed into a modern city with the establishment of a new railway and Daejeon Station by the Japanese Government-General. Soje-dong has become a neighborhood where railway workers live, centered on Daejeon Station.
There used to be a lake called Sojeho in Soje-dong, but in the 1920s, Sojeho was filled and a railway government village was built on top of it, where Japanese railway engineers lived. And after liberation, the Japanese withdrew, the Korean War went through, and the village gradually deteriorated until the 2000s. It is near Daejeon Station, but transportation was inconvenient.
After the KTX, a high-speed train, opened, a plaza was created in Soje-dong, which was behind Daejeon Station. Interest in Soje-dong began to rise as the project was carried out to develop apartment complexes, shopping centers, and hotels near the station. As foreign people recognized the commercial value of Soje-dong and bought old buildings in Soje-dong, the indigenous people began to leave.
Cultural planners came into Soje-dong, where people left, and defined the neighborhood anew. Through the daily life of Soje people, alley and village festivals, resident song festivals, and exhibitions, the memories of the land from the Japanese colonial period to modern times are recalled. The railway residence village created at this time combined with culture and art, and became known as an emotional urban regeneration area.
Sponsored by the city of Daejeon and the Daejeon Tourism Association, this tour follows the time of Soje-dong.
Yang Dong-ki, president of the Daejeon Metropolitan Tourism Association, which manages this tour, said, "I hope that many people will come and enjoy a small tour of the railway village through the guidance of a cultural commentator."
(Daechang Yongwon is a barber shop listed in the Guinness Book of Records)