SOJE-DONG CAFÉ STREET
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SOJE-DONG

CAFÉ STREET

Soje-dong, a village near Daejeon Station, has a rich history that’s intertwined with the development of the railway.

Crossroads of Time

 

Tucked away near KTX Daejeon Station lies a unique neighborhood that seems frozen in time. You might stumble upon this unassuming and somewhat neglected area just a short stroll from the bustling modern Daejeon Station and Korail twin towers. Surprisingly, despite its proximity to the station, there are no glitzy shopping malls or towering skyscrapers here. This hidden gem is none other than Soje-dong's renowned café street, a trendy spot in Daejeon. Join us on a journey to Soje-dong, Daejeon’s Ikseon-dong, where vintage cafés from a bygone era await.

©Korea Tourism Organization

©Korea Tourism Organization

©Korea Tourism Organization

Down the Tracks of History

 

Soje-dong, a village near Daejeon Station, has a rich history that’s intertwined with the development of the railway. In 1904, as Daejeon Station emerged as a vital transportation hub, the Japan Tourist Bureau found the need to provide accommodations for its officials, engineers, and workers. As a result, the picturesque Sojeho Lake was reclaimed, giving rise to a railroad village. During the 1930s, this village boasted more than 100 houses, including official residences known as gwansa, spread across the North, South, and East areas. Sadly, the Korean War ravaged these homes, leaving only around 40 remaining in Soje-dong today.

©Korea Tourism Organization

Over time, Soje-dong became increasingly isolated from the city center, and its vitality gradually waned. As visitors step into its narrow alleyways, they are transported back in time to the faded charm of what was once a bustling village. The neighborhood’s appearance in movies such as C’est Si Bon, A Taxi Driver, and The Drug King also lend it a certain allure.

©Korea Tourism Organization

A Retro-Style Railway Village

 

The once-neglected and underdeveloped neighborhood of Soje Railroad Worker Residences has undergone a remarkable transformation, emerging as a vibrant retro-style destination. It has been revitalized by young artists who have turned it into a cultural hub, breathing new life into its long-dormant streets.

Wandering the narrow alleys full of quaint, low-roofed houses, you'll encounter wooden power poles, the landmark Daechang Barbershop, which first opened its doors in the 1960s and still thrives today, Cheongyang Supermarket, and Gwansa No. 42 and 53, each with its unique character.
Restaurants and cafés in this neighborhood have undergone hanok-style makeovers.

©Korea Tourism Organization

These establishments have garnered attention for their fusion of interiors that appeal to the younger generation and a retro concept that evokes nostalgia among the middle-aged. Thanks to its proximity to Daejeon Station and its growing reputation on social media and among locals, the village continues to draw tourists from near and far.

©Korea Tourism Organization

A Blend of Tradition and Modernity: A Cultural Arts Hub

 

Soje Railroad Worker Residences holds a unique status as a large-scale worker village, which bears immense historical and cultural significance. Among the 40 remaining houses, Gwansa No. 17, 24, and 51 are officially recognized as cultural properties by Daejeon. Furthermore, in Soje-dong, you'll find the modern railroad cultural heritage trio of Daejeon Station, worker residences, and railroad supply warehouses. Delving further into history, you'll discover the Songja House, once the residence of the esteemed philosopher and politician Song Siyeol, known as Master Song (Songja).

©Korea Tourism Organization

Near this historic house stands the Daejeon Traditional Museum NARAE, where visitors can explore 11 types of Daejeon’s Intangible Cultural Properties and delve into the city’s traditional culture. Visitors have the opportunity to savor both the flavors of traditional culture and the essence of modern sensibility. As a result, Soje-dong serves as a cultural and artistic complex that bridges Daejeon's past and present.

©Korea Tourism Organization

Address│Soje-dong, Dong-gu, Daejeon

Way to go│A 10-minute walk from Exit 4 of Daejeon Subway Station

daejeontour.co.kr/en/index.do

NEARBY TOURIST ATTRACTIONS

 

 

Daedong Sky Park

 

 

 

 

Daejeon Traditional Exhibit Hall NARAE

 

 

 

Heredium

 

 

Pungnyuga

 

This café is renowned for picturesque views of a bamboo forest. Restored and renovated from a gwansa(employee residence), it exudes a warm and inviting ambiance. Visitors can indulge in a delightful array of teas and cocktails.

Schnitzel

 

An old house was repurposed into a restaurant serving German home cooking. Their signature dish is schnitzel, which is thinly pounded meat, breaded, and fried. The vintage European interior add an exotic charm to the restaurant.

Café Soje

 

Located within the railroad village, a whimsical miniature model of a Hudson locomotive delivers coffee. Originally built in 1973, Café Soje allows visitors to enjoy the cozy retro ambiance of the house and Sojebangjuk Pond.

Oncheonjip

 

Visitors to this restaurant can immerse themselves in the atmosphere of a Japanese hot spring, both in the restaurant’s interior and the yard with a pond. The building was renovated to maintain the architectural elements of a traditional Japanese house. The beef steak and shabu-shabu are popular menus.

Gwansa No. 16

 

This cultural complex vividly recreates a slice of modern Korean history in Daejeon. Operating as a gallery and café, it offers visitors the opportunity to experience the charm of the old railroad employee residences within the cozy and welcoming ambiance of traditional wooden structures.

Dong Buk A

 

Literally “Northeast Asia,” this restaurant was introduced in tvN’s Wednesday Food Talk. Popular menus include jjambbong (spicy seafood noodle soup), yuringi (deep-fried chicken in hot and sour soy sauce), and Buchukkot Bokkeumbap (chive fried rice).

TIP

Daejeon Zero O’clock Festival
As sung in the popular 1950s Korean song titled “Daejeon Blues,” the last train from Daejeon Station to Mokpo departed at 12:50 am, or 0:50. That is where the Daejeon Zero O’clock Festival gets its name.

©Korea Tourism Organization

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