Jagalchi Market in Busan is the the largest fish market in South Korea. In this post we provide you a full guide to make the most out of your visit of Jagalchi Market.
Busan is South Korea’s second largest city, after Seoul (we wrote a full post about Busan here). Located at the southern end of the Korean Peninsula, Busan is also a major port city in the country.
The market is located right next to the port of Nampo. Thanks to this proximity, the market can be regularly supplied with fresh fish.
This market represents Busan and is famous all over the country. It only became a fish market after the Korean war. If you visit Jagalchi, you can taste very fresh fish of all kinds.
It is best to go early in the morning, as this it the times when the market is most active. Koreans like to have breakfast in the market, with fish of course. You can also go there for lunch, there is a large hall with several food stalls on the upper floor of the indoor building with a great view of the sea and port.
Jagalchi Market is the place where you can really see the lifestyle of the people born in Busan. Hence make sure to check it out, you won’t regret it…
Jagalchi market is divided in 2 parts
Jagalchi is a very exciting place, not to be missed if you visit Busan. The market is actually divided into two, there is the outside area much larger and indoor market with restaurants on the upper floor.
In the indoor market, the sellers keep the fish fresh by using aquariums and keeping the fish alive. In the outdoor markets most of the fish sold are dried.
Outisde the main building, you can see all the fishing boats going in and out the port. The smell of the sea, the fish at the market, and all the locals enjoying delicious seafood make Jagalchi a unique attraction in Busan.
Take your time to explore the market because each part of the market offers more or less different products. Do not hesitate to go closer to the port by passing behind the outdoor stalls. If the weather is good, vendors dry fish on wooden planks at the back of their stall. It’s very traditional. Just be careful with the smell of fish. It is strong, very strong!
But who are they?
Most of the people who sell fish there are women, so called Jagalchi Ajumma, Ajumma meaning married women or middle-aged women.
They take care of the preparation of the fish and the sale. They cut, resize and prepare the fish on the spot.
The Jagalchi Ajumma are part of the attraction when visiting the market. The ones who know a few English words will normally approach you to make you try some of their fresh sashimi. Go for it!
Fish and seafood
If it’s the first time you visit Korea, you will be surprised with all the variety of fish and seafood. Some of them we tried in Korea for the first time. Some have really strange shapes which we never saw before. Of course, like anywhere else in Korea, you will find a huge amount of octopus. But also expects squids, eels, sea urchin, oyster and so much more.
A vist to Jagalchi Market without eating some seafood wouldn’t be complete. Head to the 2nd floor of the indoor market. There you will find many different seafood restaurants. Most of them serve similar dishes. The menu is written in English.
For us, one of the Jagalchi Ajumma recommended us some fish. We ate 2 grilled fish, and 1 seafood pancake… And it was soooo good ! Of course we had to have it with some soju, even though it was lunch time… It’s part of the experience, isn’t it?
In Korea it is very common to eat the fresh fish sashimi style. You usually pick your fish alive and the Ajumma will prepare it for you. If you like sashimi, you are in the right place!
How to get to Jagalchi Fish Market in Busan?
To reach the Jagalchi fish market, the easiest way is to take the metro and exit at Jagalchi station. From the metro station to the market, walk 5 minutes.
If you prefer to travel by bus, no problem, there are many buses which reach Jagalchi Market (5-1, 6, 7, 8, 9, 9-1, 11, 17, 26, 27, 30, 41, 61, 70, 71, 87, 103, 113, 134)
Useful information about Jagalchi Market
The Jagalchi market is open every day (except the first and third Tuesday of the month).
The market is open all day until the evening.
Address of Jagalchi Market: 52, Jagalchihaean-ro, Jung-gu, Busan-si (부산광역시 중구 자갈치해안로 52 (남포동4가))
Other things to visit in Busan near Jagalchi Fish Market
BIFF Square has helped to make Busan an international cultural city. Indeed, this square hosts the Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) – considered the most important in Asia – and has developed as the cultural center of the city, with its many cinemas, theaters and, like Hollywood , handprints of renowned artists on the floor.
This is also the place to be for some amazing street food, and feast on ssiat hotteok, one of Busan’s specialties.
Gamcheon Culture Village
Gamcheon Culture Village was one of our highlight during our trip to Busan. It is a pretty colorful village on the outskirts of Busan, with small houses leaning against a mountain.
Gamcheon has long been a refuge for the poor. It was not until the 1990s that it benefited from a huge renovation project: artists painted the walls, others installed works of art. Today, the village attracts many tourists, who appreciate its picturesque side and the lovely views of the coastline.
Full post about Gamcheon here.
Huinnyeoul Culture Village
Although not mentioned in most guidebooks, Huinnyeoul Culture Village is one of our favorite place in Busan. This coastal village is full of colors, gorgeous cafés facing the sea, and many colorful houses with beachy vibes.
Huinnyeoul village is directly by the sea, whereas Gamcheong is on the side of a mountain.
This coastside village is super beautiful not only due to the ocean scenery, but also because it has a ton of beautiful murals, that make perfect instagram shots! They have a small museum to introduce all the movies and dramas that were filmed here, so a must-visit if you are in Busan !
Best hotels near Jagalchi Fish Market
If you wish to focus more on the city of Busan and see Jagalchi Fish Market, BIFF, Oryukdo, Taejongdae and of course Gamcheon Culture Village etc. then we recommend staying at Seomyeon shopping district.
IBIS Hotel in Seomyeon
For first time travelers to Busan who wish to maximize your time visiting the city, then we recommend a stay at Ibis Hotel located very near Seomyeon the most entertaining area of Busan. From there you can easily reach Jagalchi Market or Gamcheon Village.
The hotel has good value for money and serve a delicious breakfast. You can book here.
Lotte Hotel Busan
This hotel has an excellent location. It’s perfect for shopping, there are duty free shops, casino and Lotte mall all connected. You can also try various selections of food at the underground food avenue. Lottel Hotel Busan is at the heart of everything.
You can also enjoy the rooftop pool with the great view of the city.
In conclusion about Jagalchi Fish Market
To immerse yourself in the Korean culture, a visit to Jagalchi Market in Busan is a must. Jagalchi is also the largest and most famous fish market in Korea. Hence, make sure to add it in your to-do list when visiting South Korea.
We had a very good time strolling through the alleys of the markets and also eating delicious and fresh fish there. After our visit we walked across the road to the BIFF Square which was super convenient.
We hope that you enjoyed our post. Feel free to leave a comment if you have other questions about Jagalchi Market.
For more posts related to South Korea, check out this link here.
SOUTH KOREA: best things to do in South Korea: here
GAMCHEON CULTURE VILLAGE: here
HAEUNDAE: the most famous beach in South Korea: here
HAEDONG YONGGUNGSA, the most beautiful temple in Korea: here
BUSAN: best things to see during your visit: here
GEOJE: a gorgeous place to visit easily accessible from Busan: here
WHEN? Best time to visit South Korea: here
MOKPO: a port city in the south, worth a visit: here
SEOUL: Full guide for the best things to do in the city: here
JEJU: All you need to know before you go to Jeju: here
ADVENTURES: top adventures within 1h from Seoul: here