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The Love Castle

When planning a trip to Gyeongju, one usually considers the famous historical sites such as Bulguksa, Seogurum or the National Musuem.  But a not-to-be-missed tourist site is the Love Castle. Styled after the famous Love Museum on Jeju Island, the Love Castle provides both historical and contemporary artworks celebrating the act of love.

From ancient Korean pottery and bronze through the Joseon period and on to today’s  somewhat sexually repressed culture, the Love Castle presents love actually, as it happens and as it was portrayed. They have a large assemblage of artifacts from around Korea but also from other cultures around the world, which just goes to show you that there isn’t much of anything under the sun that’s new. You likely won’t find anything useful if you’re looking for how-to information. But then, in the internet age, if you haven’t found what you’re looking for already you aren’t trying hard enough.

Pottery from nearby Japan shows love is nothing new

The Love Castle carries an eclectic array of sexual artwork, some of it quite beautiful and some of it very sophomoric. Some of the artwork is stunningly beautiful and tastefully done, while some, well, isn’t. I found some of it to be a little like middle-school boys’ room wall art. It is can sometimes be faithful reproductions of the real thing, but more often garish,  oversized  and fantasy-laced. But considering how outwardly bridled the Korean culture is with regards to sex relative to western cultures, it’s not surprising to see it manifest itself in all its gaudy, bawdy and tawdry forms.

Sexual tastes differ, but I found this to be one of the more tasteful pieces of art (pardon the puns)

Despite the sometimes low-brow art, it’s an enjoyable way to spend an hour or two on a lazy afternoon. 9k won will buy you a ticket to the museum which features indoor and outdoor exhibits such as the Car Sex Zone and the Naughty Valley. At the end of the tour there is the must-have of every musuem: the gift shop. As you might imagine, this shop is filled with all of the toys adults these days might wish to include in their bedroom (or car) fun. The gift-shop alone is worth the trip as many of these items are nearly impossible to find anywhere else.

Some of the artwork is fun. And just like the girls, I did not want to see it either.

Cutesy, stylized genitalia is pervasive in the museum

I found it hard not to enjoy washing my hands when sidling up to this sink in the mens bathroom

Look for this sign on the right of the highway to find the Love Castle

To get to the Love Castle, take Highway 7 from Ulsan to GyeongJu. Follow the signs up road 11 from Bulguksa Station towards Bomun Resort. The Love Castle is near the folkcraft village and Shilla Arts and Science Museum and across from Honors Country Club.  The train to Bulguksa Station is a nice alternative to the bus, but be sure and get a taxi at the station as they are hard to catch elsewhere in the city.

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