Among expats living in South Korea, Pohang is often known as ‘the place with the hands’. It sounds strange I know, but let me explain.
Pohang is a port city on the northeast coast of South Korea. It’s a cool city with the perks of having several beaches along its shoreline and plenty of good fresh seafood available.
Many people go to Pohang to visit a small fishing village called Homigot, the most easterly point in South Korea and the first place you can observe the sunrise. It’s a popular New Years Eve spot. The village has been developed in recent years to garner more interest in the area and has a particularly special sculpture called the Hands of Harmony. Although a little disturbing at first glance, look out to the sea from Homigot Sunrise Square and you will find a giant bronze hand rising from the ocean. It’s highly impressive and a real marvel to look at, despite it having become a place for seagulls to hang out.
There is a corresponding hand in the actual square itself and they both face each other. The meaning behind the hands is an important thing to consider when visiting as they symbolize ‘the struggle and spirit of all Koreans to pursue a better life’. There isn’t much information available about the true meaning of the hands so you can interpret them as you see fit, personally I saw the sculptures as a symbol for hopes of unification between the two Koreas.
I find ocean sculptures so engaging and they often have an addictive kind of mystery about them. It’s the contrast between art’s meaning and nature’s harsh realities that makes for something significant and ever changing. While in Homigot I couldn’t help but compare this artwork with Antony Gormley’s ‘Another Place‘ sculptures on Crosby Beach in Liverpool, England.
Other features of Homigot include the New Millennium Memorial Hall, a huge building of impressive circular architecture which is definitely worth a visit. As well as some interesting exhibitions on the history of Pohang, this building has an observatory on the top floor allowing for breathtaking views of the coastline and surrounding countryside.
As for the Lighthouse, claiming to be the largest in Asia, I’d give it a miss since the exhibition features no English and you can’t go inside the lighthouse itself.
I stayed in Homigot for lunch. Sadly I’m not a fan of seafood so it wasn’t the best place for me to try the local delicacy as I usually would try to do. Instead the sunny weather encouraged me to grab a beer from the convenience store and then I opted for a nice cafe called Esperanza on the beach front where I found the rare opportunity to eat an actual chicken sandwich (yes I took a photo of a sandwich, seriously you don’t find sandwiches like this in South Korea very often, I was in my element).
Homigot is an interesting place for a day out during your time in South Korea. It’s a beautiful village and the sculptures are truly mesmerizing and worthwhile seeing. Visit during the summer months and enjoy a day by the sea with the wind in your hair and the fresh smell of sea air filling your lungs. Take in the magnificent sight of the Hands of Harmony and let your mind wander at the mystery and the meaning behind them.
(Visit my Facebook page to watch a video I made from the pier in Homigot).
How to get to Homigot
Take a coach from your city to Pohang. Outside Pohang Terminal get on the number 200 bus to Guryongpo (end of the line). At Guryongpo take the local Homigot bus. From Daegu the journey took me about 2 hours.
Have you been to Homigot or is it on your list of places to visit? Share your thoughts below.