Deoksugung Palace has held a guard changing ceremony since 1996 after thorough historical research by leading historians. The ceremony, which is held in front of Daehanmun Gate of Deoksugung Palace, is a tradition similar to the Changing of the Guards at Buckingham Palace and offers a rare opportunity to experience royal culture. The royal gate is opened and closed at pre-determined times, and the gatekeepers in charge of guard duty and patrols hold a shift ceremony three times a day.
The Royal Guard Changing Ceremony is a highly recommended event for tourists. It is held three times a day, with each ceremony following the same procedure and lasts for forty minutes to an hour, and the ceremony is free of charge. There are no ceremonies on Mondays as well as on severely cold or hot days.
As the ceremony begins, the changing of the guards commences replete with traditional musical instruments, and exchanges a password for verification. An eight-minute guard ceremony ensues, followed by a seven-minute change ceremony, and finally a patrol that completes the ceremony. The procedure takes a dramatic turn when 18 guards in six official positions beat a drum and bellow some orders.
The Royal Guard Changing Ceremony is a great opportunity to experience a rare traditional scene. The guards’ splendid costumes, with their brilliant primary colors, are a pleasure to view. Once the ceremony is over, visitors can take pictures with the gatekeepers.