Gangwon Province (South Korea)

Coordinates: 37°30′N 128°15′E / 37.500°N 128.250°E / 37.500; 128.250

For the province in North Korea that bears the same name but different romanisation, see Kangwon Province (North Korea).
Gangwon Province
Korean transcription(s)
  McCune‑Reischauer Kangwŏndo
  Revised Romanization Gangwon-do


Country South Korea
Region Gwandong
(Yeongseo: western Gangwon; Yeongdong: eastern Gangwon)
Capital Chuncheon
Subdivisions 7 cities; 11 counties
  Governor Choi Moon-soon
  Total 20,569 km2 (7,942 sq mi)
Area rank 2nd
Population (October, 2014)
  Total 1,542,147[1]
  Rank 8th
  Density 75.4/km2 (195/sq mi)
Metropolitan Symbols
  Flower Royal azalea[2]
  Tree Korean pine
  Bird Red-crowned crane
Dialect Gangwon
(Yeongseo: western Gangwon dialect; Yeongdong: eastern Gangwon dialect)

Gangwon-do (Korean pronunciation: [kaŋwʌndo]) is a province of South Korea, with its capital at Chuncheon. Before the division of Korea in 1945, Gangwon and its North Korean neighbor Kangwŏn formed a single province.

In 2010 actor So Ji-sub was appointed a goodwill ambassador for tourism for Gangwon Province.[3]


Gangwon-do was one of the Eight Provinces of Korea during the Joseon Dynasty. The province was formed in 1395, and derived its name from the names of the principal cities of Gangneung (강릉; 江陵) and the provincial capital Wonju (원주; 原州).

In 1895 Gangwon-do was replaced by the Districts of Chuncheon (Chuncheon-bu; 춘천부; 春川府) in the west and Gangneung (Gangneung-bu; 강릉부; 江陵府) in the east. (Wonju became part of Chungju District.)

In 1896 Korea was redivided into thirteen provinces, and the two districts were merged to re-form Gangwon-do Province. Although Wonju rejoined Gangwon-do province, the provincial capital was moved to Chuncheon, where it remains today.

In 1945 Gangwon-do (along with the rest of Korea) was divided by the 38th parallel north in 1945 into U.S. American and Soviet zones of occupation in the south and north respectively, which led to Wonsan joining the province's northern half in 1946 to serve as its administrative center. In 1948, the southern half of the province became part of the new Republic of Korea. As a result of the Korean War Armistice Agreement of 1953, the boundary between the South and North Korean portions of the province was shifted northward to the Military Demarcation Line.



Gangwon-do is bounded on the west by Gyeonggi-do province, on the south by the provinces of Chungcheongbuk-do and Gyeongsangbuk-do.To the north lies the province's North Korean counterpart, Kangwŏn province. The province's landscape is dominated by the Taebaek Mountains (Taebaek Sanmaek) which almost reach the sea. As a consequence the coast is steep.


Gangwon-do and its North Korean counterpart Kangwŏn are together referred to as the Gwandong region. The region west of the Taebaek Mountains is called Yeongseo, while the region east of the mountains is called Yeongdong. The term "Yeongdong" is frequently used in reference to transportation services from Seoul, the national capital. Thus, one might catch a bus or train on the "Yeongdong Line," or drive to Gangneung on the Yeongdong Expressway.


The area of Gangwon-do is 20,569 km2 (7,941.74 sq mi),[4] of which four fifths are woodland. Edible alpine plants and mushrooms are harvested in these forests. The province is renowned for its agricultural produce, in particular potatoes and fish (cuttlefish and pollock). Mineral resources of the province include iron, coal, fluorite, limestone and tungsten. There are hydroelectric and thermoelectric power plants.

Seoraksan, one of the best-known mountains of Gangwon-do.


The main cities in the province are Chuncheon (the provincial capital), Gangneung, Sokcho, Wonju, and Donghae.


Seoraksan (mountain; 1,708 m) and Mt. Odae (1,563 m) with its ski run, attract a large number of national tourists. Both are located in national parks in the Taebaek Mountains. South Korea's largest limestone cave, Hwanseongul, receives over one million visitors a year.


The climate of Gangwon-do is influenced by the latitude. In summer along with the higher temperature and there is high humidity, but in winter the weather can be very cold owing to high pressure from the east of the Asian continent.

The climate of Gangwon-do can have many differences between Yeongseo and Yeongdong. Yeongdong's average temperature is higher than Yeongseo's, and Yeongseo's average amount of precipitation is lower than Yeongdong's. Violent winds are common in winter and spring, so Gangwon-do's average wind speed is faster than in other provinces. Sometimes huge amounts of snow can fall, especially in Yeongdong.


Religion in Gangwon (2005)[5]

  Not religious (52.3%)
  Buddhism (23%)
  Protestantism (15.6%)
  Catholicism (9.1%)

According to the census of 2005, of the people of Gangwon 23% follow Buddhism and 24.7% follow Christianity (15.6% Protestantism and 9.1% Catholicism).[5] 52.3% of the population is mostly not religious or follow Muism and other indigenous religions.

Administrative divisions

Gangwon-do is divided into 7 cities (si) and 11 counties (gun). The names below are given in English, hangul, and hanja.

Map # Name Hangul Hanja Population (2012)[2] Subdivisions
1 Wonju 원주시 原州市 326,321 1 eup, 8 myeon, 16 haengjeong-dong
2 Chuncheon (Capital city) 춘천시 春川市 276,131 1 eup, 9 myeon, 15 haengjeong-dong
3 Gangneung 강릉시 江陵市 219,274 1 eup, 7 myeon, 13 haengjeong-dong
4 Donghae 동해시 東海市 94,440 10 haengjeong-dong
5 Sokcho 속초시 束草市 84,279 8 haengjeong-dong
6 Samcheok 삼척시 三陟市 73,194 2 eup, 6 myeon, 4 haengjeong-dong
7 Taebaek 태백시 太白市 49,756 8 haengjeong-dong
8 Hongcheon County 홍천군 洪川郡 70,401 1 eup, 9 myeon
9 Cheorwon County 철원군 鐵原郡 48,469 4 eup, 7 myeon
10 Hoengseong County 횡성군 橫城郡 45,104 1 eup, 8 myeon
11 Pyeongchang County 평창군 平昌郡 43,912 1 eup, 7 myeon
12 Jeongseon County 정선군 旌善郡 40,240 4 eup, 5 myeon
13 Yeongwol County 영월군 寧越郡 40,439 2 eup, 7 myeon
14 Inje County 인제군 麟蹄郡 32,769 1 eup, 5 myeon
15 Goseong County 고성군 高城郡 26,753 2 eup, 4 myeon
16 Yangyang County 양양군 襄陽郡 28,053 1 eup, 5 myeon
17 Hwacheon County 화천군 華川郡 25,194 1 eup, 4 myeon
18 Yanggu County 양구군 楊口郡 23,039 1 eup, 4 myeon




List of the Gangwon-origin food famous among the nation.

See also


  2. 1 2 인구 및 세대 (in Korean). Gangwon Province. Retrieved 10 June 2013.
  3. "So Ji-sub to Promote Tourism in Gangwon Province". Chosun Ilbo. 3 September 2010. Retrieved 6 July 2012.
  4. "Natural Environment". Gangwon Province. Retrieved 18 March 2013.
  5. 1 2 2005 Census - Religion Results
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