Colorful lights illuminating a turtle ship at night over a walking bridge

1500s Turtle Ship Bridge in Goseong and Korea’s War Hero

Address: 623-17, Danghangman-ro, Maam-myeon, Goseong-gun

Goseong’s coast has a history with one of Korea’s most celebrated war heroes and the turtle ships that were used to annihilate Japanese fleets.

Admiral Yi Sun-sin was undefeated in every recorded battle of 1592 against the Japanese, despite being often outnumbered or disadvantaged (one battle was 333 ships to 13!). He improved upon the design of the turtle ships that he commanded, which we will look at in a moment. Today he is still on the 100 Korean won coin.

The map below shows many battles in Korea’s southern coast from Goseong to Busan. One of these is the Battle of Dangangpo, where the Goseong Dinosaur World Expo is today. While famous for the dinosaur theme park, it also has an Yi Sun-sin themed area too.

Map of Admiral Yi Sun-sin's naval campaigns in 1592
Credit: By Cpark14 – I created this map in Adobe Illustrator for a class., CC BY-SA 3.0

However in this post, we will look at a pedestrian bridge that crosses part of the Danghangpo Bay, where the battle was fought, featuring a model of the turtle ship overhead.

A pedestrian bridge with a turtle ship illuminated colorfully at night

While it’s certainly an interesting experience at the Danghangpo Yi Sun-sin themed tourism complex, this little pedestrian bridge requires very little time for a short stroll at any time and is free.

The illuminated archway entrance to a pedestrian bridge at night

The lights continuously change colors at night, making for a dynamic color show as you make your way to the turtle ship.

A pedestrian bridge lit up in blue with a turtle ship just ahead over the bridge

The overhead model of the turtle ship, of course, gives people an idea of what it was like. It is 150 meters long and 3 meters wide.

The rear of the turtle ship above a pedestrian bridge with two painted lion faces

The turtle ships are named as such for the way they are shaped. The Japanese relied on boarding enemy ships and specialized in hand-to-hand combat. The turtle ships were designed this way so that they couldn’t be boarded.

Colorful lights illuminating a turtle ship at night over a walking bridge

The dragon head at the front of the ship held up to four canons. Together with its fierce appearance, its ability to emit a smokescreen from the dragon head served as a form of psychological warfare.

In the photo below, you can better see the metal spikes at the top of the ship to also thwart boarding.

A turtle ship with metal spikes on a pedestrian bridge

Back in March 23 of 2018, literally the same day as stepping off the plane from America to Korea, and the first day I came to Goseong, I found myself walking inside reproductions of turtle ships. However these were in Tongyeong, about 25 minutes from Goseong.

Noah and I walked at the Goseong bridge again on a cold, windy, cloudy day in March 2022.

The Goseong Turtle Ship pedestrian bridge on a cloudy day

Standing on the bridge looking East, you have a view of where the Battle of Danghangpo was fought in 1592.

Danghangpo Bay in low tide on a cloudy day
Danghangpo Bay in low tide

We found a bunch of birds in the same area, including Mongolian vultures, ducks, and what looked like a white egret.

Here is a quick overview of the Yi Sun-sin themed area at the Danghangpo Tourist Resort:

Next to a life-size model of a turtle boat is a little TV room in the shape of a helmet where visitors can watch narrated animations and documentaries that tell the stories of Yi Sun-sin. There is also a Danghangpo Naval Battle Hall which has all kinds of miniature turtle boat models and detailed information. Across from the Hall is a memorial monument.

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