Located just about 40 minutes from Seoul, traffic notwithstanding, the tiny city of Icheon (not to be confused with Incheon) is well known throughout the country for its traditional pottery. Beginning during the Joseon Dynasty, the village has been the center of Korean ceramics for over 500 years, thanks to the easy availability of clay and materials nearby. It was one of the country's three centers of celadon production during the Goryeo Dynasty as well. Since the 1960s, the city has also been the home of the Korean ceramics art movement. In fact, some of Icheon's residents are designated "living cultural treasures." The honor goes to those who are working hard to preserve traditional Korean methods for making pottery. Presently, there are about 80 pottery factories and over 300 active kilns.
Considered the most fertile land on the whole peninsula, Icheon is also known for its peaches and most of all its rice. This was traditionally where food for the royal family was grown. And it is, indeed, some of the tastiest rice you're likely to find, so indulge yourself. The rice, which is served with over 15 varieties of banchan, will hardly leave a dent on your wallet. After a morning spent shopping for ceramics, you can enjoy a lunch of Icheon ssal bap, literally meaning "rice meal" (ssal means "rice," usually uncooked, and bap means "cooked rice" or "meal" ) and an afternoon soaking in a hot spring or the water park (but don't go when you're full).