Looking for an area to live in Busan? Our new series looks at locals in Busan giving the inside scoop on what goes on in their neighborhood.
In our ninth installment, we talked to Japanese native Aoki Mayumi about the ins and outs of life in LG Metro City.
About the Area
LG Metro City, located in Nam-gu, is the largest apartment complex in the city with an amazing 80 buildings and 7,374 apartments.
The massive area used to be a landfill before a 20-year reclamation plan allowed apartments to be built on the land in five different sections.
At the time of its opening in 2001, it had become the most expensive place to live in Busan, with its 92-pyeong apartments being the highest priced in the city.
With its large residential and commercial areas, the area is also known as a great place for education, having a nice residential area, and leisure facilities such as walking trails, jogging paths, tennis and badminton courts, as well as golf simulators and facilities for children’s education
It’s also has very accessible public transportation which will also improve when the new tram is completed in the next few years.
Name: Aoki Mayumi
Where are you originally from? Tokyo, Japan
What area do you live in? LG Metro City, Nam-gu
How long have you lived there? 10 years.
Why did you choose there? At that time when we purchased our apartment, the value was quite good. There is a large community of people and it had schools within the apartment complex which made it easier for our kids to get home quickly and easily.
What kind of people would you say tend to live in your area? LG Metro City at one point was a bit more upscale when it was built, so there is everything from doctors and dentists, businessmen and women, and families both young and old.
There’s a variety of sizes to the apartments, from 25-pyeong to 92-pyeong which are some of the largest in the city.
Do you know any of the neighbors or anyone in your building complex? I know quite a few of the families through our children, and there are some social clubs that people join which makes it easier to meet people. I’ve met a few people who can speak Japanese and English, so I don’t always have to rely on speaking in Korean.
We also upgraded to a larger size apartment about four years ago, so we have also met people in our new building also.
Before COVID-19, we were splitting our time between Korea and Japan, so this has been a more extended stay than I am used to.
What are the best local spots in your area? There are some nice parks built within the complex that are nice to take an afternoon or evening stroll and they are especially pretty in the spring with the flowers starting to bloom.
Across the street, there is a larger sports park complex that has many kinds of equipment and fields for people to exercise, and also just down from there is the entrance to Igidae Park which is a beautiful park to go for a hike or nature walk.
I also like taking a walk along the pathways in front of the Yongho Quay along the riverside promenade where many people like to play badminton or just relax.
What kind of stores are within a 5-minute walk to your front door? There are a variety of shops, bakeries, and medium-sized supermarkets around which allows you to get the basic necessities, but if you want to go to a larger mart, then Mega Mart is just a five-minute drive away.
What’s the view like from your living room? Our view looks over a courtyard and parking lot which is quite lovely in the spring when the colors start to come out. With so many apartments in this complex, there are times when it can be a bit noisy with kids playing instruments or just from the number of people outside.
Are there any restaurants, shops nearby in case you need a taste of home? Not particularly any Japanese food that I would recommend, but I usually cook most of that at home. The new Lotte Mart Premium in the W Building does have some products that I can pick up, but I usually will tend to eat more Korean food when I am here.
I also usually stock up when I come back here, or I can order online for things that I can’t find.
Any recommendations on local restaurants in your area? I really like Table D’Hote in W Square that has a really nice brunch menu and is quite tasty.
Also, there’s a nearby fishing village that sells roasted clams and grilled eel which is quite interesting. It’s like taking a visit to the older style of Busan without all the glitzy stores and shops.
Are there any grocery shopping places nearby? Yes, there are some small marts like a Home Plus Express to pick up smaller items, and there was also another medium-sized supermarket that was taken down about a year ago so they could build another apartment building across from the post office.
There is also the bigger Lotte Mart Premium in W Square which is also very good to pick up things without driving.
Where could you pop out for a quick drink? I’m not much of a drinker so I couldn’t say a place specifically, but Gwangalli and the Pukyoung/Kyungsung area are both accessible within about 10 minutes by public transportation or car and both have lots of places to choose from.
Is it a good area for kids to grow up in? There are two elementary schools, a middle school, and a high school within LG Metro City, which made it very convenient to keep an eye on our kids.
The neighborhood is very safe and there are lots of options to send them to academies to learn new things.
There’s a lot of open spaces and parks nearby for kids to play and because there are so many people who live here, it was quite easy for them to make friends.
Any good hangout spots to recommend? I like to visit coffee shops, and there is a nice place called Roadstar near the XI apartment entrance that has a nice terrace where I like to go because it is surrounded by trees and just has a comfortable atmosphere.
I can also pop into the nearby W Square which has a lot of shopping, dining and has some great places for kids to play.
What are some of the stranger things you’ve seen in the area? With such a large population, things can sometimes get noisy, as they did a few weeks ago when the election campaigning was going on.
How expensive would you rate the area? Housing prices have almost doubled in the past year, making it much more expensive than it used to be. Even though the apartments are nearly 20 years old, it is still a very popular place to live.
Even the rent for smaller apartments has risen a lot to nearly 1 million won per month with a large deposit.
Would you recommend your area to live in? I personally like living here, but if you are a person who is looking for quiet, this might not be the best option.
LG Metro City is the largest apartment complex in the city, so there is always something going on within the community and there are always deliveries coming and going.
It is, though, a good place for families as there is more of a larger community that tends to help each other out.
As I mentioned, before COVID-19, we were spending time back and forth from Japan, so it was also quite convenient to come back here without worrying too much about the empty apartment.
If there was any other place I could live in Busan it would be: Close to the water. Perhaps something a little quieter out towards Songdo where they are building a lot of newer apartments that have great views of the sea.