It’s Okay To Not Be Okay became the talk of the town even before its release as it marks hallyu heartthrob Kim Soo Hyun’s much-anticipated return to the small screen after his lengthy military service.
Starring on the show as Moon Gang-tae, he is a psychiatric ward employee who gets tangled up in a complicated romance with Go Mun-yeong (Seo Yea Ji), a bestselling children’s author suffering from an antisocial personality disorder.
The show has all the ingredients that make a great K-Drama—a talented cast with two leads that exude fiery chemistry, a bold premise that tackles mental health issues, and a unique take on visuals, playing with animation (for a moment upon catching the pilot episode, we thought we were watching a Tim Burton movie in Korean!) and various types of imagery to tell the story—something you don’t see too often in South Korean dramas.
But, perhaps, one of the things that really make It’s Okay To Not Be Okay stand out among the shows currently airing today (or on Netflix) is its excellent choice in filming locations, with dreamy and surreal settings. From charming cafes to a fairytale-esque bridge, we list down some of the most memorable filming locations we’ve seen in the drama—so far, that is!
Cafe Sanida (사니다카페)
Let’s start with what seems to be the iconic centerpiece of the show—the cursed castle that is the childhood home of Mun-yeong. In reality, though, the place is anything but cursed or haunted. It’s a quaint cafe sitting on top of a mountain with a rooftop that treats guests to lush vistas of surrounding mountains. To augment the mystical vibe of the location for the drama, a portion of the castle’s exterior—including the gate and the facade—was built on the grounds of the cafe and the rest of what you see on the show is all CGI. How cool is that?
Secret Blue (시크릿블루베이커리카페)
If you’ve been wondering how OK Psychiatric Hospital could look so pretty with all its classic interiors, well-maintained gardens, and fantastic coastal views, it’s because its filming site is actually a cafe! Yep, another cafe on this list that has been realistically transformed into a totally different place for the show. Open daily from 10 am to 6 pm (7 pm on weekends), this cafe overlooking the sea is a pretty chill place to enjoy some cake paired with coffee or tea—whatever you feel like getting on your visit, really.
Address: 226 Ayajin, Toseong-myeon, Goseong County, Gangwon Province
Triple Street (트리플스트리트)
That scene in which Gang-tae’s older brother Sang-tae (Oh Jung Se) enjoys a musical number-like moment on his way to Mun-yeong’s fan sign was filmed at Triple Street—a popular (and undeniably Instagram-worthy) shopping street in Incheon. Tagged as “the most splendid walkway in Korea,” it is comprised of three concepts to accommodate its visitors’ various interests. The entire complex features a wide range of shops, an entertainment plaza, a sports field, lawns, and even an observatory with a view of the Songdo skyline.
Address: 33-1 Songdogwahak-ro 16-beon-gil, Songdo-dong, Yeonsu-gu, Incheon, South Korea
Website: Triple Street
How To Get Here: Take Incheon Subway Line 1 to Technopark Station, Exit 2. Triple Street is a 9-minute walk from the station.
Juncheon Seopdali Bridge (주천강 섶다리)
A show like It’s Okay To Not Be Okay makes use of a lot of whimsical elements to complete its fairytale-like concept. That includes locations like Juncheon Seopdali Bridge—a seasonal bridge across the Jucheon River in the village of Panun that appears briefly on the show as flashbacks of the main characters. Why seasonal? Well, since the bridge is made with logs, pine needles, and soil, it tends to get worn out over time, making it unsafe for use in the long run. It is rebuilt every year around early winter and is to be used up until summer only, just before the rainy season looms over.
Address: Although this bridge is a popular attraction for being a K-Drama filming site, it doesn’t have an exact address. However, the closest landmark to it is Panun Shelter, 2141 Songhakjucheon-ro, Panun-ri, Jucheon-myeon, Yeongwol-gun, Gangwon-do, South Korea
IK Light House (일광전구 라이트하우스)
In episode 1, Mun-yeong is seen enjoying a plate of rare steak and wine in solitude when a young girl and her mother approached her for an autograph. That scene was filmed at IK Light House—a place that has quite a story to tell. It’s a building over six decades old that was once an obstetrics clinic. Long abandoned, it was remodeled by lighting company Ilkwang Lightings into a cafe and showroom as an effort to promote their products by giving their customers the ultimate brand experience. IK Light House was opened in 2018 and received the Good Design Award 2019 under the category “Construction/Space Design For Commercial Use.”
Address: 8-1 Chamoejeon-ro 174beon-gil, Dongincheon-dong, Jung-gu, Incheon, South Korea
How To Get Here: Take Seoul Subway Line 1 to Dongicheon Station, Exit 3. IK Light House is an 11-minute walk from the station.
Sogeumsan Suspension Bridge (소금산출렁다리)
One of the most popular tourist destinations in the city of Wonju in Gangwon province, Sogeumsan Suspension Bridge is known for being the longest and largest pedestrian bridge in South Korea. It boasts a length of 200 meters, a height of 100 meters, and a width of 1.5 meters. On the show, it’s where Gang-tae takes Mun-yeong to unwind after he got suspended at work and also because she “wanted to see the mountains and fields.” Little did he know, the bridge would challenge the cold and seemingly dauntless heroine’s fear of high and wobbly walkways.
Address: 12 Sogeumsan-gil, Jijeong-myeon, Wonju-si, Gangwon-do, South Korea
How To Get Here: Take Bus No. 52 from the Express/Intercity Busan Terminal Bus Stop in front of Wonju Intercity Bus Terminal, and alight at Wolun Bus Stop or Railbike Bus Stop.
A lot of the scenes in It’s Okay To Not Be Okay are filmed in Gangwon, a mountainous, forested province east of Seoul that is especially known for its ski resorts. It is also a must-visit destination among K-Drama fans, as it is home to Nami Island, the nearby Petite France, and Gangchon Rail Park—all of which are well-known filming sites for drama series and variety shows.