Are you looking for a good period K-drama? Here’s the list of top 25 historical Korean dramas for you! If you are here, you are either a big fan of historical K-dramas or a newbie to this series genre. In both cases, this list will help you find your next unforgettable favorite TV show! Don’t forget to leave a comment below and vote on the poll – your opinion/recommendations can help others!
Top 25 Historical Korean Dramas:
- Moon Lovers (20 episodes)
- Empress Ki (51 episodes)
- The Princess’ Man (24 episodes)
- Queen In Hyun’s Man (16 episodes)
- Moon Embracing the Sun (20 episodes)
- Dong Yi – 2010 (60 episodes)
- Iljimae (20 episodes)
- Jang Ok Jung (24 episodes)
- Jumong (Prince of the Legend) (81 episodes)
- Faith (24 episodes)
- Scholar Who Walks the Night (20 episodes)
- Hwarang – (20 episodes)
- Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People (30 episodes)
- Queen for 7 Days – (20 episodes)
- The Emperor: Owner of the Mask (Ruler Master of the Masks) (40 episodes)
- Mirror of the Witch (Secret Healer) (20 episodes)
- Six Flying Dragons (50 episodes)
- My Sassy Girl (40 episodes)
- My Country (16 episodes)
- The Nokdu Flower (48 episodes)
- 100 Day My Prince (16 episodes)
- My Sunshine (24 episodes)
- Kingdom (6 episodes)
- The King In Love (40 episodes)
- The Crowned Clown (16 episodes)
25. The Crowned Clown
The historical K-drama is set in the Joseon period. The story revolves around a power struggle of King Yi Heon. One day, a clown takes the place of the King – he looks like him! You will witness many of his adventures and struggles. Not only he is afraid that the truth will be revealed but he also falls in love!
The Crowned Clown is adapted from “Masquerade”, a story inspired by “The Prince and the Pauper” by Mark Twain. You will see so many twists and turns in this drama, that it will continuously keep you on the edge of your seat! At the same time, it’s not a cheesy rom-com. On the contrary, there’s a lot of politics in this one. So, if you are looking for this kind of series, give it a shot!
- Yeo Jin Goo as Clown Ha Seon | King Yi Heon
- Lee Se Young as Queen Yoo So Woon
- Kim Sang Kyung as Lee Gyu
24. The King In Love
This period Korean drama transfers you to the Goryeo period. Outstanding cinematography, detailed costumes, and design help it! It centers on a tragic love triangle between the king, his only one loyal best friend, and a girl they both fell in love with. It’s a love triangle – the feelings are a real roller-coaster, as the lady loves both men. If you love this kind of dramas, look no further and watch The King In Love!
- Im Shi Wan as Wang Won
- Im Yoon Ah as Eun San
- Hong Jong Hyun as Wang Rin
This historical Korean drama is another series set in the Joseon period. It starts with the rumors spreading that the King has died from smallpox. The story centers on Crown Prince – he is labeled a traitor by his enemies. The Prince wants to get to know the truth behind what happened to his father. That’s why he looks for the doctor who treated his father. But unfortunately, he gets stuck in a village where a terrifying disease is spreading.
Do you want to see political conflicts, suspense, action, many plot twists? The drama Kingdom provides not only that, but also breathtaking cinematography, and, what’s even more, zombies!
- Joo Ji Hoon as Lee Chang
- Ryu Seung Ryong as Jo Hak Joo
- Bae Doo Na as Seo Bi
- Kim Sung Gyu as Young Shin
22. Mr. Sunshine
Imagine Korea in the 1900s, where activists are fighting for Korea’s independence. Would you want to watch a historical Korean drama that focuses on that topic? If yes, then Mr. Sunshine is your cup of tea. The drama tells a story about a young boy from Joseon who travels to the US. As an adult, he returns home as an American marine officer. Soon he discovers the plans of foreign forces to colonize Korea. Moreover, the romance also takes place in this drama! The romance is a big part of the series, but it’s not the main theme. If you are looking for a mesmerizing story that will move you and are not expecting a fast-paced happy show, this one is for you!
- Lee Byung Hun as Choi Yoo Jin
- Kim Tae Ri as Go Ae Shin
- Kim Min Jung as Kudo Hina / Lee Yang Hwa
- Yoo Yeon Seok as Gu Dong Mae
- Byun Yo Han as Kim Hui Sung
21. 100 Day My Prince
The historical Korean series tells the story of the lonely Crown Prince in Joseon. He passes a law according to which all citizens must be married till the age of 28. The story also follows Hong Shim,- a hardworking oldest unmarried woman in her village. One day, the Crown Prince gets injured and temporarily loses his memory. That’s when he and Hong Shin get to know each other. They are forced to marry to avoid punishment. If you want to watch a K-drama with enough of everything to keep you entertained, dive into the K-drama 100 Day My Prince!
- Do Kyung Soo as Crown Prince Lee Yool / Na Won Deuk
- Nam Ji Hyun as Hong Shim / Yoon Yi Seo
- Kim Seon Ho as Jung Jae Yoon
20. The Nokdu Flower
This historical K-drama is set in 1894-1895, during Donghak Peasant Revolution. The drama tells us about two half-brothers fighting on opposite sides of the rebellion. Also, it reveals around a girl who has a dream to become the best merchant in Joseon.
The drama The Nokdu Flower centers on the person’s fight for rights and equality. It’s not about beautiful castles and fairy-tales. The series is based on real historical events, but not on real people – all three main leads and all their families are fictional. Yet, tragedies and heartbreaks are unavoidable here, since the setting is far from fiction.
- Jo Jung Suk as Baek Yi Kang
- Yoon Shi Yoon as Baek Yi Hyun
- Han Ye Ri as Song Ja In
- Choi Moo Sung as Jeon Bong Jun
19. My Country: The New Age
This historical is about the downfall of Goryeo and the beginning of the Joseon period. It’s about how these events affect two best friends. Their opinions on how they see their country makes them aim swords against each other.
My Country: The New Age is a beautifully told story with tragedy, heartbreaks, development of the characters, and astonishing fight scenes.
- Yang Se Jong as Seo Hwi
- Woo Do Hwan as Nam Sun Ho
- Kim Seol Hyun as Han Hee Jae
- Jang Hyuk as Lee Bang Won
18. My Sassy Girl
This period drama is loosely based on the 2001 film of the same title but set in the Joseon period. You will like it if you prefer lighthearted rom-coms, not serious sageuks packed with politics. The series will also astonish you by its beautiful cinematography. The story is about a trouble-making princess and a talented scholar. My Sassy Girl follows their journey to discover a secret that splits the royal family apart.
- Joo Won as Gyun Woo
- Oh Yeon Seo as Princesa Hye Myung
- Lee Jung Shin as Lieutenant Kang Joon Yeong
- Kim Yoon Hye as Jung Da Yeo
17. Six Flying Dragons
The historical Korean drama Six Flying Dragons is one of those heart-wrenching, emotional sageuks that are intense and keep you engaged. It’s written by the same writers who wrote Deep Rooted Tree and Queen Seondeok, so you already know what to expect. The story centers on six characters – six flying dragons. They live at the end of the Goryeo period. Fight scenes, politics, romance, betrayals, and heartbreaks – there’s everything you need for an emotional ride!
- Yoo Ah In as Lee Bang Won
- Kim Myung Min as “Sam Bong” Jung Do Jeon
- Shin Se Kyung as Boon Yi
- Byun Yo Han Ddang Sae/ Lee Bang Ji
- Yoon Kyun Sang as Mu Hyul
- Chun Ho Jin as General Lee Seong Gye
16. Mirror of the Witch
If you like dark mystery mixed with fantasy, you need to check out Mirror of the Witch. It’s not a typical rom-com or sageuk, though there’s some romance.
The story tells about two cursed children – a twin princess and a prince destined to bring death to those who they love or who love them. One evil witch suggests the queen sacrifice the life of one of the children to save at least one of them. The princess is chosen to sacrifice her life for the sake of her brother, as he is the one who is the heir to the throne. Against all odds, she survives. The girl grows up in the forest, not even knowing the truth about her past.
- Yoon Shi Yoon as Heo Jun
- Kim Sae Ron Seo Ri “Princess Yun Hee
15. Ruler: Master of the Masks
Set in the 18th century Joseon, the period K-drama The Emperor: Owner of the Mask (Ruler Master of the Masks) follows a fictional story about a Prince. He wears a mask to protect himself from a hidden organization that tries to control the whole country. So, the Prince can’t even think of going somewhere outside the castle’s walls. One day, he manages to get past those walls and see the real world. That’s when his romantic story begins, and this complicates the things for him even more. Check it out if you want to see an intriguing story with an amazing cast.
- Yoo Seung Ho as Crown Prince Lee Sun
- Kim So Hyun as Han Ga Eun
- Kim Myung Soo as Commoner Lee Sun
- Yoon So Hee as Kim Hwa Geon
14. Queen for 7 Days
The period K-drama Queen for 7 Days is based on the story of the tragic love between Queen Chae Kyung and King Yeok. The parents of Chae Kyung are warned of their daughter’s future – they will experience countless misfortunes if the girl gets involved with the royal family. So, parents send her as far away as they can. Yet, the prophecy doesn’t change from that. Chae Kyung continues to meet the Grand Prince, and the tragedy follows them continuously as well. Things get even worse when the rival for the throne begins. If you love watching complicated tragic romances, you will enjoy this story.
- Park Min Young as Shin Chae Kyung / Queen Dangyeong
- Yeon Woo Jin Yi Yeok / Nak Chun / Prince Jinseongdaegun / King Jungjong
- Lee Dong Gun as Yi Yoong / King Yeonsangun
13. Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People
The historical Korean series Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People tells the story of so-called Korean Robin Hood, Gil Dong. You can see this name in a great number of movies and comics.
This historical drama develops during the time of tyrannical King Yeonsan’s rein. Gil Dong is the first revolutionary activist and hero in the eyes of many people. Born in times when people can’t stand for themselves, he becomes the leader of the smuggler group who steals from the rich to give to the poor.
- Yoon Kyun Sang as Hong Gil Dong
- Chae Soo Bin as Song Ga Ryung
- Kim Ji Suk as Lee Yoong / King Yeonsan Gun
- Lee Ha Nui as Jang Nok Soo
- Shim Hee Sub as Hong Gil Hyun
This series centers on Hwarangs, the most elite men who have all the skills to protect their Silla Kingdom. The story takes us to the 6th century and tells about the life of youth at that time.
If you like complicated political intrigues, you will be disappointed. You will love Hwarang if you are more into simple stories with happy endings, funny scenes, and likable characters.
- Park Seo Joon as Moo Myung / Sun Woo Rang
- Go Ah Ra as Ah Ro
- Park Hyung Shik as Sam Maek Jong / Kin Ji Dwi
11. Scholar Who Walks the Night
If you are looking for an epic fairy tale, you’ve come to the right place! Scholar Who Walks the Night revolves around a scholar, a bookseller, and the Grand Prince who wants to free the country from the evil vampire. The story takes an unexpected twist when the scholar turns himself into a vampire. Yet, he makes everything possible and impossible to hold onto his human side.
- Lee Joon Gi as Kim Sung Yeol
- Lee Yoo Bi as Jo Yang Seon / Seo Jin
- Shim Chang Min as Lee Yoon
- Lee Soo Hyuk as Gwi
- Kim So Eun as Choi Hye Ryung / Lee Myung Hee
If you love time travel tv shows, take a look at this one! Faith is about a woman who accidentally gets transported to the 14th century Goryeo. She is a talented plastic surgeon brought to another era to save the fatally injured queen. First of all, it was the decision of a warrior (you will see the romance here). But the question is will she be able to return to modern times or not?
- Kim Hee Sun as Doctor Yoo Eun Soo
- Lee Min Ho as General Choi Yeong
- Ryu Deok Hwan as King Gong Min
- Park Se Young as Princess Noh Goog
- Yoo Oh Sung as Gi Chul
The historical Korean drama Jumong follows the life of the Goryeo kingdom founder – his life as a prince and the times when he tries to build the whole kingdom. If you are not used to lengthy K-dramas and want to finish it in a few days, you might want to skip this one. Also, if you are looking for a lot of romance, it may disappoint you. This series will be ideal for you if you like sad heart-wrenching moments and realistic battle scenes.
- Song Il Gook as Ju Mong
- Han Hye Jin as Soh Seo No
- Kim Seung Soo as Prince Dae So
8. Jang Ok Jung
This Korean historical series gives us a new perspective on Jang Ok Jung’s life. She is known to be a beautiful concubine, an evil ambitious woman desiring to become a queen. However, this story doesn’t show her evil character, it shows her from a different perspective. So, if you are ready to see that and to dive into romance and difficulties of the palace life, give it a try!
- Yoo Ah In as King Suk Jong
- Kim Tae Hee as Jang Ok Jung
- Hong Soo Hyun as Queen In Hyun
Another story on the list which you can compare to Robin Hood. Ilijimae follows the story of Yong who takes from corrupt officials and gives to the poor. He is named Ilijimae because of the picture of the plum tree branch that he leaves behind every time. His aim is not only to help the poor – he is looking for the owner of the sword. The sword that killed his family. And there’s enough romance too!
- Lee Joon Gi as Geom / Yong / Iljimae
- Han Hyo Joo as Eun Chae
- Lee Young Ah as Bong Soon
- Park Shi Hoo as Shi Hoo / Ja Dol
6. Dong Yi
If you are looking for an enjoyable watch with playful chemistry between two leads, check out Dong Yi. You will dive into the world of Joseon kings (the late period) and the story of Dong Yi, the slave woman. She rises from the lowest class to a top-ranking concubine. If you enjoy lengthy dramas, then it’s definitely for you!
- Han Hyo Joo as Dong Yi / Choi Suk Bin
- Ji Jin Hee as King Suk Jong
- Lee So Yeon as Jang Hui Bin / Jang Ok Jeong
- Bae Soo Bin as Cha Cheon Soo
- Park Ha Sun as Queen In Hyeon
- Jung Jin Young as Seo Yong Gi
5. Moon Embracing the Sun
The Korean drama Moon Embracing the Sun will be a great choice for you if you are in the mood for a touching romantic historical/fantasy K-drama that is quite light on the politics. It’s not your traditional sageuk, but you will enjoy action and heart wrenching scenes.
It tells the romantic story of a shaman and a fictional king. They are destined to be together despite all odds – dark magic and countless political intrigues.
- Han Ga In as Heo Yeon Woo / Wol
- Kim Soo Hyun as Lee Hwon
- Jung Il Woo as Yang Myung
- Kim Min Seo as Yoon Bo Kyung
4. Queen In Hyun’s Man
Here’s one more historical K-drama for those of you who love the time travel theme! Queen In Hyun’s Man dwells not only into the past and present but in both periods at once. There’s the connection between the two periods – a scholar travels 300 years into the future (today’s Seoul) to meet an actress who stars as Queen in Hyun in a television drama. Look no further if the idea of traveling back and forth is interesting to you!
- Ji Hyun Woo as Kim Bung Do
- Yoo In Na as Choi Hee Jin
- Kim Jin Woo as Han Dong Min
- Ga Deuk Hi as Jo Soo Kyung
3. The Princess’ Man
In The Princess’ Man, the romance takes a bigger part than political intrigues (there are political things, but they are not dull or take much time). So, if you appreciate the fact that it doesn’t follow all traditional rules of sageuks, give it a try!
This historical series is like the Korean Romeo and Juliet – the grand prince’s daughter and the son of his enemy can hardly be together.
- Park Shi Hoo as Kim Seung Yoo
- Moon Chae Won as Lee Se Ryung
- Kim Yeong Cheol as Prince Su Yang
- Song Jong Ho as Shin Myeon
- Hong Soo Hyun as Princess Kyung Hye
2. Empress Ki
Loosely based on real historical events, Empress Ki is a wonderful story about a strong woman. Raised in slavery, Seung Nyang disguises herself as a man so that she cannot be sent to China to serve the emperor! She not only saves herself but many other girls from slavery. However, soon the story takes an unexpected turn – she falls not only for the King of Goryeo but also for the next emperor of China! Can you imagine that?
This period K-drama has become an international hit. No doubt it will be an unforgettable pleasure for you to binge-watch it!
- Ha Ji Won as Ki Empress / Ki Seung Nyang
- Ji Chang Wook as Yuan Emperor Hui Zhong
- Joo Jin Mo as King Chung Hye of Goryeo
1. Moon Lovers
This top 25 list includes many time travel K-dramas, and Moon Lovers is one of them! Even the idea of a modern-day woman traveling back in time to the Goryeo era itself already makes you interested in the series, doesn’t it? Not only the girl transfers to a completely different environment and period but into the body of another woman who looks the same! The love triangle between the 8th and the 4th Princes complicates the things even more. Well, I think you’ve already imagined the intensity of the whole TV show.
Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Reyo has become popular not only in Korea but also overseas. If you want to experience different emotions and feel your heart racing like never before, you know what to do. On top of that, the 4th Prince is a truly badass character. Who doesn’t love likable badass characters?