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12 Best Historical Kdramas to Watch (Top RATED!)

Best Historical Kdramas to Watch

Hey, KoreaniFANS! We have received a lot of emails asking us to post our top historical K-drama recommendations; so as our gift to you for your patronage to Koreanify, we are giving you an abundant list of the the best historical Kdramas, where history isn’t just something you read in books, but something you can see and feel on your screen.

These shows are like a trip back in time, showing you the rich and colorful past of Korea. Imagine seeing kings and queens, brave heroes, and powerful battles from long ago. These dramas mix real history with exciting stories, making each episode feel like a new adventure.

Best Historical Kdramas to Watch

In these historical kdramas, you’ll see beautiful costumes, grand palaces, and stories about love, friendship, and courage. They’re not just popular in Korea, but all over the world, because they tell stories that touch everyone’s heart.

So, get ready to be pulled into a world where the past comes to life, and every show is a journey through time. These Kdramas are more than just TV shows; they’re a way to experience history in a fun and exciting way! READY?

Alchemy of Soul Seasons 1 and 2 (2022)

Alchemy of Soul - best historical kdrama

Alchemy of Souls: A Journey Through Love and Magic in Historical Korea

The Story is About: “Alchemy of Souls” is a captivating historical Kdrama set in a fantasy version of ancient Korea. This enchanting tale revolves around the concept of soul-shifting, where powerful sorcerers can transfer souls. The story focuses on the life of a young and skilled mage, born with a tragic fate, who encounters a noblewoman whose soul has been switched.

As their paths intertwine, they navigate a world filled with magical intrigue, forbidden romance, and the quest to reclaim their true selves. The drama beautifully blends elements of fantasy, romance, and historical fiction, creating a world where magic and historical realities merge seamlessly.

What are the Lessons Learned from this Story: “Alchemy of Souls” offers profound lessons on the nature of identity, love, and destiny. It teaches that true strength lies in embracing one’s own identity and facing life’s challenges with courage.

The drama highlights the power of love and sacrifice, showing how these forces can transcend physical boundaries and societal norms. Additionally, it delves into themes of redemption and the importance of making moral choices, demonstrating how every decision shapes one’s destiny.

Who are the Casts: The stellar casts of Alchemy of Soul bring together some of the most talented actors in the Kdrama world. Actor Lee Jae-wook plays the main role as the troubled mage, Jang Uk with his leading lady actress Jung So-min as Mu-deok / Nak-su – portraying the noblewoman with a switched soul. In Season 2 of Alchemy of Souls, a new cast is revealed, actress Go Youn-jung portraying Naksu (before Alchemy of Souls)/ Cho Yeong (real name)/ Jin Bu-yeon (in part 2).

The supporting cast consists of Hwang Min-hyun as Seo Yul, Yoo Jun-sang as Park Jin, Yoo In-soo as Park Dang-gu, Arin as Jin Cho-yeon, and Shin Seung-ho as Go Won among others were equally impressive, and added depth and richness to the story, making every character memorable and impactful.

Where to Watch Alchemy of Souls: “Alchemy of Souls” is available for streaming on popular platforms like Netflix, Viki, and Kocowa. These platforms offer subtitles in various languages, making the show accessible to a global audience.

Whether you’re a fan of historical dramas or new to the genre, this Kdrama is easily accessible and ready to be added to your watchlist. Its blend of fantasy, romance, and history makes it a must-watch for anyone looking for a captivating and unique storytelling experience.


Love in the Moonlight (2016)

Love in the Moonlight starring Park Bo-gum and Kim Yoo-jung

Love in the Moonlight: A Tale of Romance and Self-Discovery in Joseon Era

The Story is About: “Love in the Moonlight” is a heartwarming historical Kdrama set in the Joseon period. This delightful series tells the story of a young woman who disguises herself as a man to support her family. She becomes a eunuch in the royal palace, where she encounters the young, playful Crown Prince.

As they grow closer, a beautiful and innocent romance blossoms against a backdrop of palace intrigue and societal norms. The drama skillfully combines elements of romance, comedy, and historical drama, creating a story that is both touching and engaging.

What are the Lessons Learned from Love in the Moonlight: The drama imparts several valuable lessons, including the importance of being true to oneself and the power of love to overcome societal barriers. It explores themes of identity, gender roles, and the courage it takes to follow one’s heart despite challenging circumstances.

“Love in the Moonlight” also highlights the significance of friendship, loyalty, and the strength found in vulnerability, offering a resonant message about personal growth and self-acceptance.

Who are the Casts: “Love in the Moonlight” features a talented ensemble of actors who bring this charming story to life. The cast includes Kim Yoo-jung as Hong Ra-on/Hong Sam-nomin the role of the intelligent and spirited female lead, Park Bo-gum as Lee Yeong portraying the charismatic and thoughtful Crown Prince, and a host of other notable actors in supporting roles. Each character is intricately crafted, contributing to the drama’s engaging and emotionally rich narrative.

Where to Watch Love in the Moonlight: Fans can enjoy “Love in the Moonlight” on various streaming platforms such as Netflix, Viki, and Kocowa. These platforms provide subtitles in multiple languages, making the drama accessible to a global audience.

Perfect for those who love historical romance, the show offers a blend of sweet romance, humorous moments, and a peek into the fascinating world of the Joseon era. Whether you’re revisiting this classic or discovering it for the first time, it’s a delightful journey into the heart of historical Korea.


Knight Flower (2024)

Knight Flower Kdrama

Knight Flower: A Tale of Secret Heroism in the Joseon Era

The Story is About: “Knight Flower,” a 2024 South Korean television series, is set in the historical backdrop of the Joseon dynasty. The drama centers around Jo Yeo-hwa, portrayed by Lee Hanee, a widow from a prestigious noble family.

By day, she leads the secluded life of a noble widow, but by night, she transforms into a secret benefactor, sneaking out to help those in need. This double life of Jo Yeo-hwa introduces viewers to a world of intrigue and compassion, set against the rich cultural and historical tapestry of Joseon Korea.

What are the Lessons Learned from this Story: “Knight Flower” imparts valuable lessons about the strength of character and the importance of helping others, even in the face of societal constraints. It showcases the power of resilience, as the main character navigates her dual identity while upholding her values and beliefs.

The drama also highlights selflessness, courage, and the impact one individual can have on the lives of many, teaching viewers about the significance of empathy and kindness in a world of strict social norms.

Who are the Casts: The main cast of “Knight Flower” includes:

  • Lee Hanee as Jo Yeo-hwa, the noble widow living a double life.
  • Moon Seung-yu as the young Jo Yeo-hwa.
  • Lee Jong-won as Park Soo-ho, a military officer with intelligence and martial arts prowess.
  • Kim Sang-joong as Seok Ji-sung, Yeo-hwa’s father-in-law and a left state councillor.
  • Lee Ki-woo as Park Yoon-hak, Soo-ho’s older brother, a third-rank royal secretary and one of the king’s trusted men.

Where to Watch Knight Flower: “Knight Flower” is available for viewing on multiple streaming platforms. In South Korea, it can be streamed on Wavve and Coupang Play. For viewers in the Americas, it is accessible on Kocowa, and globally, it is available on Viki in selected regions. This availability makes it easy for a wide audience to immerse themselves in this gripping and emotionally resonant historical drama.


Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo (2016)

Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo - best historical kdramas to watch

Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo: A Time-Travel Romance in the Goryeo Dynasty

The Story is About:Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo” is a South Korean historical drama that combines elements of romance, time travel, and political intrigue. The story begins with a 21st-century woman, Go Ha-jin, who gets transported back in time to the Goryeo Dynasty. She wakes up in the body of Hae Soo, a young woman of noble birth.

Hae Soo soon finds herself entangled in the lives of the royal princes, each with their ambitions and secrets. As she navigates palace politics and complex relationships, Hae Soo falls in love and faces heart-wrenching trials. The drama is a vivid depiction of love, power struggles, and survival in a royal court, blended with the unique twist of time travel.

What are the Lessons Learned from this Story: “Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo” is about destiny and how one’s choices can significantly impact their life. The drama highlights the strength of the human spirit in the face of adversity and the importance of staying true to oneself.

It also showcases the complexities of love and sacrifice, showing how love can endure through challenging times. Additionally, the series provides insights into the consequences of power and ambition, teaching viewers about the importance of empathy and moral integrity.

Who are the Casts: The cast of “Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo” includes:

  • Lee Joon-gi as 4th Prince Wang So, who hides his face behind a mask and is feared and misunderstood by others. Lee Joon Gi also plays the adult Eunsom/Saya in the hit ancient Korean historical drama, Arthdal Chronicles Season 2: The Sword of Aramun.
  • Lee Ji-eun or IU as Go Ha-jin / Hae Soo, the strong-willed and compassionate protagonist who time travels to the Goryeo era.
  • Kang Ha-neul as the 8th Prince Wang Wook, who is kind-hearted and harbors feelings for Hae Soo.
  • Hong Jong-hyun as 3rd Prince Wang Yo, ambitious and power-hungry.
  • Other notable actors in the series include Nam Joo-hyuk, Ji Soo, and Baekhyun, each portraying one of the royal princes.

Where to Watch Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo: “Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo” is available for streaming on platforms like Viki and Dramacool. These platforms offer subtitles in various languages, allowing a global audience to enjoy the drama.


Mr. Queen (2020)

Mr. Queen historical drama sageuk

Mr. Queen: A Blend of Time-Travel, Royal Romance, and Comedy

The Story is About: “Mr. Queen” is a unique South Korean historical comedy-drama that combines time travel with the intricate world of a royal palace. The story follows a modern-day chef working at the Blue House, who mysteriously finds himself trapped in the body of Queen Cheorin in the Joseon era.

This unexpected situation leads to a series of hilarious and heartwarming events as the chef, with his 21st-century mindset, navigates life in the royal court, dealing with political intrigue, royal duties, and a complicated relationship with the King. The drama brilliantly fuses comedy with historical elements, offering a refreshing and entertaining take on the traditional historical Kdrama genre.

What are the Lessons Learned from this Story: “Mr. Queen” teaches understanding and empathy. It shows how experiencing life from an entirely different perspective can lead to a greater appreciation of others’ situations and challenges.

The series also touches on the topics of identity, gender roles, and the power of love and understanding in overcoming societal norms and personal prejudices. Furthermore, it focuses on the importance of staying true to oneself and the value of humor and resilience in facing unexpected life changes.

Who are the Casts: The main cast of “Mr. Queen” includes:

  • Shin Hye-sun as Queen Cheorin, the 21st-century chef trapped in the queen’s body.
  • Kim Jung-hyun as King Cheoljong, who appears to be a figurehead but has his own secrets.
  • Supporting cast members contribute brilliantly to the story, adding layers of comedy, drama, and intrigue.

Where to Watch Mr. Queen: Fans can enjoy “Mr. Queen” on various streaming platforms, including Netflix, Viki and iQIYI, where it is available with subtitles in multiple languages. The accessibility of these platforms makes it easy for a global audience to dive into this unique and hilarious historical drama. “Mr. Queen” is a perfect pick for viewers who enjoy a mix of comedy, drama, and historical settings, all wrapped up in a compelling and highly entertaining storyline.


My Country (2019)

My Country korean series

My Country: The New Age – A Tale of Loyalty, Betrayal, and the Birth of a Nation

The Story is About: “My Country: The New Age” is a gripping South Korean historical drama set during the tumultuous transition period between the end of the Goryeo dynasty and the beginning of the Joseon dynasty.

The story revolves around two friends who find themselves on opposite sides of history. Seo Hwi, the son of a powerful general, and Nam Sun-ho, the son of a noble family, start off as close friends but are torn apart by the complexities of their family backgrounds and the shifting political landscape.

The drama explores their journey as they navigate through betrayal, war, and the harsh realities of their era, each fighting for their own vision of what their country should be.

What are the Lessons Learned from this Story: “My Country: The New Age” is about loyalty, friendship, and the cost of ambition. It digs deeper into the moral complexities of power and politics, showing how personal ambitions and societal changes can affect relationships and ideals.

The drama also highlights the importance of integrity and the painful choices that must be made in the pursuit of justice and a better future. It presents a poignant exploration of the sacrifices made for one’s country and the relentless pursuit of one’s beliefs, even in the face of insurmountable odds.

Who are the Casts: The main cast includes:

  • Yang Se-jong as Seo Hwi, a warrior with strong principles and a deep sense of loyalty.
  • Woo Do-hwan as Nam Sun-ho, Seo Hwi’s friend who aspires to rise above his status and change his country.
  • Kim Seol-hyun as Han Hee-jae, a determined and resourceful woman who becomes involved in the friends’ journey.
  • Jang Hyuk as Yi Bang-won, a key historical figure in the founding of the Joseon dynasty.

Where to Watch My Country: The New Age: “My Country: The New Age” is available for streaming on platforms such as Netflix.


Royal Secret Agent (2020)

Royal Secret Agent sageuk

Royal Secret Agent: A Journey of Justice and Comedy in Joseon Era

The Story is About: “Royal Secret Agent,” also known as “Secret Royal Inspector,” is a South Korean historical drama set in the Joseon Dynasty. The series follows the adventures of a royal secret agent, appointed by the king to inspect and root out corruption and injustice in the provinces.

The protagonist, initially a reluctant and hedonistic civil servant, transforms into a dedicated and righteous agent. Accompanied by a skilled martial artist and a brilliant, spirited woman, the trio embarks on a mission to uncover corruption and bring justice. The drama skillfully combines elements of comedy, action, and romance, creating a captivating narrative that highlights the challenges and triumphs of their journey.

What are the Lessons Learned from this Story: “Royal Secret Agent” imparts important lessons on integrity, responsibility, and the fight against societal corruption. It emphasizes the value of honesty and righteousness in governance and the impact of upright individuals in effecting change.

The drama also explores broader topics on personal growth, as the characters evolve and confront their own beliefs and weaknesses. It also showcases the power of teamwork and perseverance in overcoming challenges and achieving justice.

Who are the Casts: The main cast includes:

  • Kim Myung-soo as the royal secret agent, showcasing his journey from a carefree lifestyle to a responsible agent.
  • Kwon Nara as the courageous and intelligent female companion.
  • Lee Yi-kyung as the loyal and skilled martial artist.

Where to Watch Royal Secret Agent: “Royal Secret Agent” is available for streaming on platforms like Viki and iQIYI. The mix of historical context, engaging plot, and humorous undertones makes “Royal Secret Agent” an enjoyable watch for fans of historical dramas and those who appreciate a blend of comedy and adventure in their viewing experience.


The Tale of Nokdu (2019)

The Tale of Nokdu

The Tale of Nokdu: A Story of Disguise, Love, and Identity in Joseon Dynasty

The Story is About: “The Tale of Nokdu” is a captivating South Korean historical drama set in the Joseon Dynasty. The story centers around Jeon Nok-Du, a young nobleman who, after a life-threatening attack on his family, disguises himself as a woman to enter a mysterious all-female village. His quest for truth leads him to unexpected discoveries about his family and the political intrigue surrounding them.

In the village, Nok-Du meets Dong Dong-Ju, an aspiring gisaeng (female artist) who harbors her own secrets. Amidst humorous and heartwarming encounters, they grow closer, leading to a complex web of romance, identity, and duty. The drama skillfully blends elements of comedy, action, and romance, set against the vibrant backdrop of the Joseon era.

What are the Lessons Learned from this Story: “The Tale of Nokdu” imparts meaningful lessons about the importance of self-discovery, the courage to pursue truth, and the complexities of love and duty. It explores themes of identity, highlighting how external circumstances and societal expectations can shape, but not define, one’s true self.

The drama also highlights the power of resilience and determination in overcoming adversities, and the importance of compassion and understanding in relationships.

Who are the Casts: The main cast includes:

  • Jang Dong-Yoon as Jeon Nok-Du, the young nobleman who goes undercover as a woman.
  • Kim So-Hyun as Dong Dong-Ju, the strong-willed and independent aspiring gisaeng.
  • Kang Tae-Oh and Jung Joon-Ho play significant roles, adding depth to the drama’s complex storyline.

Where to Watch The Tale of Nokdu: “The Tale of Nokdu” is available for streaming on platforms like Viki, Netflix and Kocowa, where it is offered with subtitles in multiple languages. The drama’s unique blend of genres and compelling storytelling make it a standout choice for fans of historical Kdramas and those seeking a blend of romance, comedy, and drama.


The Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People (2019)

The Rebel Thief Who Stole the People

The Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People – A Tale of Righteousness and Revolution in Joseon

The Story is About: “The Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People” is a South Korean historical drama set during the Joseon Dynasty. This compelling series tells the story of Hong Gil-dong, a legendary figure in Korean folklore, often described as the Korean Robin Hood.

Born as a low-status commoner in a society rigidly divided by class, Hong Gil-dong becomes an outlaw leader who stands up against corrupt and oppressive government officials. The drama weaves a rich narrative that explores his journey from a disillusioned youth to a charismatic leader fighting for justice. His actions and leadership inspire the common people, igniting a movement of rebellion and change.

The series skillfully combines elements of action, drama, and romance, bringing to life a tale of courage, love, and social justice.

What are the Lessons Learned from this Story: “The Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People” teaches lessons about social injustice, the power of collective action, and the importance of standing up against tyranny. It emphasizes the significance of fighting for equality and the rights of the oppressed.

The drama highlights the power of a single individual to bring about change and the ripple effect it can have on society. Moreover, it delves into themes of leadership, sacrifice, and the moral dilemmas faced in the pursuit of a greater good.

Who are the Casts: The main cast includes:

  • Yoon Kyun-sang as Hong Gil-dong, the brave and intelligent leader of the outlaws.
  • Chae Soo-bin as Song Ga-ryung, a key figure in Hong Gil-dong’s life.
  • Kim Ji-seok as King Yeonsangun, adding complexity to the narrative as the tyrannical ruler.
  • The supporting cast, including Lee Ha-nui and Kim Sang-joong, brings depth to this historical tale.

Where to Watch The Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People: This inspiring drama is available for streaming on Netflix Viki and Kocowa. “The Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People” is a must-watch for those who enjoy historical dramas that blend action, social commentary, and human drama in a compelling narrative.


The Scholar Who Walks the Night (2015)

Scholar Who Walks the Night

The Scholar Who Walks the Night: Historical Romance and Supernatural Mystery

The Story is About: “The Scholar Who Walks the Night” is a unique South Korean historical drama that combines elements of romance, fantasy, and mystery. Set in an alternate Joseon dynasty where vampires exist, the story revolves around a noble vampire scholar, Kim Sung-yeol, who has been living for centuries.

He is on a quest to find and destroy the powerful vampire Gwi, who resides in the royal palace and manipulates the kingdom from the shadows. The narrative takes a turn when Sung-yeol meets Jo Yang-sun, a woman disguised as a male bookseller, who becomes involved in his mission.

Together, they embark on a dangerous journey filled with romance, political intrigue, and the quest to protect the kingdom from the dark forces.

What are the Lessons Learned from this Story: “The Scholar Who Walks the Night” teaches important lessons about love, sacrifice, and the battle between good and evil. It explores the theme of duty versus personal desire, as characters struggle to balance their responsibilities with their own needs and feelings.

The drama also tackles the concept of immortality and the value of human life, challenging characters to confront moral dilemmas and make difficult choices for the greater good.

Who are the Casts: The main cast includes:

  • Lee Joon-gi as Kim Sung-yeol, the vampire scholar tormented by his past.
  • Lee Yu-bi as Jo Yang-sun, the courageous and clever female lead.
  • Shim Chang-min as Crown Prince Lee Yoon, who becomes involved in the supernatural affairs.
  • Lee Soo-hyuk as the menacing vampire Gwi, who poses a threat to the kingdom.

Where to Watch The Scholar Who Walks the Night: “The Scholar Who Walks the Night” can be streamed on Netflix, Viki, and Kocowa. This drama is a perfect choice for those who enjoy a mix of historical settings with a supernatural twist.


The Secret Romantic Guesthouse (2023)

The Secret Romantic Guesthouse kdrama historical

The Secret Romantic Guesthouse: Story of Mystery and Romance in Joseon Era

The Story is About: “The Secret Romantic Guesthouse” is a charming South Korean historical drama set in the Joseon Dynasty. The series unfolds around the Ihwawon Inn, a unique guesthouse that breaks conventional stereotypes.

The inn, owned by the lively and confident Yoon Dan-oh, becomes a focal point for an intriguing incident: the search for Lee Seol, who disappeared 13 years ago. The guesthouse attracts a variety of boarders, each harboring their own secrets.

As their stories intertwine, the drama weaves a captivating narrative of mystery, romance, and the pursuit of truth, set against the picturesque backdrop of historical Korea.

What are the Lessons Learned from this Story: “The Secret Romantic Guesthouse” shares insightful lessons about the complexity of human relationships and the significance of understanding and empathy.

It explores themes of friendship, love, and the resilience of the human spirit in the face of mystery and adversity. The drama also talks about the importance of breaking societal stereotypes and embracing one’s identity, encouraging viewers to appreciate the richness of diverse personalities and backgrounds.

Who are the Casts: The main cast includes:

  • Shin Ye-eun as Yoon Dan-oh, the spirited owner of the Ihwawon Inn.
  • Ryeoun as Kang San, a student with a cold demeanor preparing for a martial arts program.
  • Jung Gun-joo as Jung Yu-ha, a noble scholar known for his delicate and caring personality.
  • Kang Hoon as Kim Shi-yeol, Dan-oh’s best friend, who often quarrels yet advises her on matters of the heart.

Where to Watch The Secret Romantic Guesthouse: “The Secret Romantic Guesthouse” premiered on SBS TV and is available for streaming on Wavve in South Korea. For international viewers, the series can be accessed on Viki and Viu in selected regions. This drama is a perfect choice for those who enjoy a blend of historical settings with elements of romance and mystery, offering a unique and enchanting viewing experience.


Under the Queen’s Umbrella (2022)

Under the Queen's Umbrella

Under the Queen’s Umbrella: Royal Motherhood and Education in Joseon Dynasty

The Story is About: “Under the Queen’s Umbrella” is a critically acclaimed South Korean historical drama set in a fictional period of the Joseon dynasty. The series centers around Queen Im Hwa-ryeong, who faces the daunting challenge of transforming her mischievous troublemaker princes into proper heirs to the throne.

Defying strict royal protocols, the Queen takes an unconventional approach to their education, focusing on personal growth and the instillation of values. The drama unfolds as the Queen navigates the complexities of motherhood and royal duties, demonstrating perseverance and determination to prepare her sons for their future roles.

This series highlights the struggles and triumphs of a mother in a royal setting, weaving a narrative of family, power, and the pursuit of excellence.

What are the Lessons Learned from this Story: “Under the Queen’s Umbrella” shows valuable lessons about the importance of individualized education, the power of maternal love, and the role of a leader. It emphasizes the need for understanding and adapting to each child’s unique needs and strengths.

The drama is also about resilience, the responsibilities of royalty, and the balance between personal desires and public duties. Additionally, it highlights the significance of moral integrity and compassion in leadership.

Who are the Casts: The main cast includes:

  • Kim Hye-soo as Queen Im Hwa-ryeong, a strong and dedicated mother.
  • Chaerin as young Im Hwa-ryeong.
  • Kim Hae-sook as the Queen Dowager.
  • Choi Won-young as King Yi Ho, the Queen’s husband.
  • The series also features the Queen’s sons and their respective stories, with actors Moon Sang-min, Bae In-hyuk, Yoon Sang-hyeon, Yoo Seon-ho, and Park Ha-jun.

Where to Watch Under the Queen’s Umbrella: “Under the Queen’s Umbrella” aired on tvN and is available for streaming on Netflix in selected regions. Its status as one of the highest-rated dramas in Korean cable television history makes it a must-watch for fans of historical dramas. The series offers a unique blend of historical intrigue, educational themes, and a deep exploration of the familial relationships within the royal family.


There you have it!

That’s quite a magnificent bunch of Sageuk dramas right there. But don’t worry, there’s more. We know we skipped a lot of great shows so we’ll have it in the next posts. What is the best Korean historical drama for you that you want to be included in the next batch? Let us know in the comments below! :)

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