Historical Korean Drama – Best KDramas Of All Time!

historical kdrama

Looking for the best historical korean drama to watch this year? You’ve come to the right place. i’ve watch and also surf the best historical korean drama available and in this article I will share it to you! Let’s dig in!

Table of Contents

Best Historical Korean Drama

There are many great historical Korean dramas you can watch on the internet.

However, these are the list of the best one based on my opinion.

1. Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo

Credit to asianwiki

Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo is a time travel historical korean drama. 

The story begins with a total solar eclipse that send Ha-Jin (IU) back to Goryeo Dynasty and became Hae Soo, one of many royal princess of Wang Family. This time, King Taejo is currently on the throne.

IU ended up fall in love with one of the prince and before she realize she got caught up in palace politics and siblings competition to get the throne and keep the throne. 

This is one of the most emotional historical korean drama you can ever find.

Main cast:

  • Lee Joon-gi as 4th Prince Wang So
  • Lee Ji-eun (IU) as Go Ha-jin / Hae Soo
  • Kang Ha-neul as 8th Prince Wang Wook

2. Moon Embracing the Sun

historical k drama

Moon Embracing the sun korean dramas sets in Joseon era with the storyline focusing on the love story between fictional king and a shaman.

This is a simple historical korean drama with romance touch in the politics area.

Main cast:

  • Kim Soo-hyun as Lee Hwon, King of Joseon
  • Han Ga-in as Lady Heo Yeon-woo / Shaman Wol
  • Jung Il-woo as Prince Yangmyung

3. Love in the Moonlight

historical k drama

This historical korean drama sets in 19th century during Joseon dynasty in Korea – tells a love story between the crown prince and a girl who disguises herself as a man and became a eunuch. 

Main cast:

  • Park Bo-gum as Lee Yeong
  • Kim Yoo-jung as Hong Ra-on/Hong Sam-nom
  • Jung Jinyoung as Kim Yoon-sung

4. Arang and the Magistrate

historical k drama

Arang and the magistrate is a fantasy historical korean drama based on ancient folk tale The legend of Arang, originated from Joseon Era.

This drama tells a story of a murdered magistrate’s daughter that ended up became ghost and haunts every magistrate who is about to take the position.

Main cast:

  • Lee Joon-gi as Kim Eun-oh
  • Shin Min-a as A-rang/Lee Seo-rim
  • Yeon Woo-jin as Joo-wal

5. Empress Ki

historical k drama

Empress Ki is a romantic korean drama sets in a historical time in korea.

It tells a story of Seung Nyang, slave in Goryeo who pretend to be a man to avoid being forced to go to China and serve the emperor.

She grew up and became a strong activist who saved girls from being sent away as a tribute to the emperor. 

The story gots complicated when she fall in love with King of Goryeo and prince of Mongolia, the next emperor of China.

Main cast:

  • Ha Ji-won as Ki Seung-nyang / Ki Nyang, the future Empress Ki
  • Joo Jin-mo as Wang Yoo, King Choonghye
  • Ji Chang-wook as Toghon Temür / Ta Hwan

6. Gu Family Book

historical k drama

Gu Family book is a romantic, fantasy historical korean dramas about someone who struggle to fight themselves to become a good person and protect your their loved ones.

This drama focus on a half human and half mythical creature.

Main cast:

  • Lee Seung-gi as Choi Kang-chi
  • Bae Suzy as Dam Yeo-wool
  • Sung Joon as Gon

7. Six Flying Dragons

historical k drama

Six Flying Dragons is a korean drama sets at late Goryeo eras and the beginning of Joseon Dynasty.

The story revolves around six ambitious characters that was called six flying dragons.

They begin as an ally before start using one another for their own benefit.

It’s hard to take side as all of them having their own ego.

This historical korean drama filled with fight scene, politics, betrayal as well as romance that will keep you engage and can’t wait what’s next.

Main cast:

  • Yoo Ah-in as Yi Bang-won (later King Taejong)
  • Kim Myung-min as Sambong Jeong Do-jeon
  • Shin Se-kyung as Boon-yi

8. Deep Rooted Tree

historical k drama

Deep Rooted Tree is a politic historical k drama that filled with conspiracies, tragedies, mystery and thrills.

It begin with King Se Jong accidentally cause the death of his family and also their slaves, while trying to protect them from King Tae Jong – his brutal father that’s on the throne.

As time passed, we learned that the two slaves survive, one became a servant in the palace while the other became strong warrior who seeks for revenge.

Main cast:

  • Han Suk-kyu as King Sejong
    Song Joong-ki as teen Yi Do
    Kang San as child Yi Do
  • Jang Hyuk as Kang Chae-yoon/Ddol-bok
    Yeo Jin-goo as teen Ddol-bok
    Chae Sang-woo as child Ddol-bok
  • Shin Se-kyung as So-yi/Dam

9. Jewel in the Palace

historical k drama

Jewel in the Palace is a historical k dramas sets in 15th centry of south korea.

This drama tells a story of an orphaned girl who became the first women to fight the discriminations – based on real story of someone who fight her way for equality.

Main cast:

  • Lee Young-ae as Seo Jang-geum
  • Ji Jin-hee as Min Jeong-ho
  • Hong Ri-na as Choi Geum-young

10. Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People

historical k drama

Revel korean dramas sets in Joseon era, during the reign of the famous King Yeonsan, the popular Korean King in history that was known for his tyranny and dominion.

This drama tells a story of a son of a servant who ended up became the very first revolutionary activist and heroes for all the people

Servants during this era’s are horribly treated by the royals and don’t have any rights.

Gil dong. then raise up and become Korean Robin Hood, the leader of a band of smugglers who steal from the rich to give it to the poor.

Main cast:

  • Yoon Kyun-sang as Hong Gil-dong
  • Chae Soo-bin as Song Ga-ryung
  • Kim Sang-joong as Hong Ah Mo-gae

11. The Princess Man

historical k drama

The Princess man is a romantic korean historical drama that’s much like korean version of Romeo and Juliet. 

It tells a love story between the daughter of the grand prince who seek to become king and the son of her father’s biggest enemy. 

You can expect the story to be super complicated as her father totally opposed this love journey.

Main cast:

  • Moon Chae-won as Lee Se-ryung
  • Park Si-hoo as Kim Seung-yoo
  • Kim Yeong-cheol as Grand Prince Suyang

12. Gunman in Joseon

historical k drama

Gunman in Joseon tells a story of badass rebel gunman seeking for revenge during Joseon era.

The story revolves around Park Yoon Kang, a young swordsman and the palace head guard’s son.

His life shook once his father unjustly killed and his sister being enslaved.

He try to seek revenge by first take on a new identity and trade his sword for a gun.

He ended up make his way up to save his sister without realize that he also became the people’s hero.

Main cast:

  • Lee Joon-gi as Park Yoon-kang/Hasegawa Hanjo
  • Nam Sang-mi as Jung Soo-in
  • Jeon Hye-bin as Choi Hye-won

13. King's Daughter, Soo Baek Hyang

historical k drama

This drama sets in Pre-Joseon period and tells a story of Soo Baek Hywang, the eldest daughter of King Muryeong, the King of Baekje, one of three kingdom in ancient korea.

Soo Baek Hyang rights as the princess has been taken by her own ambitious younger sister.

The story didn’t end here as Soo Baek Hyang ended up as a leader of a secret group that spy her own nations and her sister.

Main cast:

  • Do Kyung-soo as Lee Yul / Na Won-deuk
  • Nam Ji-hyun as Yeon Hong-shim / Yoon Yi-seo
  • Jo Sung-ha as Kim Cha-eon

14. Queen for Seven Days

historical k drama

Queen for seven days is a historical korean dramas based on the tragic love story between King Yeok and Queen Chae Kyung, who was dehtroned right after one week became a Queen.

Her life has been prophesied to her parents that she will become a bad luck for her family if she got involved in the royal positions. 

However, fate constantly throws Chae Kyung and the grand prince together.

Before she realize, she find herself in the middle of the rivalry between the king and the grand prince.

Main cast:

  • Seo Hyun-jin as Soo Baek-hyang / Seol-nan
  • Seo Woo as Seol-hee
  • Lee Jae-ryong as King Muryeong

15. The King in Love

historical k drama

The King In Love is a complicated romance historical drama tells a story of love triangle between the king and his loyal best friend.

Main cast:

  • Im Si-wan as Crown Prince Wang Won
  • Im Yoon-ah as Eun-San, Princess Hyeonae / So-hwa
  • Hong Jong-hyun as Wang Rin

16. Shine or Go Crazy

historical k drama

Shine or Go craze is a fiction historical drama that features the story of Wang So – an exiled prince of Goryeo and Shin yool – an exiled princess of Balhae.

They both got exiled from the palace since child because of prophecy they received that they’ll bring destruction and bloodshed.

Main cast:

  • Jang Hyuk as Wang So, King Gwangjong
  • Oh Yeon-seo as Shin Yool / Gaebong
  • Lee Hanee as Hwangbo Yeo-won

17. Queen Seondeok

historical k drama

The Great Queen Seondeok is the longest historical dramas that even have up to 62 episodes. 

The story revolves around Queen Seondeok who was born as a twin but abandoned as a baby.

Later on she was brought back to the palace during Silla dynasty, joining her sister Princess Chonmyong in battling Mi-shil.

Main cast:

  • Lee Yo-won as Princess Deokman, later Queen Seondeok
  • Go Hyun-jung as Lady Mishil
  • Park Ye-jin as Princess Cheonmyeong

18. The Flower in Prison

historical k drama

The Flower in Prison isn’t just a love story – it’s about respect, inner beauty, intelligence, and compassion.

These are the qualities of Jin Se-Yeon, our witty female lead. Set in the Joseon era, the story follows the woman born and raised in prison.

Later, she helps the poor and wrongly accused.

If you are looking for a great story which can give you the overview of people’s life in that era, don’t hesitate to check out this drama.

Main cast:

  • Jin Se-yeon as Ok-nyeo/Lee Seo-won
  • Go Soo as Yun Tae-won
  • Kim Mi-sook as Queen Munjeong

19. Faith

historical kdrama

Faith is a time travel fantasy historical dramas tells a story of a modern plastic surgeon that was transported back to 14th century Goryeo by a warrior.

Later on she realize that this warrior is the leader of royal guard who want to save the fatally injured queen.

After realize that she can’t come back home, they ended up falling in love to one another.

This historical drama filled with romance and twist as you find out who is the bad and good in this series.

Main cast:

  • Lee Min-ho – General Choi Young
  • Kim Hee-sun – Yoo Eun-soo

20. Ilijimae

historical k drama

Ilijimae is a historical dramas that tells a story of korean robin hood.

It’s all about someone who became the hero who robs the corrupt government officials to give it to the poor. 

After every outing, he leaves behind the picture of a plum tree branch. This is why he is named Iljimae.

However, this is not all this drama is all about, the truth is, he want to find the murderer of his family.

Along his journey, he falls in love with a noble girl who loves him.

Main cast:

  • Lee Joon-gi as Lee Gyeom/Yong-i/Iljimae
  • Han Hyo-joo as Byeon Eun-chae
  • Lee Young-ah as Bong-soon

21. Mirror of the Witch

historical k drama

Mirror of the switch is a mysterious historical korean drama sets in Joseon era. 

It begin with two cursed babies, twin prince and princess doom to bring death and destructions to everyone who they love and love them.

The witch try to convince the queen to kill one of the child for the sake of the other – of course the princess is the one chosen since she can’t be the heir to the throne. 

However, she survived and the story begin as she find out her past.

Main cast:

  • Yoon Shi-yoon as Heo Jun
  • Kim Sae-ron as Princess Seo-ri / Yeon-hee
  • Lee Sung-jae as Choi Hyun-seo

22. Jumong

historical k drama

Jumong korean dramas tells a story of the life of the founder of Goryeo Kingdom, since he was a prince and until he grown and build the kingdom. 

There’s a lot of sad moments as he engaged in battle scenes.

Main cast:

  • Song Il-gook as Prince Jumong
  • Han Hye-jin as Lady Soseono
  • Kim Seung-soo as Prince Daeso

23. Hwarang: The Poet Warrior Youth

historical k drama

Hwarangs is a group of the most elite young men in Silla Kingdom who posses all qualities and ability needed to defend the kingdom and royal family. 

This drama transport us back to 6th century lifestyle in South Korea, how they live and how the friendship goes in the history.

This historical k dramas mix with lots of modern elements, romance, comedy and action.

Main cast:

  • Park Seo-joon as Moo-myung / Kim Sun-woo / Kim Isabu / Dog-bird
  • Go A-ra as Kim Ah-ro
  • Park Hyung-sik as Sammaekjong / Kim Ji-dwi / Jinheung of Silla

24. Scholar Who Walks the Night

historical k drama

Scholar Who Walks the Night is a fusion of historical drama and fiction centers on a scholar who uncover the truth about an evil vampire who controls royal palace. 

This historical k drama tells the story of his life finding the mysterious creature in order to loose his country and countrymen from it’s control.

Main cast:

  • Lee Joon-gi as Kim Sung-yeol
  • Lee Yu-bi as Jo Yang-sun/Seo Jin

25. Sungkyunkwan Scandal

historical k drama

Sungkyunkwan scandal sets in Joseon era, but with a fresh and modern vibes.

This drama tells a story of one girl who disguises herself as a boy in order to attend school and gain education.

The schools during Joseon Era wouldn’t accept female students, so she takes the name of her sick brother and go to school as a man.

Main cast:

  • Park Min-young as Kim Yun-hee (when girl)/Kim Yoon-shik (when boy), nicknamed “Dae-mul”
    Bang Jun-seo as young Kim Yunhee
  • Park Yoo-chun as Yi Seon-jun, nicknamed “Ga-rang”
  • Yoo Ah-in as Mun Jae-sin, nicknamed “Geol-o”

26. Ruler: Master of the Mask

historical k drama

Ruler is a drama that sets in 18th century Joseon era. 

This drama tells a fiction story of a prince who wear a mask to hide his face from Pyunsoo Group, a powerful hidden organization that gain control over the country. 

As a royal prince, he can’t go far away from the palace, but he manage to do it and risk his life to escape to the outside world.

He ended up fall in love with a girl and fall into a hard situation when the hidden organizations force him to execute the father of the women that he love.

Main cast:

  • Yoo Seung-ho as Crown Prince Yi Sun
  • Kim So-hyun as Lady Han Ga-eun
  • Yoon So-hee as Kim Hwa-gun

27. Dong Yi

historical k drama

Dong Yi is another long-running historical drama that released 11 years ago, sets in Joseon eras during the reign of King Sukjong – tells a story of Dong Yi’s father and brother that’s falsely accused of murdering a noblemen.

She then hide her identity and enter the palace as a servant of the Bureau of Music in order to reveal her family’s innocence and find the truth.

Main cast:

  • Han Hyo-joo as Choi Dong-Yi, Royal Noble Consort Suk
    Kim Yoo-jung as young Choi Dong-yi
  • Ji Jin-hee as King Sukjong
  • Lee So-yeon as Jang Ok-Jeong, Royal Noble Consort Hui

28. Lee San, Wind of the Palace

historical k drama

Lee San, Wind of the Palace, also known as Yi San, is historical drama tells a story of King Jeongjo, the hardworker king that was remembered in history as a compassionate and caring ruler who loved his people.

From this dramas we learn his struggles to modernize the country and fight the hidden enemy inside his own government.

Main cast:

  • Yi San/King Jeongjo as Lee Seo-jin and Park Ji-bin
  • Seong Song-yeon/Ui-bin Seong as Han Ji-min and Lee Han-Na
  • Park Dae-su as Lee Jong-soo and Kwon Jung-Min

29. Jang Ok Jung, Living by Love

historical k drama

Jang Ok Jung, Living By Love tells a story of a cold and strong king who follows his brain more than his heart, and his beautiful concubine. 

However, in this dramas Jang ok Jung is portrayed as the innocent victims of politics, not as an evil women seeking to be the queen, the truth we learned about her in Joseon history.

Main cast:

  • Kim Tae-hee as Jang Ok-jung, later the concubine, Jang Hui-bin
    Kang Min-ah as young Jang Ok-jung
  • Yoo Ah-in as Lee Soon, later King Sukjong
    Chae Sang-woo as young Lee Soon
  • Hong Soo-hyun as Queen Inhyeon

30. My Sassy Girl

historical k drama

My Sassy Girl sets place in Joseon era, tells a story of a romance between a cold city scholar Gyeon Woo and Sassy Princess Hye-Myung. 

She often sneaks out of the palace in search of her mother, the dethroned queen. 

During one such adventure, she meets Gyeon Woo, who was initially her enemies before became her lover.

Main cast:

  • Joo Won as Gyeon Woo
  • Oh Yeon-seo as Princess Hye-myung
  • Lee Jung-shin as Kang Joon-young
  • Kim Yoon-hye as Jung Da-yeon

31. Mr. Sunshine

historical k drama

Mr. Sunshine is a historical korean dramas that revolves around Eugene Choi (Lee Byung-hun), someone who was leave to the United States after the Shinmiyangyo and became a Marine Corps officer.

When he returns to Joseon for a mission, Eugene meets and falls in love with an aristocrat’s granddaughter, Go Ae-shin (Kim Tae-ri), who is part of the Righteous Army. 

However, their love became complicated as they’re challenged by their different classes and the presence of Kim Hui-seong (Byun Yo-han) – a nobleman who has been Ae-shin’s betrothed since childhood. 

Main cast:

  • Lee Byung-hun as Eugene Choi / Choi Yoo-jin
  • Kim Tae-ri as Go Ae-shin
  • Yoo Yeon-seok as Goo Dong-mae / Ishida Sho

32. The Crowned Clown

historical k drama

The Crowned clown sets in Joseon era, when Joseon is in a state of disorder due to uprisings and a power struggle surrounding King Lee Hun (Yeo Jin-Goo). 

To avoid assassination, a clown named Ha Sun (Yeo Jin-Goo) is brought to the palace to take the place of King Lee Hun.

When Ha Sun was a child, his parents died during an epidemic, but he was saved by a group of clowns. 

Ha Sun grew up with the clowns and became one. 

During their performance, Ha Sun would play King Lee Hun due to their similar physical appearance. 

He ended up fall in love with beautiful Queen Yoo So-Woon (Lee Se-Young).

Main cast:

  • Yeo Jin-goo as Ha-seon, the clown / Yi Heon, the King
  • Kim Sang-kyung as Yi Kyu (Haksan), the Chief Royal Secretary
  • Lee Se-young as Yoo So-woon, the Queen

33. Mr. Queen


This korean dramas takes place in the Joseon period, where somehow Jang Bong Hwan spirit – chef at the Presiden’t blue house, transfered into the body of Queen Kim So Yong.

She then meet King Cheoljong, who is a double faced King with lots of secret.

Main cast:

  • Shin Hye-sun as Kim So-yong
  • Kim Jung-hyun as Yi Won-beom

34. My Country: New Age

historical k drama

This dramas takes place during the transitional period between the end of the Goryeo dynasty and the beginning of the Joseon dynasty.

My Country new age drama tells a story of two friends who became enemies because of a misunderstanding and differences in opinion about ‘my country’. 

They try to protect their country, and the people they love, their own way.

Main cast:

  • Yang Se-jong as Seo Hwi
  • Woo Do-hwan as Nam Seon-ho
  • Kim Seol-hyun as Han Hee-jae

35. 100 Days My Prince

100 Days my prince tells a story of Yul, the King’s nephew who loves to spend his days playing.

One day, he crosses paths with the kind and compassionate Yi Seo and falls in love with her.

Yul’s father is a jealous man who wants to get the throne, he schemes together with Kim Cha Eon.

On one night, Cha Eon runs a coup that kills the King and his trusted allies, including Yi Seo’s father.

Yi Seo escapes with her brother, unbeknownst to Yul, who was trying to protect her. 

Yul’s father ended up as a King, and Yul is the Crown Prince. 

Sixteen years later – Yul loses his memory due to assassination attempt and forget about Yi Seo.

Main cast:

  • Do Kyung-soo as Lee Yul / Na Won-deuk
  • Nam Ji-hyun as Yeon Hong-shim / Yoon Yi-seo
  • Jo Sung-ha as Kim Cha-eon

37. Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung

motivational korean drama for students

Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung is a motivation historical korean dramas tells a story of someone namely Goo Hae Ryung, who became the first female historian inside the Royal Palace, despite of gender stereotypes.

Even though she was being looked down because of her gender, Hae-ryung doesn’t go back on her dream and voice her opinions and defend people who have been wronged by society. 

This kdrama shows and tells a story of someone who stands up for what she believes in even if it means going up against the king.

Main cast:

  • Shin Se-kyung as Goo Hae-ryung
  • Cha Eun-woo as Yi Rim
  • Park Ki-woong as Crown Prince Yi Jin

Sum Up

I believe there are a lot more historical k drama you can watch today, however this is my list of the best historical korean drama I can share with you.

Which one of these historical korean drama you love the most? Let me know in the comment sections below!

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