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Where to Get your Cherry Blossom On in Korea: Updated for 2015

*If you’re looking for updated 2016 Cherry Blossom Festival dates, please see THIS POST.

Every spring, an eagerly anticipated silvery pink wave of luminescent gorgeousness sweeps it’s way up the Korean Peninsula.

Yup, you guessed it. The blooming of the cherry blossoms.

By Kim Daram, CC Attribution

By Kim Daram, CC Attribution

It’s an occasion that almost everyone in the country looks forward to. And while no one can pinpoint exactly what makes this annual blushing of the trees such a special event, I’d guess that it has something to do with it’s temporal nature.

Could there be anything more poetic than the falling of an infinite number of frail pink petals, as they drift peacefully to their deaths, just a few days or weeks after flowering?

Cherry blossom festivals take place across the peninsula. Here’s where you can you witness this ephemeral event.

Jeju Cherry Blossom Festival: March 27 – 29
Board a flight down to Jeju Island and you might be able to see the grandest petals of them all – the King Cherry Tree blossoms. Seen all over Seogwipo’s downtown and around Jeju Sports Complex, these cherry trees fully blossom for only 2 to 3 days, so they are more fleeting than normal. Best be quick to catch them!

To get there: From the airport, take bus 500 and get off at the New Jeju Rotary stop (신제주로터리). Cross the street, and take bus 20, going in the opposite direction. Get off at Public Health Centre 1 stop.

Jinhae Gunhangje Festival: April 1 – 10
This is the largest cherry blossom festival in the country, drawing over 2 million tourists every year, with it’s stunning tunnel of cherry trees. There’s also a military band parade, a multi-media fireworks show, and a commemoration of Admiral Yi-Sun-Shin.

"Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival," by hojusaram, CC Attribution

“Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival,” by hojusaram, CC Attribution

To get there: Take an intercity bus to Jinhae (진해). You can walk to the festival venue from the bus terminal. Just follow the crowds!

Hwagae Cherry Blossoms Festival: April 3 – 5
The “10ri Cherry Blossom Road’ in Hwagae consists of 200 peach trees and 1,200 cherry blossom trees, which were planted by villagers in 1931. It’s believed that if you walk down this 4km cherry blossom lined road, with your partner, while holding hands, you’ll fall madly and deeply in love with each other.

At the festival, aside from seeing the cherry blossoms, you can visit the historic Hwagae Market, and dine on traditional foods like Euneo-hoe (sliced raw sweetish) and Chamgetang (king crab broth).

To get there: Take an intercity bus from Seoul’s Nambu Bus Terminal, to Hadong (하동). Buses run at: 06:30, 08:00, 09:30, 11:30, 13:30, 15:30, 17:30, 19:30 and 22:00.

Yeouido Spring Flower Festival: April 3 – 8
This is perhaps the best, albeit most crowded place, in Seoul to see not just the cherry blossoms, but also azaleas, forsythia, and other spring flowers in full bloom. With 1,400 to 1,600 cherry blossom trees, you’re guaranteed a stunning and dramatic sight.

"Loads of People," by Abri le Roux, CC Attribution

“Loads of People,” by Abri le Roux, CC Attribution

To get there: The closest subway station is the National Assembly Station on Line 9. Take Exit 1 or 6 and walk for 5 minutes. Alternatively, you can get off at Yeouinaru Station on Line 5, take Exit 1 and walk for 20 minutes.

Gyeongpo Cherry Blossom Festival: April 3 – 10
A string of cherry blossom trees line the 4.3 kilometre path that surrounds gorgeous Gyeongpo Lake. Activities and flower exhibitions centre around Gyeongpodae Pavilion, one of Korea’s regional tangible cultural treasures. If, for some strange reason, you get overwhelmed by all the effervescent pinkness, you can take the short stroll over to Gyeongpodae, one of our very favourite escapes from Seoul. Drink in the view of the 4 kilometre stretch of sandy beach, and indulge in fresh seafood from one of the nearby restaurants.

To get there: Take a bus to Gangneung Intercity/Express Bus Terminal, from Dong Seoul Terminal. Once in Gangneung, take Bus 202, and get off at Gyeongpodae.

Gyeongju Cherry Blossom Marathon: April 4
If you’d like to run under a sea of falling petals, you can take part in the 24th Gyeongju Cherry Blossom Marathon. Beginning at Gyeongju Culture Expo Square, the mostly flat course, can be run in 5km, 10km, half or full marathon distances.

For more information and to register, visit the Cherry Marathon Website.

Cherry Blossom Marathon, photo: KTO

Cherry Blossom Marathon, photo: KTO

Seokchon Lake Cherry Blossom Festival: April 10 – 12
This man-made lake with walking paths is divided into 2 basins, both of which are bordered by cherry blossom trees.

While you’re there, why not stop by one of our favourite places in Seoul: The Hosoo Bakery and Cafe. You can sip a latte while you watch the petals gloriously falling to the ground.

To get there: Head to Jamsil Station on Line 2, and take Exit 3.

Cheongpunghoban Cherry Blossom Festival: April 10 – 12
Taking place along the 13 kilometre Cheongpong Lake Road, at this festival, you can see thousands of mature cherry trees, a street concert, magic show and parade. Medicinal teas and food made from wild herbs native to the area will be on offer, and if you’re really brave, you can even bunjee jump!

To get there: Take an intercity bus to Jecheon Terminal. From Dong Seoul Terminal, the bus leaves at 10 – 30 minute intervals, starting at 6:30 in the morning. The last bus leaves at 21:00.

Everyone in the country wants a glimpse of these stunning flowers, so cherry blossom festivals can be seriously crowded. Koreans are not really morning people, so if you’re able to, visit during off-peak hours. Attend on a weekday, in the early morning, and you’ll be sure to have lots of space to truly enjoy the romance of the blossoms. Make sure you bring your camera!

Of course, if you want to avoid the crowds, you don’t have to attend any of these festivals. The trees will be blooming in force all over the country. In Seoul, one of my favourite places to see the cherry blossoms is at Bongeunsa, next to Coex Mall. Last spring, I had the temple and the trees scattered around it’s grounds practically to myself. Just make sure you get out for a stroll before the cherry blossoms disappear.

Have you seen the blossoming of these gorgeous pink buds? Tell us all about your experience in the comments below.

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49 Comments Post a comment
  1. Reblogged this on Rose of Sharon Healing and commented:
    Korea’s beautiful cherry blossoms.

    March 9, 2015
  2. Wonderful pictures! Herein Germant they also have some cherry trees around. I remember in the city in east germany were I lived for two years they had a street lined with those trees. So in spring time it was wonderful to look at 🙂

    March 9, 2015
    • I’m surprised to hear that there are cherry blossoms in Germany! but why wouldn’t there be, I guess. 🙂 The street next to my apartment complex is lined with cherry trees, and I always look forward to spring so I can walk between them.

      March 10, 2015
  3. Absolutely gorgeous pictures! I’m sure it’s quite something to experience. Thank you for the wonderful article!

    March 9, 2015
    • Thanks Lucy. I think they really are the most perfect flower. So fleeting, and so beautiful! 😀

      March 10, 2015
  4. Stunning photos. The cherry blossons are so beautiful and I really hope to see them one day… I shall bookmark this for future reference! 🙂

    March 9, 2015
    • And the pictures do not even really do them justice! The cherry blossoms are definitely something that everyone should see once in their lifetime. 😀

      March 10, 2015
  5. Just the information I needed 🙂 Thank you!

    March 10, 2015
  6. Reblogged this on [ Cỏ dại. ].

    March 10, 2015
  7. Reblogged this on Mat-Jib Hunters and commented:
    Nothing quite as beautiful as the cherry blossom trees bursting into colour. This can’t come quick enough! Will definitely be heading to the temple next to COEX to marvel at the stunning blossoms. Spring break through already!

    March 11, 2015
  8. dorcas #

    Which date has a better chance to catch cherry blossom in full bloom in Yeouido, 9-12th or 16-20th?

    March 13, 2015
  9. Cherry blossoms = total bliss.

    March 18, 2015
    • And they are right around the corner. Finally! Cannot wait for the bliss to rain down on me. 😉

      March 19, 2015
      • Vanessa Koh #

        Hi Shelley. Could you tell me please if the cherry blossoms have already bloomed anywhere in Korea? I’ll bein Jeju from 24 – 26/3, then Busan from 26-29/3 (Jinhae on 28/3) and Seoul from 29/3 to 3/4. Hoping to see the pink clouds!

        March 22, 2015
        • Hi Vanessa, I’m based in Seoul, and nothing has blossomed here yet. I can’t speak for the rest of the country personally, but I haven’t seen anything come across the news, so I don’t think so.

          Unless we get some crazy unexpected cold snap, I think your dates should be good for seeing the cherry blossoms (though of course, it’s impossible to predict with certainty). Good luck! I hope it works out for you! 🙂

          March 23, 2015
          • Vanessa Koh #

            Hi Shelley, I am now in Jeju and I have seen a few cherry trees covered with blossoms and some rows of trees just beginning to bloom. It was sunny yesterday and today so maybe tomorrow will bring more blossoms. Looked at the weather forecast for Busan. It’s warm and sunny. So, I guess that will bring earlier blooming too. Yeah!

            March 24, 2015
            • Fantastic! We’re still having cold nights in Seoul, so it’s preventing any blooming from happening so far. Hopefully spring will truly hit and we’ll have some trees and flowers blossoming soon. 🙂

              March 25, 2015
  10. Awesome post, some friends and I were planning a trip for cherry blossom viewing so this is super helpful! 🙂

    April 1, 2015
    • Hi Carmen, I’m happy that you found the post helpful. 🙂 Have you decided which festival you’re going to attend?

      April 3, 2015
      • Gyeongpo blossom festival 🙂

        April 8, 2015
  11. Azyan #

    Hi! I’m going to Jeju Island on 13/4 & 14/4 and will be at Seoul on 15/4. I guess that is a bit too late for cherry viewing huh? I’m still hoping I can see it though.

    April 7, 2015
    • Today, the trees are still in full bloom, but the blossoms are quite fleeting, so it’s impossible to say for sure. Hopefully, you’ll get lucky, but even if you miss the cherries, all the spring flowers will be blooming then, and it’s also very lovely. Enjoy your trip! 🙂

      April 8, 2015
  12. deep #

    Hi, thanks for the share. I am in Korea right now and wanted to know if it is possible to get to geongpodae cherry festival and make it back to Seoul in a day. Might plan to visit tomorrow if it doesn’t take much time. ^^

    April 10, 2015
    • Hey, sorry, I just saw your comment. Did you make it out to Gangneung? The bus ride is 2.5-3 hours usually (can be longer though, depending on traffic), so it’s doable if you leave early morning, but it might be pretty exhausting. It’s worth staying the night on Gyeongpo Beach though if you have the time. 🙂

      April 11, 2015
  13. Hi there! This is by far the best article I found regarding cherry blossoms sight-seeing in Korea. I will be visiting Korea on early April 2016 (around 8th to 11th April) and very much love to see this magnificent view of cherry blossoms.Do you think I can witness a full bloom on any of the date I mentioned above? Because I asked my tour agency and he said that I may be only witness a few as it comes to the end of the bloom. *If that’s the case it’s a bummer for me.. **sad face** *

    October 6, 2015
    • Hey! I’m glad the info was useful to you. 🙂 I’d have to say that your travel agent is probably right. The peak the last 5 years has been from about April 2-6 kind of thing…you might get lucky though on the 8th…it might not be the peak, but there will still be plenty of blossoms around. Any later and I think it’ll probably just be the leftovers…unless of course, we have a weird cold snap this year. In any case, it’ll still be beautiful in Seoul…there’s tons of spring flowers, not just cherry blossoms. Enjoy your trip!! 😀

      October 8, 2015
  14. Hi Shelley,

    Thanks for your wonderful information. I am planning a trip to seoul to see the cherry blossoms. Can you advise which will be a better dates to choose? 1/4/2016-5/4/2016 or 8/4/2016-12/4/2016?

    October 23, 2015
    • Hi there! I’m glad the info was helpful to you! 🙂 Hmm, it is really difficult to say for sure, because it depends so much on the weather (and the weather hasn’t been following the rules lately!!) In 2015, major festivals were the 1st weekend in April, but again it all depends on the weather and festival dates for 2016 have not been announced yet…

      October 23, 2015
  15. Johan #

    Hi Shelley,
    Nice information you got here, I want to ask, if above stated :

    Jeju Cherry Blossom Festival: March 27 – 29

    Does it means the festival run on 27-29, but the flower maybe already bloom on 23 ? Because right now I’m planning for next year 2016, trip to Korea, I plan to go there on late March, due to my only free days.

    Thanks

    December 4, 2015
    • Hi Johan, glad the post was useful to you. 🙂 Yeah, the cherry blossoms are unpredictable, and getting more so every year because of changing weather patterns. Also festival dates for 2016 will likely be different than for 2015, so I wouldn’t bank on March 27-29 to begin with, though it will be close to that. But yes you’re right, it’s possible that the flowers can bloom at any time, early or late. You’ll just have to plan your trip and cross your fingers that nature will cooperate with you. 🙂

      December 6, 2015
  16. Channah #

    You’re a star! Thank you for this article written in English! Korean just about did me in trying to find the dates for this year 😀

    January 7, 2016
    • Hi Channah…lol, yes reading Korean can be…um…challenging, to say the least. BUT the dates in this article are for 2015. The 2016 dates have not been released yet (except for Cherry Marathon in Gyeonju which is on April 9th, this year). I’ll be updating when there’s more info. In any case, the 2016 festival dates won’t be too far off of 2015 (unless there’s some kind of catastrophic weather event)…and definitely will be on the weekend.

      January 9, 2016
  17. Love the images and lucky you to have seen such beauty. I’m off to Japan in a couple of months but sadly, just missing the cherry blossom. Can’t be helped, life has a habit of interfering with one’s search for the perfect place at the perfect time. I shall console myself by looking at your pictures.

    February 22, 2016
    • We are actually headed off to Kyoto next weekend ourselves! and we too will be just missing the cherry blossoms. I’d love to see how they look in Japan, they’re supposed to be incredible! One day… 🙂 Have a wonderful trip!

      February 26, 2016
  18. Thank you for the tip on Bonguensa Temple. I hate crowds but also love to photograph Buddhist Temples.

    March 28, 2016

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