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cherry blossom in south korea

I’ve had the privilege of witnessing 13 magical cherry blossom seasons in Korea. Each spring has been slightly different in timing and length, but the one thing that doesn’t change is that I’m always awestruck by their fragile beauty.

Cherry blossoms are definitely one of nature’s great gifts.

cherry blossom in south korea | gurye

Even after 13 years, I still look forward to cherry blossom season in Korea.

With so many incredibly beautiful places to see cherry blossom in South Korea, it’s hard to pick my favourite 5, but I’ll try (just for you).

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Best Cherry Blossom Spots in Korea Quick Guide

After 13 pink seasons in Seoul, here’s a quick guide to my top 5 places to see cherry blossom in South Korea. I’ll go into full detail about the when, why, how, and where further on in this guide.

City

Where

Why

Ideal Time to Go

Best Way to Go

Daegu

Chimsanjeong Pavilion

cherry blossom clouds and a steep, stone staircase

late March to early April

Jinhae

Gyeonghwa Station

iconic cherry blossom festival with abandoned railroad tracks 

late March to early April

Hadong

10-ri Cherry Blossom Road

1,200 mature cherry trees of spectacular height

late March

Gurye

Seomjingang Cherry Blossom Trail

one of Korea's "100 Most Beautiful Roads"

late March

Seoul

Seokchon Lake

cherry blossom pedestrian path and fairytale castle

early April

Cherry Blossom in South Korea Overview

While most people are familiar with Japan’s sakura and hanami, South Korean beot-kkot (벗꽃) and its cherry blossom festivals are less well-known. This has rapidly changed over the last few years though, and now millions of tourists from all over the globe, flock to Korea every year to go cherry blossom hunting.

cherry blossom in south korea | seokchon lake

Crowds descend upon Korea during cherry blossom season.

Cherry blossom trees are closely related to peach, plum, and apricot trees, with flowers that look quite similar, but bloom a bit earlier. If you’re interested in checking those out, Maehwa Village in Gwangyang is one of the best places to see tens of thousands of plum blossoms in bloom during early spring in Korea.

gwangyang maehwa village | plum blossoms

Plum blossoms at Maehwa Village are just as lovely as cherry blossoms!

All of these flowers bloom in South Korea in March, so it can definitely get confusing! One sure way to tell which flower you’re looking at, is to examine the petals. Peach, plum, and apricot blossoms have rounded petals, whereas cherry blossom petals have a small split at the end.

cherry blossoms in south korea

Cherry blossom petals are split on the end.

Cherry blossom trees are actually incredibly easy to see in Korea, because they’re literally everywhere. You can’t really miss them if you time your visit correctly. I know – easier said than done these days, especially with our drastically changing weather patterns.

Annnd… that’s where I come in. After 13 years in Seoul, I’ve got a pretty good handle on the timing of cherry blossom season in Korea. Be sure to check out my comprehensive cherry blossom guide and forecast for tips on when to visit.

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Chimsanjeong Pavilion | 침산정

Address: 1344-1 Chimsan-dong, Buk-gu, Daegu | 대구 북구 침산동 1344-1

Daegu isn’t usually at the top of Korea cherry blossom bucket lists, but it’s at the top of mine – particularly at Chimsanjeong Pavilion. I literally gasped out loud, the first time I saw this spectacular cherry blossom scene in Daegu.

cherry blossom in daegu | chimsanjeong pavilion

The first look is a gasp out loud moment.

With massive clouds of fluffy pink cherry blossoms hanging romantically over a long, steep set of stone stairs, Chimsanjeong is absolutely one of the most unique and beautiful places to see cherry blossom in South Korea.

When to Go to Daegu for Cherry Blossoms

I visited Daegu on April 2nd a few years ago, and the timing was pretty much perfect to catch the end of peak cherry blossom bloom in the southern regions of Korea.

You’d be safe to head to Chimsanjeong a few days earlier too, but any later than April 4th or 5th, and I think you’d miss out on that fluffy pink cloud feeling (if that’s what you’re after).

cherry blossom in south korea | chimsanjeong pavilion daegu

The line for cherry blossom pics can take hours.

There’s a seriously long line-up for pictures at this iconic cherry blossom spot in Daegu however, so it’s best to arrive early in the morning if you don’t want to wait too long.

We got there around 11:00, and it took hours in line (no lie) to get these cherry blossom pics in South Korea. Kinda worth it though, don’t you think?

cherry blossom in south korea | daegu chimsanjeong

I’m so happy I got these pics!

DAEGU E-WORLD DAY TOUR FROM BUSAN  |  Full of cherry blossoms and gorgeous spring flowers, Daegu E-World is an amusement park with iconic photo spots, thrilling rides, and stunning city views. Check full details here.

How to Get to Chimsanjeong Pavilion

The easiest, fastest way to get to Daegu from Seoul is definitely on one of Korea’s high speed trains. If you’re staying in Myeongdong, or near Seoul Station, the KTX train to Dongdaegu Station is your best option.

If you’re staying south of the Han River, in Gangnam or Jamsil, check into the SRT that departs from Suseo Station.

cherry blossoms in daegu | chimsanjeong pavilion

Head a bit further up the stairs for more cherry blossom views.

From Dongdaegu Station, you can jump in a taxi or hop on local bus #101. Get off at Bukdaegu Tax Office Ap, walk 8 minutes to Chimsan Park, and wander around until you find the crowds oohing and ahhing at this epically gorgeous cherry blossom spot in South Korea.

Where to Stay in Daegu

Staying in the City Centre in Jung-gu District, near Banwoldang or Jungangno Subway Station would give you the most convenient access to Daegu’s other cherry blossom hotspots, like E-World, and Suseong Lake.

cherry blossom in daegu, south korea

Kkotbora is another gorgeous cherry blossom spot in Daegu.

Traveler favourite, Rivertain Hotel has super-comfy beds, a delicious breakfast, and is in the middle of everything, with easy access to restaurants, cafes, and more. It’s affordable and a quick 5 minute walk from Jungangno Station too!

Daegu is Korea’s 4th largest city, so it has a very good public transit system that you can take advantage of to get around. If you have an integrated T-Money + SIM Card or Wowpass from earlier in your trip, you can use the same card to get around Daegu.

Limited Edition Spring Tours in Korea

When plum blossoms in Gwangyang Maehwa Village and Sansuyu in Gurye burst into bloom in mid-March, cherry blossom in South Korea are not far behind. Like cherry blossom season, the dates for most of these tours is incredibly limited. Most run for just a few short weeks!

cherry blossoms in korea | sunsuyu in gurye

Sansuyu are one of the first spring flowers to bloom in Korea.

Spring Tours from Seoul

Spring Tours from Busan

cherry blossom in south korea | gyeongju hwangnyongwon

Gyeongju is stunning during cherry blossom season in South Korea © Kim Hoyeol, Korea Tourism Organization

Gyeonghwa Station Cherry Blossom Road | 경화역 벚꽃길

Jinhae Gungjangje Cherry Blossoms Festival: TBA for 2024, March 25th – April 3rd last year

Gyeonghwa Station Address: 648, Jinhae-daero, Jinhae-gu, Changwon-si, Gyeongsangnam-do | 경상남도 창원시 진해구 진해대로 648

If you’ve looked for pictures of cherry blossom season in South Korea online, there’s a high chance you came across Gyeonghwa Station in Jinhae. With abandoned railroad tracks, a vintage Korail train, and more pink trees than you could ever possibly imagine, this is one of the most famous places to see Korea’s beautiful cherry blossoms in spring.

cherry blossom in south korea | gyeonghwa station in jinhae

Too picturesque… I can’t even ⓒ Live Studio, Korea Tourism Organization

You might even recognise the wonderful Gyeonghwa Station from Korean dramas like, Boy Goes to Heaven or Spring Waltz.

Last year, more than 4 million people converged upon the Jinhae Gunhangje Festival to drink in the city’s 340,000 cherry blossom trees, at iconic spots like Gyeonghwa Station, Anmingogae Road, and Yeojwacheon Bridge. It’s Korea’s biggest spring time festival by far!

cherry blossom in south korea | yeojwacheon stream jinhae

Yeojwacheon Stream in Jinhae is an iconic cherry blossom spot in South Korea © Park Seonggeun, Korea Tourism Organization

When to Go to Jinhae for Cherry Blossoms

Cherry blossom in South Korea peak earlier in the southern regions, so you’ll want to aim for the last week of March for the best chances of seeing Gyeonghwa Station in all its pastel pink glory.

cherry blossom in south korea | gyeonghwa station jinhae

Gyeonghwa Station in Jinhae is simply stunning

When I visited Jinhae on April 1st, the cherry blossoms were at full peak, but petals had definitely started their gentle descent to the ground.

If you’ve always dreamt of getting caught in a cherry blossom petal shower – you could head there in the first 5 days of April, but no later, or risk missing the whole thing.

cherry blossom in jinhae, south korea

These gorgeous petals fall to the ground in early April.

How to Get to Gyeonghwa Station

The best way to get to Jinhae is undoubtedly on a day tour from Seoul or Busan. It costs practically the same as public transit, but it’s a whole lot faster and more comfortable. It’s also the best way to see Gyeonghwa Station and other cherry blossom hotspots in Jinhae easily, without any stress or confusion.

gyeonghwa station cherry blossoms | jinhae, south korea

You want to walk on these abandoned train tracks in Jinhae too!

Where to Stay in Jinhae

French Code Hotel is located between 2 of Jinhae’s most famous cherry blossom spots – Gyeonghwa Station and Yeojwacheon Stream. It’s a bit of a walk to get to both places from the hotel, but it’s one you’ll enjoy, since there are cherry blossom trees planted all over the naval city of Jinhae.

6 DAY CHERRY BLOSSOM TOUR  |  See the best of spring in Korea on Jeju Island, Busan, Jinhae, and Gyeongju, on this all-inclusive tour. Check full details here.

Hadong 10-ri (Simri) Cherry Blossom Road | 십리벚꽃길

Hwagae Cherry Blossom Festival Dates: TBA for 2024, March 31st – April 2nd last year

Address: Maekjeon-gil, Hadong-gun, Gyeongsangnam-do | 경상남도 하동군 화개면 맥전길

The 10-ri Cherry Blossom Road in Hadong is a never-ending line of peach and cherry blossom trees that connects Ssanggyesa Temple to Hwagae Traditional Market. All 1,200 or so of these trees were planted by local villagers way back in 1931, and they’ve now grown to spectacular heights.

10-ri cherry blossom trail in hadong, south korea

The cherry blossom trees at Simni have grown to spectacular heights

I checked out the 10-ri Cherry Blossom Road last year, and all I can say is WOW. I first drove, then walked, through a tunnel of pink trees that just went on and on… and on. This is easily one of the best cherry blossom spots in South Korea.

Legend says that if you walk down the Hwagae Cherry Blossom Lane with your partner, you’ll fall madly and deeply in love with each other forever and ever. I’d believe it. I was ready to fall in love with pretty much anyone, after drinking in the incredible beauty of these delicate cherry blossoms.

cherry blossom in south korea

Driving through an endless tunnel of cherry blossom trees.

Make sure to stop into historic Hwagae Market, and try out traditional foods like Euneo-hoe (sweetfish sushi) and Chamgyetang (king crab stew) before leaving Hadong.

When to Go to Hadong

Last year, we took a trip south, during the festival dates of March 31st to April 2nd, to try to catch the peak of cherry blossom in Hadong. There were already more pink trees in one place than I thought possible, but according to locals, the weekend BEFORE had been jam-packed with petals AND people.

Happy to have gone to Hwagae 10-ri cherry blossom road AFTER the crowds had already left.

I was not disappointed in the least, because we got to enjoy the cherry blossom in South Korea without the crazy crowds and traffic. If you want the full experience however – head there a little earlier.

How to Get to 10-ri Cherry Blossom Trail

There’s no day tour from Seoul to Hadong, so your options are renting a car or public transit. I have mixed feelings about both options.

cherry blossom road in south korea

An endless tunnel of herry blossoms on one side and bamboo on the other.

Parking and traffic down in Hadong during cherry blossom peak in South Korea isn’t something to take lightly, so driving could be stressful – especially if you’re not used to driving in Korea. However, if you use public transit, you won’t get the opportunity to drive underneath an endless cherry blossom tunnel.

Tough choice – but I veer towards having your own vehicle. Public transit is challenging in rural areas of Korea, and this would affect every part of your trip to Hadong – not just the cherry blossom viewing part.

hadong simni cherry blossom road, south korea

It’ll take a bit of walking to get to Hwagae 10-ri cherry blossom road in Hadong.

If you’re doing it DIY, head to Nambu Bus Terminal in Seoul and hop on an intercity bus to Hwagae (화개). From there, you can walk for less than 30 minutes to the Hadong 10-ri Cherry Blossom Road, or jump in a taxi.

While there is a local bus from Hwagae bus stop to Simni Road, it only comes twice a day. Not really a viable option in my opinion, but you can check Naver Maps for exact details if you want to try.

10-ri cherry blossom road hadong korea

Hwagae is rural, so it’s definitely easiest to jump on a day tour if you can.

If you’re staying in Busan, save yourself all the hassle, and jump on this day tour that includes stops at 10-ri Cherry Blossom Road, Ssangyesa Temple, and Geumosan Flyway Cable Car. You’ll be happy you did.

Where to Stay in Hadong for Cherry Blossoms

During cherry blossom peak in South Korea, traffic is at a literal standstill in Hadong. Ideally, you’d want to stay somewhere that’s walking distance to the 10-ri Cherry Blossom Road for the most ease – especially since public transit is few and far between.

hwagae simri cherry blossom road in hadong, south korea

It’s best to stay walking distance to rural attractions if you can.

Unfortunately, it’s not overly easy to find these places available for booking online in english. Most are small pensions run by locals, who usually don’t market to international visitors. The best I can tell you, is to search on Naver Maps or Instagram for places near Hwagae Market or Ssanggyesa Temple.

gurye supoolim pension korea

Gorgeous views with coffee at our pension in Gurye.

When we went to the Simri Cherry Blossom Road, we stayed at a wonderful pension in Gurye, just across the border in Jeollanam-do Province. I’ve written up all the details in the next section, so you can check that out there, if you’re interested.

One small caveat though – it’d be hard to stay there, and get anywhere without your own vehicle.

SPRING HIGHLIGHTS PRIVATE TOUR  |  See thousands of plum blossoms at Gwangyang’s Maehwa Village, then marvel at green tea fields and cherry blossoms in Hadong on a private tour. Check details here.

Gurye Seomjingang Cherry Blossom Trail | 구례 섬진강 벚꽃길

Gurye 300-ri Cherry Blossom Festival: TBA for 2024, March 31st – April 2nd last year

Address: Muncheok-myeon, Gurye-gun, Jeollanam-do | 전라남도 구례군 문척면

I bet you’d be surprised to learn that Gurye has the longest cherry blossom road in all of South Korea. Stretching a whopping 300-ri or 129-km, it really has to be seen to be believed. These incredibly gorgeous avenues are lined with more cherry blossom trees than you could ever possibly picture in one place. They are literally everywhere you turn!

cherry blossom in gurye, south korea

The roads around Gurye are lined with so many cherry blossom trees!

The Seomjingang Cherry Blossom Trail is but just one tiny section of this 300-ri road. Drive (or stroll) along National Roads 17 and 19, and you’ll be treated to a 3-km avenue lined with mature cherry trees that were planted back in 1992. No wonder this section of highway is considered one of the “100 Most Beautiful Roads in Korea.”

Gurye Seomjingang Cherry Blossom Path

The Seomjingang Cherry Blossom Trail is one of Korea’s 100 Most Beautiful Roads © Live Studio, Korea Tourism Organization

I’ve been lucky enough to experience these cherry blossom in South Korea, a couple of years in a row now – and I can’t wait to go back for more… 300-ri more.

cherry blossom in gurye, south korea

There are cherry blossoms literally EVERYWHERE in Gurye

When to Go to Gurye for Cherry Blossoms

With both vibrant sansuyu and pretty cherry blossoms, Gurye might be one of my all time favourite spring time destinations in Korea. Located at the base of Jirisan National Park, this lovely little town has mellow vibes to enjoy, and nutritious mountain vegetables to eat.

gurye south korea | sansuyu village

Gurye is also famous for colourful sansuyu.

While yellow sansuyu colour Gurye as early as mid-month, you’ll have to wait until the last week of March to see cherry blossoms begin to bloom in this southern region of South Korea.

As with most of the other cherry blossom destinations in this guide, when we visited Gurye on April 1st, cherry blossom petals were already starting to flutter gently to the ground.

cherry blossom in south korea

Cherry blossom petals in Gurye were already falling by April 1st.

How to Get to Seomjingang Cherry Blossom Trail

Gurye is small but spread out, so if you don’t have your own vehicle, it’s absolutely worth renting a car to explore this area of Korea easily. From Seoul, it takes approximately 3.5 to 4 hours to get to the Seomjingang Cherry Blossom Trail.

To do it DIY, take an Intercity bus from Seoul Nambu Bus Terminal to Gurye Public Bus Terminal. Transfer to Local Bus #3-7, 3-2, 3-8, 3-5, or 3-10, get off at Jugyeon, then walk 1.2-km to the Seomjingang Cherry Blossom Walkway. If you prefer train travel, Gurye’s train station is called Guryegu Station.

cherry blossom in gurye, south korea

Gurye is a rural area, so public transit is less frequent.

Keep in mind that because this is a rural area, public transit frequency is sporadic, and a taxi or a significant amount of walking might be required to reach your final destination.

Where to stay in Gurye

Last year, I stayed at Gurye Supoolim Pension. With gorgeous views, K-bbq on huge slabs of stone atop a campfire, and a relaxed family vibe, it’s probably the best pension I’ve stayed at in Korea.

gurye supoolim pension korea

How gorgeous is this pension in Gurye?

Supoolim has an ideal location 20 minutes drive from Seomjingang Cherry Blossom Trail in 1 direction, and 15 minutes drive to Hadong Simri Cherry Blossom Road in the other.

road sign in south korea

The rural towns of Gurye and Hadong are right next to each other.

If you’re in the market for a hanok stay, the lovely Jukrokjungsa in Gurye, has traditional architecture, and all the comforts you need.

While Jukrokjungsa is a quick 13-minute drive away from Seomjingang Cherry Blossom Walkway however, public transit is nearly impossible. I don’t recommend staying here unless you have a vehicle or REALLY like walking.

Seokchon Lake | 석촌호수

Seokchon Lake Cherry Blossom Festival Dates: TBA for 2024, April 5th – 9th last year

Address: 47 Jamsil-dong, Songpa-gu, Seoul | 서울특별시 송파구 잠실동 47

There are so many amazing places to see cherry blossom in Seoul, it’s hard to pick a favourite, but I’m gonna go with Seokchon Lake.

cherry blossom in south korea | seokchon lake

Fairytale castle, pink cherry blossoms – CHECK!

With a fairytale castle, a figure 8 pedestrian path, and easy access to every possible amenity you could think of, this is a perfect place to check out cherry blossom in South Korea.

When to Go to Seoul for Cherry Blossoms

Seokchon Lake is a few blocks from my house, so it’s pretty easy for me to keep an eye on the blooming status there.

I’ve noticed that the Seokchon Lake Cherry Blossom Festival tends to be on the back-end of peak blooming dates. In fact, the scheduled festival dates missed the blossoms completely last year!

cherry blossom in south korea | seokchon lake

Head to Seokchon Lake for cherry blossoms in early April © Song Seungwook, Korea Tourism Organization

By April 4th last year, the cherry blossoms at Seokchon Lake had already peaked and were falling to the ground. For the best chances of seeing them, I’d aim to be in Seoul during the first few days of April.

How to Get to Seokchon Lake

This place is a zoo come cherry blossom season in South Korea, so it’s best to take public transit for the most stress-free viewing experience. Go to Jamsil Station on Line 2, take Exit 1, 2, 3 or 4, then follow the crowds to Seokchon Lake Park, which is directly behind Lotte World Mall.

cherry blossoms at seokchon lake in spring

Public transit is the most stress-free way to get to Seokchon Lake.

It’s easy to spend an entire day exploring this part of Seoul, since there’s quite a few attractions in the immediate area. Lotte World Adventure, Seoul Sky Observatory, and Lotte World Aquarium are pretty much right next to the lake. Olympic Park, Songnidan-gil Food Street, and Bangi-dong Food Alley are all within easy walking distance.

lotte world tower cherry blossoms

There are a ton of great attractions at Seokchon Lake.

Where to stay in Jamsil

Finding a place to stay near Lotte World Tower and Mall makes a visit to Seokchon Lake a piece of cake, since both are located right in front of it.

Lotte World Hotel (mid-range) or Signiel Seoul (luxury) are the best choices in Jamsil. Fortunately, both offer top-of-the-line customer service, luxurious rooms, and excellent facilities.

There aren’t a ton of budget options right in Jamsil (unless you want to stay in a love motel), but Lake Tourist Hotel, and Hotel Pharos are reasonably priced and well reviewed hotels that you could check into.

Wherever you end up staying in Seoul, you can be sure that you’ll be surrounded by the lovely pink cherry blossom of South Korea.

cherry blossom in south korea at gyeongbokgung palace

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Cherry Blossom in South Korea: FAQs

1
What month are cherry blossom in South Korea? Cherry blossoms start appearing in the southern regions of South Korea in the last week of March, and continue into the first few weeks of April in other parts of the country.
2
Where can I see cherry blossoms in Korea? Some of Korea's best cherry blossom viewing spots in Seoul are: Yeouido Hangang Park, Seokchon Lake, Seoul Forest, Gyeongbokgung Palace and Changdeokgung. Outside of Seoul, head to: Jinhae Gunhangje Festival, Hadong 10ri Cherry Blossom Trail, and Chimsanjeong Pavilion in Daegu.
3
How long do cherry blossom last in South Korea? Korea's cherry blossom season is usually about 3 weeks long. It starts in the last week of March on Jeju Island and the southern regions, and extends into the first few weeks of April in Seoul and Gangwondo Province. However, weather can greatly impact the total length of cherry blossom season in Korea.
4
What is cherry blossom in Korean? While cherry blossoms are known as sakura in Japan (and much of the world), they are called BEOT-KKOT (벚꽃) in Korean. This beautiful pink flower symbolizes spring, renewal, purity, and love.

Did you know about these cherry blossom spots in Korea? Which is your favourite?

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