Where to get your Cherry Blossom On in Korea
*If you’re looking for updated 2015 information about Korea’s cherry blossom festivals, please see THIS POST for 2015 dates.
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.
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?
This year, due to an unseasonably mild winter, and an early spring, cherry blossom season is arriving sooner than expected. That means that festival dates are earlier than normal.
So, where in Korea can you see this ephemeral event? Here’s a list of the major cherry blossom festivals taking place across the peninsula.
April 1 – 10: Jinhae Gunhangje Festival
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.
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!
April 4 – 6: Jeju Cherry Blossom Festival
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. 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 details about the festival, check out this link.
April 4 – 6: Seokchon Lake Cherry Blossom Festival
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.
This is the cherry blossom festival we’ll be attending, hopefully on all 3 days. Pictures to follow. 🙂
To get there: Head to Jamsil Station on Line 2, and take Exit 3.
April 5 – 6: Hwagae Cherry Blossoms Festival
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.
April 12-20: Yeouido Spring Flower Festival
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.
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.
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. Just make sure you get out for a stroll around the city before they disappear!
Have you seen the cherry blossoms? Where did you see them? What do you think makes them so attractive to us?