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2018 Festival Guide: Where to Get Your Cherry Blossom On in Korea

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

By Kim Daram, CC Attribution

By Kim Daram, CC Attribution

Yup, you guessed it. It’s 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?

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

*Please note: where possible, I’ve updated with festival dates for 2018. Keep checking back though, as I’ll be continually updating the post for those dates that are currently TBD. Generally speaking though, festivals begin at the end of March and last until mid-April. Additionally, dates are subject to change based on weather.

Jinhae Gunhangje Festival: April 1 – 10, 2018
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

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!

Yeongdeungpo Yeouido Spring Flower Festival: beginning April 3, 2018
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

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.

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Seokchon Lake Cherry Blossom Festival: April 5 – 13, 2018
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.

Jeju Cherry Blossom Festival: April 6 – 8, 2018
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.

Cherry Blossom Marathon, photo: KTO

Gyeongju Cherry Blossom Marathon: April 7, 2018
If you’d like to run under a sea of falling petals, you can take part in the 27th 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.

Hubby ran this in 2016, and the course is just as stunningly beautiful as you dream it’ll be.

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

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Hwagae Cherry Blossoms Festival: April 7 – 8, 2018
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 forever.

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.

Gyeongpo Cherry Blossom Festival: TBD
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.

Cheongpunghoban Cherry Blossom Festival: April 13 – 15, 2018
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!

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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.

For more details, visit their website.

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, and all you have to do is make sure you take a stroll around the city before they disappear.

Psst: Check out Bongeunsa, next to Coex Mall, and you might just find that you have the temple AND the gorgeous trees scattered around its grounds practically to yourself.

Are you planning a visit to Korea to see the gorgeous cherry blossoms? Which of these festivals to you want to attend? Where’s your favourite place to see the most temporal of blooms?

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84 Comments Post a comment
  1. Sha #

    Ahh, is it that time of the year already? Time flies but hopefully, these flowers will not be gone that soon!

    March 6, 2018
    • It’s crazy how fast time is going – can’t believe it’s already March!! But honestly, I’m just so glad this winter is over…it was SO cold. Well, you know… 😉

      March 6, 2018
      • Sha #

        Hahaha yes, I know..😉 good thing it’s starting to warm up..before you know it, you’ll be complaining abt the heat and humidity next..its the same here, no weather is ever right cos we Singaporeans still complain anyway….hehehe 😁😁

        March 7, 2018
  2. Looks just like Japan! Do people do hanami, too??

    March 6, 2018
    • I’ve never been to Japan for sakura season! Would soooo love to go there one day, but it’s hard to justify when we have our own cherry blossoms here. Ha! I’ve never heard of hanami. What is it???

      March 6, 2018
      • Hanami is where you picnic (and get drunk) underneath the sakura trees! Literally everyone does it here, so some places get really crowded. But it’s so much fun!

        March 7, 2018
        • Haha, it’s so funny that they actually have a word for this process. 😀 I’m sure it happens here too, since people love to picnic AND to drink, but there’s no specific word for it. There should be!!! 😉

          March 8, 2018
          • Haha yeah they take it seriously here!

            March 9, 2018
  3. I remember being blasé about the cherry blossoms in Washington, DC, until the year I actually lived there and was easily able to see them at their peak. They were so much better than I imagined! I’m sure yours are equally stunning.

    March 6, 2018
    • To be totally honest, I’m not a huge flowers person, but the first time I saw cherry blossoms I was pretty blown away. There really is something so fairytale like about them…even their process of dying is so ethereal… it turns Seoul into some kinda pink wonderland every year!

      March 6, 2018
  4. Can’t wait for the cherry blossoms here in Germany. Here they bloom always aorund middle/ end of April. Hamburg for example has over 5000 cherry trees around the city center and this year Japan made another gift of 150 trees for Hamburg.
    I hope to see some blossoms when we go to Japan end of April/ beginning of May but I guess we will be just too late when we arrive in Osaka

    March 6, 2018
    • Woah 5000 trees in Hamburg! I would never have guessed. Aww, yeah, it’ll probably be too late when you get to Japan – they usually bloom around here the first week of April and only last about a week. Are you also going to Kyoto, Kobe and Nara? Kobe beef is sooooo delicious!!! 🙂

      March 6, 2018
      • Perhaps we will also go to Kyoto but not the other places. Kobe beef has been on my eating list for a long time so perhaps I will have some luck this year 🙂

        March 8, 2018
        • Why not have Kobe beef at its source, right? Nom nom nom. Wish I could eat it again myself! Have a wonderful trip! 🙂

          March 8, 2018
  5. I somehow managed to miss any of these festivals last year! I had only heard of Jinhae but heard it’s insanely busy! Thanks for all of these detailed alternatives!

    March 6, 2018
    • Honestly, the only festival I’ve actually made it to is the Seokchon Lake one, and that’s cuz it’s a 15 minute walk from my house! Thank goodness the cherry blossoms are pretty much everywhere, cuz I am not a fan of huge crowds of people!! Which one do you think you’ll go to??

      March 6, 2018
  6. I really want to visit a place where they have these in bloom. So beaitufl.

    March 7, 2018
  7. Aminmin #

    HI shelley, can I know whether the dates you gave for the festivals at yeouido and seokchon lake are confirmed or tentative dates. I have been trying to find the confirmed ones but to no avail. Then i found your website 🙂 I am gg seoul from 3-9 april and really hope to catch the cherry blossoms there but forecast states only the week after would the flowers be fully bloomed. Thanks for your kind reply!

    March 8, 2018
    • Hey there…all festival dates are subject to change based on the weather, but I think with your travel dates you’ll be just fine anyways. In past years, the peak has always been in the first week of April – so I wouldn’t worry too much about missing things based on festival dates. Your dates actually give you the best chance of seeing them! 🙂 I’ll be continually updating the festival dates though as they change or are updated, so maybe check back closer to your trip…

      March 9, 2018
  8. That is just stunning – I love seeing the Cherry blossom when we’re in Provence, but even there it’s not on this scale. I’d never heard of this before and am a sucker for festivals and so will add this to my ever-growing list.

    March 9, 2018
    • The travel list never gets shorter, does it?? Korea is covered in cherry blossoms, just like Japan, and it’s such a lovely time of year to be in the city!

      March 9, 2018
      • As you say it never gets shorter! & it was just something I’d never considered – thanks for sharing #citytripping

        March 9, 2018
  9. We went to Japan 4 years ago to see the Cherry Blossoms, and it was so amazing! I’d love to go back to Asia and see them again someday! Your photos are so lovely, thank you for sharing on #farawayfiles

    March 9, 2018
    • I have yet to see the cherry blossoms in Japan – somehow I can’t justify flying the 2 hours to see them, when we have our own blooms here in Korea – but I’m sure one day when I’m living far from this part of the world, I’ll regret this decision. 😉

      March 9, 2018
      • I know what you mean. I grew up in Washington state and we had cherry blossoms there too. It was beautiful, but nothing like what you have in Korea or like they have in Japan.

        March 9, 2018
  10. This will definitely come in handy one day! I desperately want to see the Cherry Blossoms!! I didn’t know though that Korea also had them! Pinned! #FarawayFiles

    March 9, 2018
    • Ahh great!! YES! Korea has gorgeous cherry blossoms, and it literally turns the whole country into a fairytale wonderland for a few weeks. I’ve seen them now 9 years in a row and it never gets old. 🙂

      March 9, 2018
  11. just dont forget your hayfever medication! 😀

    March 9, 2018
    • Haha seriously – unfortunately cherry blossom season also coincides with some of the worst air pollution we have in the country. 🙁

      March 9, 2018
  12. So happy I found this post! It will be my first Spring in Korea so im excited to see all the cherry blossoms! Will definitely be visiting one of these festivals next month.

    March 9, 2018
    • Awesome! They are truly magical to see, and they just never get old. Try to get to the festivals as early as possible to avoid the crowds. Enjoy!! 🙂

      March 9, 2018
  13. Clare Thomson #

    These are SO beautiful, Shelley. I would love to see them one day. Thanks for sharing your wonderful photos and great tips on #FarawayFiles

    March 10, 2018
    • They really are a sight to behold Clare. I never get tired of seeing them year after year…and will be sad when I live far from here and don’t have that privilege anymore. 😉

      March 10, 2018
  14. Go Live Young #

    Would love to see these wonderful cherry blossoms at some point #FarawayFiles

    March 11, 2018
  15. Thanks for sharing this. My wife and I are considering a trip to Japan and South Korea in the next couple of years, but I am embarrassed to say I did not have any idea about this phenomenon! Maybe we need to time our visit at the beginning of April so we can take advantage 🙂

    March 11, 2018
  16. Kim #

    The white ones look like a winter wonderland! I’ve always wanted to see this in action. Thanks for the share!

    March 12, 2018
  17. Alexander Popkov #

    Getting to photograph the Cherry Blossoms is one of my dreams. I want to choose a country now. Japan is famous for it, but now I have to consider Korea as well.

    March 12, 2018
  18. Wow! Where I am at the moment in the US, we’re still covered by a foot of snow. Hard to imagine it’s already time for the cherry blossoms back in Korea. I went to Yeouido one year in mid bloom. It was definitely crowded (like any event in Seoul), but pretty. We went in the evening for viewing by colored lights. The lake park by Jamsil is such a cool spot, but when I tried to go for a viewing there two years ago, I had missed it by just a couple days and all the blossoms were crushed on the ground. It’s definitely a sort of magic to get the timing just right.

    March 12, 2018
  19. Thanks so much for the information! I definitely want to check out the cherry blossoms in full bloom! What festival would you recommend the most?

    March 12, 2018
  20. I love cherry blossom season! Someday hoping to make it to Asia for this time!! We do have an impressive cherry blossom viewing in Washington DC!

    March 12, 2018
  21. Marvi #

    Ohhh… I’ve always wanted to see the cherry blossoms one day! This will come pretty handy when I finally start planning for my trip to South Korea.. The Yeongdeungpo Yeouido Spring Flower Festival sounds very enticing among the rest. I’d love to see other spring flowers in full blooms aside from the cherry blossoms..I’m sure it’ll be dreamy with all those flowers! I wonder if you’ll be able to enjoy that much though if it gets too crowded?

    March 12, 2018
  22. I LOVE your cherry blossom guide each year. I’ve heard of most of the places but still.. beautiful. I actually would like to go to Gangneung sometime when they’re blooming. I always go in the summer and they have those “fake” cherry blossom trees around the lake when they aren’t in bloom so I’d love to see it when they’re actually blooming for reals hahaha

    March 12, 2018
  23. Oh wow! I have always associated Cherry Blossom with Japan but clearly Korea is the best looking plan B I have ever seen!

    March 12, 2018
    • Shelley @Travel-Stained #

      Heh heh, Korea should be your Plan B (but of course, I’m totally biased). The trees are incredibly gorgeous in each country, but there must be a reason why Seoul has been the top destination for Asians for the last 10 years in a row running… just sayin’ 😉

      March 15, 2018
  24. An excellent and timely blog. I was walking through Namsun park yesterday, and thinking about the approaching cherry blossoms. I’ll definitely visit Bongeunsa. I hadn’t thought of heading there to see the blossoms! I want to check out some of your other suggestions because i’d like to take the opportunity to travel outside of Seoul!

    March 12, 2018
    • Shelley @Travel-Stained #

      It’s crazy how fast spring came after that brutal winter, eh? I found the cherry blossoms at Bongeunsa by accident one year – had no idea they had any – and apparently most people don’t know either – cuz it’s always been empty when I’ve gone. I loved seeing them while at the Cherry Blossom Marathon in Gyeongju, cuz it was for an event and so quiet compared to the festivals – plus there’s SO much more to see in Gyeongju!

      March 15, 2018
  25. While other places may be more notable for cherry trees in the spring, I like to see different spots of my city – Daejeon – come to life and embrace the beauty of spring. I also hate the crowds that festivals bring and know a few quiet getaways that are somehow hidden off other’s agenda. Come to Daejeon and I’ll show you!!:)

    March 12, 2018
    • Shelley @Travel-Stained #

      It must be so great to live in a city that’s not really on the tourist path. I swear the population of Seoul feels like it doubles in summertime with all the tourists – really not pleasant. I’ve actually been to Daejeon cuz my cousin lives there, and I found it to be a really relaxed and pleasant place to be… I’ll def give you a holler if we end up there again…you can show us all the local haunts. 🙂

      March 15, 2018
  26. wrpalomo #

    I would love to go around Korea this first week of April for the cherry blossoms! But I have visitors coming to stay in the house for the whole spring break so,I guess I will be just choosing the convenient locations which I have already been to. But I do wish I could go to Jinhae. The cherry blossom photos there are always amazing!

    March 13, 2018
    • Shelley @Travel-Stained #

      We have visitors from Italy coming for the first week of April too, so we won’t be traveling around too much either. Fortunately, there’s plenty to see in Seoul! 🙂

      March 15, 2018
  27. Wow, this is so timely since I’ll be travelling to Korea on July, I hope that I can still see some these cherry blossoms when I get there. Never been to Korea in my entire life, and it has always been my dream to traipse my feet there. I would love to experience snow, autom and spring as well.

    March 17, 2018
    • Shelley @Travel-Stained #

      Aww unfortunately, the blossoms only last about 2 weeks maximum, so they’ll be long gone by July. 😢 There’s still tons to do, see and EAT though. You’ll have a great time… prepare for serious heat and humidity!

      March 17, 2018
  28. How I wish I could see Cherry Blossoms in Korea 🙂 Till then I will enjoy seeing blossoms in Washington DC! Beautiful photos <3

    March 17, 2018
    • Shelley @Travel-Stained #

      The ones in DC look incredible too! 😁

      March 17, 2018
  29. I had no idea there was a cherry blossom marathon!!! Agh, I have to do this!!

    March 17, 2018
    • Shelley @Travel-Stained #

      Hehe it’s the best crowd-free way to enjoy the cherry blossoms too! 😁

      March 17, 2018
  30. cpowell21 #

    I LOVE South Korea! We were lucky enough to visit during the cherry blossom festivals. The sheer beauty of the blossoms was just incredible and we loved every second of our time there. Thanks for the post.

    March 17, 2018
    • Shelley @Travel-Stained #

      You always hear about cherry blossoms and it’s so nice that they don’t disappoint at all in person. I look forward to them each and every year (and I’ve lived here for 9 years now!).

      March 17, 2018
  31. I’ve been to the Yeouido festival. It was gorgeous! Spring is a great time to visit Korea as the flowers blossom. Next time, I’d love to visit Jinhae.

    March 19, 2018
    • Shelley @Travel-Stained #

      It must’ve been gorgeous but crowded! Hopefully you’ll get a chance to visit jinhae one day. 😁 (also FYI Chloe, I do not allow links on my blog, and have edited yours out, unless specifically asked for or if we have a long established relationship of commenting on each other’s blogs. Not trying to be snarky, but most bloggers consider it pretty spammy to drop by with a comment and a link to your own blog on your very first visit. It’s not considered proper commenting etiquette, and it’s a practice you may want to avoid in future, since it won’t make you many friends in the blogging universe).

      March 19, 2018
  32. It’s that time of the year! YAY! The street near Emart is popping with blossoms. We walked along the Han yesterday and spotted few trees in bright pink and some white. I won’t be heading outside Seoul though, so I will have to go to the usual places here. 🙂 Need to meet you soon.

    April 2, 2018
    • Shelley @Travel-Stained #

      You got back at literally the PERFECT time. It was seriously miserable here while you were gone. 🙁

      April 3, 2018
  33. I love the cherry blossoms! I do not love Jinhae! A sea of elbows in your face and adjumas with cameras! Hahah. No in all seriousness its pretty dam beaut! Love the post and the pics!

    April 4, 2018
    • That is the very reason why I personally don’t attend festivals. Waaaay too introverted to deal with all the crowds and pushy people. We’re lucky that there’s cherry blossom beauty to be found all over the place! 🙂

      April 17, 2018
  34. Ah they’re so pretty! thanks for all the bus information too! 🙂 beautiful pics as well.
    I wanted to go to the Jinhae one this year but every Korean had told me that it’s packed to the brim with people and I don’t know how I feel about getting shoved around for an hour. However, Gwangyang last year was absolutely PERFECT, calm and had probably 50 trees.

    April 15, 2018
    • I think Jinhae is probably the most crowded festival in the country, cuz it’s the most famous. It’s my worst nightmare. Haha. I definitely prefer quieter areas to enjoy the blossoms. I think I need to write a post about off-the-beaten path locations to see the them next year. Will def look into Gwangyang! 🙂

      April 17, 2018
  35. I was in korea last april 9-18 but the cherry blosdoms in most places where the festivsls were held were already falling

    May 8, 2018
    • Shelley @Travel-Stained #

      Yeah I’d say the best bet to see the blossoms in full bloom is the first weekend of April! By the 9th they’re definitely falling 😢

      May 18, 2018

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Where to Get your Cherry Blossom On in Korea: Updated for 2015 | Travel-Stained
  2. Where to Get your Cherry Blossom On: Updated for 2016 | Travel-Stained
  3. 2018 Festival Guide: Where to Get Your Cherry Blossom On in Korea [KOREANMATE] - KOREANMATE
  4. Cherry Blossom Chasers in Seoul (Landmarks & Memorials) | twobrownfeet

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