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Where to Get your Cherry Blossom On: Updated for 2016

*If you’re looking for updated 2018 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: April 1-10
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 1 – 3
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.

Yeongdeungpo Yeouido Spring Flower Festival: April 1 – 10
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 5-11
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 9
If you’d like to run under a sea of falling petals, you can take part in the 25th 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.

We’ll be here ourselves, cheering on hubby as he runs his very first full marathon. Wish him luck! 🙂

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 8-10
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 8-10
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.

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 beautiful pinkness?

READ MORE:  Beaches in Korea: Naksan and Anmok Beach
28 Comments Post a comment
  1. Here the cherry trees are slowly waking up after this strange winter. Hope to see the cherry blossoms here in Germany by the end of the month

    March 11, 2016
    • We also had a strange winter here in Seoul, with a lot of freak blizzards, mixed with super-warm days and some of the coldest temps we’ve ever had. How was it there? Right now I’m just praying that the winter will finally end…it really feels like it’s dragging this year! 🙁

      March 12, 2016
      • Here it was the same however er thankfully didn’t have any blizzards or too low temperatures. I think on Christmas we had around +14 degrees Celsius and a week later we had -10, so strange weather

        March 12, 2016
  2. so much cherry blossom! Amazing stuff. People with allergies – keep away!

    March 15, 2016
    • Haha…never thought of that. They probably do suck for people with allergies. :p But for the rest of us, they really make the city feel like a pink wonderland…and they’re just around the corner. Can’t wait!

      March 15, 2016
  3. Wow, this looks amazing! I can’t wait to see the cherry blossom in Japan this year 🙂

    March 15, 2016
    • We just returned from a quick trip to Kyoto, and absolutely loved it! Wish we’d been able to go later to see the sakura ourselves there, but I guess we’ll just have to content ourselves with the Korean ones. 🙂 You must be getting so excited about your upcoming honeymoon! How long will you be in Japan for? 🙂

      March 15, 2016
  4. Beautiful photos and interesting text! Thanks for sharing. Bye. Kamila

    March 17, 2016
    • Thanks Kamila. Can’t wait for the cherry blossoms to start blooming here – should be soon… 🙂

      March 22, 2016
  5. S #

    We are going to Busan from April 1-4. Praying that the cherry trees will be in bloom then! ☺️☺️☺️

    March 18, 2016
    • Ruh-roh I think the cherry blossoms may have already bloomed in Busan. 🙁 It got really warm here over the last few days – hope they’re still around when you visit…otherwise you can take a trip further north, to Seoul or somewhere else to see them. It’s only 2.5 hours from Busan to Seoul on the KTX train…

      March 22, 2016
      • S #

        That is sad. 😔 Do you think we’ll be able to see the blossoms in Jinhae on April 2-4?

        March 24, 2016
        • I think they just started blooming down south so they may still be there, u never know…but given that the Jinhae festival is April 1-10 this year, I’d say for sure, they’ll be in full bloom April 2-4. 😄🌸

          March 25, 2016
  6. karlalu #

    Very helpful post! We will be in seoul on apr 14th, wish we could still see cherry blossoms.

    March 29, 2016
    • You might get lucky and see a few blooms still hanging around. You never know… 🙂

      March 29, 2016
  7. Thanks for the update. Gonna be at Jeju Seogwipo from 7-10 April and Seoul from 10 -12 April. Hope to catch the Sakura bloom in action.

    March 30, 2016
    • Hey Steve…a few trees were starting to bloom last night, and I think that when I go out today, I might just see a parade of pink trees. I hope they last long enough for you to see them! 🙂

      March 31, 2016
  8. So pretty! I wish I could see this 🙂 I was told to visit Washington DC now as they also have Cherry Blossoms peak season – only last for couple weeks.

    March 31, 2016
    • Yes! If you can make it over to DC to see them, you should! They are something that are definitely worth seeing, and so much better in person than in any picture. They’re really so magical, like a fairytale. 🙂

      March 31, 2016
  9. Absolutely sublime. I can’t think of a more uplifting vision after a long, gray winter.

    April 28, 2016
    • It turns into a magical pink fairytale land around here for a little while…the perfect transition to the flowers of spring! 🙂

      April 29, 2016
  10. do they still have cherry blossoms in june? im going there at the end of may and i was hoping if i can see cherry blossoms. thanks 🙂

    May 17, 2016
    • No, I’m afraid not. 🙁 They usually only last about 1 week, and they bloom usually in the first week of April…

      May 19, 2016

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

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