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shot by Simon Bond

Nothing signals spring’s arrival better than the delicate, pale pink cherry blossoms that burst in unison from once barren trees across the peninsula. Whether you’re looking for a place to enjoy the outdoors with family and friends, take a romantic stroll, or snap scenic photographs, the cherry blossom festivals that take place in April are a sure way to experience Korea’s natural beauty. If there is one thing that you absolutely must see in Korea in the springtime, this is it! You don’t want to miss these opportunities to walk under the ephemeral, fairytale-like canopies of pink and white.

Jinhae
The Jinhae Gunhang Festival (April 1st – 10th) is one of the most famous cherry blossom festivals in Korea. Located in South Gyeongsang Province, the city of Jinhae is home to hundreds of thousands of flowering trees and attracts over one million visitors each spring. To get a view of the entire city as well as the ocean next to it, take a hike at Mt. Jangbok, where you’ll see the city blanketed with blossoms and tourists. Another option is a stroll down Anmin Road, a 5.6-kilometer stretch of blossom canopies. For the best photo opportunities, walk along picture-perfect Yeojwacheon, a stream lined with trees and dotted with yellow canola flowers. Yeojwacheon is especially famous for having been featured in the 2002 drama Romance. There are plenty of food tents dotted throughout the city for food to snack on while you enjoy the blossoms.
From Seoul, take the KTX to Miryang. At Miryang, transfer to the Saemaeul train bound for Jinhae.

SEOUL

From April 13th to 17th, tourists and city dwellers alike are free to roam the streets of Yeouido along the Han River, where tree-lined roads are blocked off for pedestrian blossom-viewing. Cultural events including traditional Korean music and dance, are scheduled.  For a leisurely evening stroll, visit the LED-lit blossoms at night near the river, or walk down the 1.7-kilometer Yunjungno. Yeouido is sure to be packed with a sea of people, but don’t let that stop you from enjoying the blossoms in the city.
Exit at National Assembly Station (line 9) or Yeouinaru Station
(line 5 exits 1-3).

HWAGAE
The Hwagae Cherry Blossom Festival takes place from April 2nd to 3rd in South Gyeongsang Province. According to legend, if two lovers walk down the beautiful, blossom-lined 10-ri cherry road while holding hands, they will eventually get married and live happily ever after. See for yourself if the legend holds true!
From Nambu Terminal in Seoul (line 3), take a bus towards Hadong-gun and get off at Hwagae Terminal. From Hwagae Terminal, a a bus or taxi will bring you to the festival site at Hwagae Jangteo.

CHEONGPUNG
The Cheongpung Cherry Blossom Festival in Jecheon in North Chungcheong Province takes place from April 15th to 17th. Expect various hands-on events such as flower postcard making and lakeside bungee jumping.  Some of the prettiest scenery lies at the end of the blossom road at Cheongpung Lake, surrounded by flowers. Other attractions include a visit to the SBS Jecheon film set and water sports on the lake.
From the Dong Seoul Terminal at Gangbyeon St. (line 2), take a bus to Jecheon Terminal.  From the terminal, hop on a city bus or a taxi to reach the festival grounds.

HAMPYEONG
To celebrate the town’s natural surroundings, the Hampyeong Butterfly Festival was started in 1999. Within a decade, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism named it one of the best festivals in the country. It continues to catch the interest of the whole nation as the area transforms into a veritable butterfly farm. The festival includes more than 30 programs, including an aquatic plant exhibit, butterfly catching and natural coloring.

Hampyeong Expo Part Area in Jeolla Province

SOYANG
Soyang is famed for its cherry trees (expected to arrive around the fifth of April) which bloom in a giant arch spanning the road, creating a pink-and-white tunnel that stretches for almost two kilometers beside a shallow stream. It’s well-known locally as a great spot for taking a romantic walk beneath the gently drifting petals and has been used as backdrop for a number of TV dramas and movies.
Soyang is about 10 km east of Jeonju. To get there from downtown, catch a green city busfrom the stop outside Starbucks on Paldal-ro, heading towards Songgwangsa and Oseong-ri. The journey should take about 30 minutes and will cose around W2,500.

 

JEJU
There are two major festivals that celebrate the beginning of spring on this island. The Jeju Cherry Blossom Festival (April 1st – 3rd) offers white blossoms at the Jeju Citizen Welfare Town. Seosara Street Festival (April 9th – 10th) will have cherry trees deocorated with red-and-blue silk lanterns in Jeju City (Jeonnong-ro).

Far from the Madding Crowds
Want to bask in cherry blossom bliss without all of the festive frenzy? Try one of these (relatively) tranquil options. That said, don’t blame us if you have an unpleasant run in with a beondegi stand. This is Korea, after all, and not the Australian Outback.
Incheon Grand Park
About 15 minutes by bus from Songnae St. (line 1) or Incheon City Hall St. (Incheon line). grandpark.incheon.go.kr
Lover’s Road at Yeongnam University
Near Daegu in Gyeongsan-si. yu.ac.kr
Seoul Grand Park
Just south of Seoul in Gwacheon-si near Seoul Grand Park St. (line 4). grandpark.seoul.go.kr
Yunjung-ro in Yeouido
Take a relaxing stroll down this street while the festivities continue a few blocks away. National Assembly St. (line 9, ex. 3) or Yeouinaru St. (line 5, ex. 3)

Words by Shirley Hwang

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