The spring has finally arrived in Korea, although the recent state of the chilly temperature might have indicated otherwise.
The weather has been overly fickle from last year’s winter until now; gracing us with ‘sunshine’ and ‘sudden snow’ in late January and February while it hardly even snowed during December – South Korea’s usual period for mass snow.
According to the lunar calendar, the spring season was supposed to have started from February 4th for this year. But regardless of how the weather has been, springtime in Korea doesn’t last very long (it’s actually the shortest season of the year…) so let’s just enjoy it while it lasts.
Perhaps nothing will represent the Korean spring season better than the cherry blossoms that usually bloom only ‘briefly’ during March until April.
The beautiful scenery of the colorful cherry blossoms will only stick around for a limited time; approximately ten days or three weeks at the most. And the date when the cherry blossoms will be in bloom will differ each year.
For 2016, it is predicted that the flowers will come in bloom from March 29th in the Gyeongju area (located in the Southern part of South Korea) and April 9th for the Seoul region. This is just an estimated prediction, which is similar to the weather forecast but it should give you a rough date when to expect the flowers in full bloom.
According to reliable sources, the best period to view and enjoy the cherry blossoms ‘in full bloom’ in Korea would be from April 7th until 17th this year.
Below, I have selected to list eight cherry blossom festivals that will take place in various cities in the peninsula. Other than the ones on this list, there are many other cherry blossom festivals that are held each year in Korea.
Most of the flower festivals are held annually; some festivals have been around longer and some are more famous and will attract more visitors than others. But each cherry blossom festival will be unique and enjoyable its own way and also the flowers and the buds all come in many different forms and colors.
Gwangyang International Maehwa Festival (March 18 – March 27, 2016)
Location: Seomjin Village, Gwangyang-si, Jeollanam-do
Gwangyang International Maehwa Festival takes place in Seomjin Village, home of the largest number of apricot blossom trees in Korea. At the Gwangyang International Maehwa festival, the visitors can take a stroll beneath the romantic apricot blossoms and try out some local delicacies at the village.
Gurye Sansuyu Festival (March 19 – March 27, 2016)
Location: Jirisan Mountain Hot Spring area, Sandong-myeon, Gurye-gun, Jeollanam-do
Gurye Sansuyu Festival is an annual spring flower festival that takes place in the near the Jirisan Mountain hot springs area. (Jirisan is a mountain in the southern region of South Korea.)
Events for this festival include sampling or producing the Korean traditional liquor, ‘Cornus fruit Makgeolli,’ and other programs will offer Korean folklore music, dance performances and fireworks displays during the evening.
Jinhae Gunhangje Festival (April 1 – April 10, 2016)
Location: Jungwon Rotary, Jinhae-gun, Changwon-si, Gyeongsangnam-do
Jinhae Gunhanje Festival is Korea’s largest cherry blossom festival with a number of approximately 340,000 cherry trees, boasting of its largest number of cherry trees in the world,
This festival has a long tradition and has been celebrated since 1952 in memory of Admiral ‘Yi Sun-shin,’ who was in charge of defeating the numerous Japanese invasions during the Joseun dynasty. During the evening, the streets will be crowded with stalls, selling Korean traditional foods, souvenirs, snacks and etc.
Jeju King Cherry Blossom Festival (April 1 – April 10, 2016)
Location: Jeju Sports Complex area, Jeju Island
Jeju’s King cherry blossoms can be seen all over Seogwipo’s downtown area and the Jeju Sports Complex.
The size of the delicate petals of the King Cherry Tree blossoms is the largest among all types of cherry blossoms and they are considered highly for their splendor.
The King Cherry Trees fully blossom for only a couple of days in April but it’s needless to state that the cherry blossoms are worth seeing and very beautiful.
Hwagae Cherry Blossoms Festival (April 1 – April 3, 2016)
Location: Hwagae Market area, Hadong-gun, Gyeongsangnam-do
The beautiful snow white cherry blossom trees are definitely a lovely attraction for any visitors. One of the popular attractions of this festival is the ‘10-ri Cherry Blossom Road,’ which is nicknamed as the ‘marriage road’ – it is said that if lovers walk down the road holding hands, the couple would wed and stay together happily ‘til eternity.
Other attractions of the festival include the historic Hwagae Market and the restaurants that serve the province’s traditional seafood cuisines.
Icheon Baeksa Sansuyu Blossom Festival (April 1 – April 3, 2016)
Location: Dorip-ri, Gyeongsa-ri, Songmal-ri and Baeksa-myeon, Icheon, Gyeonggi-do
Icheon’s Baeksa Village is home to a number of Sansuyu trees which have been growing naturally in the area for over a century.
In early spring, the trees turn a striking bright yellow and during the Icheon Baeksa Sansuyu Blossom Festival, the visitors can participate in Korean traditional folk games and watch the Sansuyu flower parade.
Yeouido Spring Flower Festival (April 4 – April 10, 2016)
Location: Surrounding areas of Yunjungno & Yeouido, Seoul
Yeouido Spring Flower Festival is held in mid-April, during the time when spring flowers like azaleas, forsythia, royal azaleas and others are in full bloom.
The area is well-known for its number of about 1600 Cherry trees.
Vehicles are prohibited to access around the National Assembly area during the festival, which makes it super convenient for visitors to enjoy themselves. The festival becomes much more vibrant at night when the cherry blossoms are lit up in different colors.
Seokchon Lake Cherry Blossom Festival (Date not yet available)
Location: Seokchon Lake area, Waterside Stage, Seoul
Seokchon Lake Cherry Blossom Festival is an annual event held at Seokchon Lake, which is located close to the Magic Island of the Lotte World Amusement park in Jamsil, Seoul – which indicates that variety of performances, exhibitions will be showcased during this festival.
Occasionally, Korean pop acts may perform on the stage in Lotte World, making the area more vibrant and will offer a fun experience for its visitors.