The Top 10 Spring Festivals In Korea
Spring has officially arrived. The temperatures tell us so. The sun is shining, the heavyweight coats are being hidden away in favor of colorful jackets and, the real sign of spring, the flowers are starting to bloom. A little yellow here. A little pink there. My Instagram is full of fellow Korean residers posting pictures of those blooms. So, where should you go to get the best shots of the fun in the sun spring style? Here are the top 10 festivals in Korea to check out in the spring.
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1. Gurye Sansuyu Flower Festival (구례산수유꽃축제)
March 19, 2016 ~ March 27, 2016
The little yellow Japanese Dogwood, or sansuyu, flowers basking in the glow of the spring sun is truly dazzling. This annual flower festival is set in the Jirisan Hot Springs region and from hiking to mountain scenery, fruit infused makkkoli, traditional games and performances, there is something for everyone. Events include a treasure hunt, traditional folk games, pressed flower painting and of course plenty of tastings, too.
45, Sanggwan 1-gil, Gurye-gun, Jeollanam-do
전라남도 구례군 산동면 상관1길 45 (산동면)
From Seoul Nambu Terminal, take an intercity bus to Gurye (구례).
– From Gurye Bus Terminal, take the Gurye-Jungdong (구례-중동), Gurye-Wolgye (구례-월계), Gurye-Namwon (구례-남원), or Gurye-Hwaeomsa Temple (구례-화엄사) route bus to Jungdong (중동).
– The Jirisan Mountain Hot Springs area is located 300m from the Jungdong bus stop.
If you can’t get out to Gurye, a smaller yet no less beautiful sansuyu fest sits just an hour outside of Seoul in Icheon. The Icheon Baeksa Sansuyu Flower Festival (이천백사 산수유꽃축제) is from April 1, 2016 ~ April 3, 2016. Though Icheon’s celebration of the flowers is a bit smaller, the landscape is still gorgeous. Baeksa Village is host to dogwood trees that have been growing for more than 100 years. There will be a flower parade, traditional folk games and lots of townie fun with some delicious local delicacies to try too.
17, Wonjeok-ro 775beon-gil, Icheon-si, Gyeonggi-do
경기도 이천시 백사면 원적로775번길 17 (백사면)
From Dong Seoul Bus Terminal, take an intercity bus to Icheon Terminal.
– Get on 23-8 or 23-81 in front of the bus terminal.
– Get off at Dorip-ri (도립리) Station.
– Walk straight 60 m and turn left at Dorimniyukgoejeong (도립리육괴정).
– Continue walking 166m.
* Bus Schedule at Icheon Terminal: 6:10-23:00, 20min-40min intervals/ Estimated travel time: 1 hour
2. Nonsan Strawberry Festival (논산 딸기축제)
March 30, 2016 ~ April 3, 2016
Strawberries are THE spring fruit if you ask me. This festival has everything from strawberry jam, chocolate covered strawberries and more strawberry treats to fields of strawberries to pick and eat until your bellies are full. Shuttle buses take festival-goers to nearby strawberry fields to pick up and fill up on as many red fruity pieces of goodness as they can. Only 1000 participants head into the fields each day, so stop at the tents to get your ticket for the fields first? Nonsan is the largest producer of this quintessential spring fruit and the taste buds will be dazzled with the fruity goodness.
522, Jungang-ro, Nonsan-si, Chungcheongnam-do
충청남도 논산시 중앙로 522 (대교동)
From Seoul Central City Terminal (Honam Line), take a bus to Nonsan (논산).
Approx. travel time: 2 hrs
* Bus schedule: 06:30 – 22:45, at 40 min intervals (Bus schedule is subject to change.)
From Nonsan Bus Terminal, cross the road.
Take Bus 515, 516, 601, 602, 701 or 712 to Daegyodong (대교동) Bus Stop.
From the bus stop, go straight for 100m to arrive at the Nonsan Stream and Strawberry Field.
3. Hwagae Cherry Blossoms Festival (화개장터 벚꽃축제)
April 1, 2016 ~ April 3, 2016
This festival is famous for having the ’10-ri Cherry Blossom Road’. The road, also known as the ‘marriage road’ is 10-ri or about 4.5 kilometers long. There is a saying that if lovers stroll down the road hand in hand there will live happily ever after. The Hwagae area is said to look as if it’s covered in snow due to having so many cherry blossom trees blossoming at once. Take a lover and a stroll or some friends and a camera and see what the road foretells.
From Seoul Nambu Bus Terminal, take an intercity bus bound for Hadong (하동).
* Bus Schedule: 06:30, 08:00, 09:30, 11:30, 13:30, 15:30, 17:30, 19:30, 22:00
– Get off at Hwagae Terminal (화계터미널).
– Cross the Hwagaegyo Bridge, and go 100m forward to arrive at Hwagae Market.
4. Jinhae Gunhangje Festival (진해군항제)
April 1, 2016 ~ April 10, 2016
Jinhae plays host the largest cherry blossom festival on the peninsula and brings together both a welcoming to spring with the light pink petals draping trees as well as celebrates Admiral Yi Sun Shin a Korean naval commander famous for victories against the Japanese. The naval base, usually closed to the public, is open during this festival to the delight of spectators that can also enjoy the intricate and exact performances of military music done by the Jinhae Military Band and Honor Guard. A victory parade, performances and more as well as the cherry blossom trees that have been flowering around the base for 100 years are the highlights of this festival. Also a major draw is an 800 meter stretch of train tracks by Gyeonghwa Station surrounded by flowering trees and a 1.5 kilometer long stream lined with the fluttering pink flowering beauties. To get both the natural beauty of Korea and some cultural insight into history, head to Jinhae this spring.
Tongsin-dong, Jinhae-gu, Changwon-si, Gyeongsangnam-do
경상남도 창원시 진해구 통신동
From Seoul Nambu Bus Terminal, take an intercity bus to Jinhae (진해).
– From Jinhae Intercity Bus Terminal, go 30m straight and turn right onto Jungwondong-ro (중원동로) Road.
– Go 350m straight, and stay left at the fork.
– Go 230m to arrive at the festival venue.
Jinhae ↔ Changwon: 150, 751, 752
Jinhae ↔ Masan: 160, 162, 760
Jinhae Line: 301, 302, 303, 305, 306, 309, 315
5. Gyeongpo Cherry Blossom Festival (경포대 벚꽃축제)
Usually beginning of April, exact dates having been announced yet
Gangneung is a go-to for many during the hot summer months with their white sand beaches and gorgeous blue ocean waters but the lake that sits just behind the famed beach is surrounded with blossoming cherry blossom trees in the spring. The path looping around the lake is 4.3 kilometers long and the blushing beauties sway in the ocean breezes that come ashore. Along with the flowers are other flower exhibitions and various cultural events to enjoy. Also famous in the area is a salt water tofu dish that will fill the tummy and a quirky gramophone museum that’s worth a visit too.
365, Gyeongpo-ro, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do
강원도 강릉시 경포로 365 (저동)
From Gangneung Intercity/Express Bus Terminal, take Bus 202 and get off at Gyeongpodae.
6. Seoul Cherry Blossom Festivals
Yeongdeungpo Yeouido Spring Flower Festival (영등포 여의도 봄꽃축제)
April 4, 2016 ~ April 10, 2016
If leaving Seoul to see cherry blossoms just isn’t possible this year, walk out the front door. There are cherry blossom trees all over the city. From clumps of trees in nearby parks and along boulevards, the white and pink petal wonders are all over but the most popular place to see them is lining the road around the National Assembly building on Yeouido Island. Fifteen hundred cherry blossom trees line the road, which is blocked to traffic to allow pedestrians full photo access. The trees area also lit up at night so they can be enjoyed at any hour night and day. Helpful hint: head there in the early morning or fairly late to see the white and pink fluttering petals with as few people as possible crowding around.
Gukhoe-daero, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul
서울특별시 영등포구 국회대로 (여의도동)
1) Dangsan Station (Subway Line 2 or 9), Exit 4. 20 minutes walk.
1) Yeouinaru Station (Subway Line 5), Exit 1. 20 minutes walk.
3) Yeouido Station (Subway Line 5 or 9), Exit 5. Take Bus 162, 262, or 461 to National Assembly (국회앞).
4) National Assembly Station (Subway Line 9), Exit 1 or 6. 5 minutes walk.
Seokchon Lake Cherry Blossom Festival (석촌호수 벚꽃축제)
April 8, 2016 ~ April 10, 2016
Seokchon Lake, Songpa, Seoul
While the entire city of Seoul will be awash with pink in the spring, there are a few hotspots for romantic views and Seokchon Lake is one of them. The lake is surrounded by cherry blossom trees blushing in the sunlight and lovers strolling hand in hand near the water along with families and children frolicking beneath the trees can be seen at the easy to find waterfront. Performances, exhibitions and other activities add to the fun. For some beautiful landscape views without all of the crowds try to get there in the early morning or else crowds, crowds and more crowds are sure to be enjoying the views too.
148, Jamsil-ro, Songpa-gu, Seoul
서울특별시 송파구 잠실로 148 (잠실동)
Jamsil Station (Seoul Subway Line 2 or 8), Exit 2 or 3.
Seokchon Lake is located 200m ahead.
7. Jindo Mysterious Sea Route (진도 신비의 바닷길)
April 7, 2016 ~ April 10, 2016
The Korean version of the Moses sea parting takes place in Jindo each year and it is a must see. Jindo is the third largest island in Korea. The water parts and the masses of viewers pull up their thigh high waders, because it’s still a bit muddy and mushy, and head out to cross the 2.8 kilometers from the Jindo to a nearby island. While some head out with their buckets to collect the shellfish that just didn’t see the sea parting coming, others pick up their feet to get out to the island and back before the waters rise again 45 minutes later. It’s a great event on the southern coast of Korea complete with delicious fare, concerts and of course the coastal view.
Hoedong-ri, Gogun-myeon, Jindo-gun, Jeollanam-do
전남 진도군 고군면 회동리
From Jindo-eup Bus Terminal, take a bus to Jindo Island or Hoedong-ri.
8. Gwangalli Eobang Festival (광안리 어방축제)
April 22, 2016 ~ April 24, 2016
While the other festivals of spring are about celebrating the blooms, the fest at Gwanganli Beach is all about jumping right into summer. While the water is likely to be too cold to dive into, that won’t keep the summer dreamers away. ‘Eobang’ is a word for the spirit of the fishermen and that spirit is felt in Busan. Bare-hand fishing, cooking contests, a tug-of-war and loads of good food to chow down on will all be there and of course the view of the beautiful beach adds much to the enjoyment factor of this fest.
Gwangan Station (Busan Subway Line 2), Exit 3 or 5.
Walk straight 600m until you see Gwangalli Beach.
9. Daegu Yangnyeongsi Herb Medicine Culture Festival (대구약령시한방문화축제)
May 4, 2016 ~ May 8, 2016
The herbal market in Daegu has a 350 year long history and the festival gives the opportunity to visitors to experience Korean traditional medicine and learn about herbal remedies for relaxing and curative care. From free check-ups and body analysis as well as herbal medicine pack massages and teas to sample, there will be plenty to try to see what works for you. This is definitely the festivals to visit to learn more about Korean culture through medicine and remedy. Get your body ready for summer from the inside out!
Banwoldang Station (Daegu Subway Line 1 or 2), Exit 16 or 18.
-Go 200m forward to arrive at Yangyeongsi Herb Medicine Market.
In front of (previous) Jeil Bank: Bus 349, 401,650 , 518,704,106,202 ,1410,503,730,706,303 , Express 2
In front of Daegu: Bus 349 , 401,650 , 518 , 704,106,202,410, 1909,503,730,706 , 303-1 , Donggu (East Side) 1-1, Express 2
In front of Hyundai Department Store & Dong-A shopping Mall: Bus 305,405,840,414,909 , 609, Bukgu (North Side) 2
In front of Hyundai Department Store & Dong-A shopping Mall: Bus 305,405,840,414 , 1609
10. Yeon Deung Hoe (Lotus Lantern Festival) (연등회)
May 6, 2016 ~ May 8, 2016
The Lotus Lantern Festival in Seoul is a highlight of the spring each year. Celebrating the Buddha’s birthday, three days of events from an amazing lantern parade along Jongno street to a day of experience for people to learn about Korean Buddhism with monks, see performances and have a lot of hands-on-fun as well. Koreans in Hanboks with beautiful lanterns abound. This is a MUST SEE for anyone in Seoul in May.
Jonggak Station (Seoul Subway Line 1), Exit 2.
Go 200m forward to arrive at Joggyesa Temple.
Anguk Station (Seoul Subway Line 3), Exit 6.
Go 130m forward, and turn left at the Anguk Intersection (안국동사거리).
Go 200m forward to arrive at Joggyesa Temple.
Samgseong Station (Seoul Subway Line 2), Exit 6.
– Go 600 forward, and turn left.
– Go 150m forward to arrive at Bongeunsa Temple.
Jonggak Station (Seoul Subway Line 1)