A Very Complete List Of Must See Spring Festivals In Korea
Spring is on its way and in Korea that means flower festivals, lantern festivals and more to brighten up the peninsula along with the bright sunshine and warmer breezes welcoming the warmer months to come. It seems as soon as the sun really starts shining, everyone that was hibernating for the winter months heads outdoors to partake in some festive amusement. Don’t be left out! Here are the festivals you should seek out to get in the renewal and rebirth spirit that spring is known for.
Festivals are listed in order of dates and NOT in the order of awesomeness so make sure to scroll all the way to the bottom to see all the fun in store in the coming months.
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Gurye Sansuyu Flower Festival (구례산수유꽃축제)
March 18, 2017 ~ March 26, 2017
Sansuyu flowers are also known as Japanese Dogwood flowers in English. These little yellow blooms start popping in early spring and can be found around the country. In Gurye, however, there is an abundance of these dazzling spring flowers and an annual festival is held to celebrate them in the Jirisan Hot Springs region. From hiking into the Jirisan Mountain Range to flower spotting and hot springs, this is the perfect early spring weekend getaway.
Where To Stay: Vivace Hadong Resort
45 Sanggwan 1-gil Gurye-gun, Jeollanam-do, Korea (전라남도 구례군 산동면 상관1길 45 (산동면))
Gurye-gun: Take an intercity bus to Gurye Terminal and from there catch a bus to Jungdong (중동). There are many buses that depart to this location so take your pick.
Alternative Sansuyu Fest:
Icheon Baeksa Sansuyu Flower Festival (이천백사 산수유꽃축제)
If Gurye is just a bit too far to get away or sounds a bit too bustling, Icheon also has a sansuyu festival. This smaller town celebrates in townie fashion with local eats and traditional games. The Baeksa Village has seen their Dogwood trees grow for more than 100 years. The area is a great place to take a hike up into the nearby vicinity or just visit to see some flowers and play some folksy Korean games while eating up some delicious grub and drinking up some makkoli, Korean rice wine, which is a must.
Where To Stay: Lee Design Hotel
17, Wonjeok-ro 775beon-gil, Icheon-si, Gyeonggi-do (경기도 이천시 백사면 원적로775번길 17 (백사면))
Icheon: From Dong Seoul Bus Terminal take an intercity bus to Icheon Terminals. Buses run from 6:10AM – 11:00PM in 20-40 minute intervals and the trip takes an hour. From Icheon Terminal there are free shuttle buses outside of the terminal and to the right in front of the Grand Wedding Hall.
World Cup Park Sansuyu Lined Lane
This off the beaten path spot is lined with not only sansuyu flowers but also cherry blossoms and forsythia flowers too. If you don’t want to head out of Seoul, but you want to get some great photos, hit up this not so well known flower budding hot spot in western Seoul. The lane to the west is lined with flowers and the lane to the east is lined with metasequoia trees. This is a great spot to have a picnic and be one with nature throughout the year.
Nonsan Strawberry Festival (논산 딸기축제)
April 5, 2017 ~ April 9, 2017
Strawberry is the quintessential spring fruit for me so it’s no wonder that strawberry festivals are my jam, not only to eat but to also buy good jam! From strawberries dipped in chocolate, made inside Korean sticky rice treats and more, there is something for everyone here to get their taste buds dancing. The highlight of the festival is hopping into a bus and heading out to one of the nearby strawberry fields to pick and eat until those bellies are full. Stock up on strawberries in all forms and can’t be beat prices, too!
Where To Stay: Le Stendal Boutique Hotel
522 Jungang-ro Nonsan-si, Chungcheongnam-do (충청남도 논산시 중앙로 522 (대교동))
Nonsan-si, Chungcheongnam-do: Catch an intercity bus from Seoul Express Bus Terminal. They run every 40 minutes from 6:30AM to 11:45PM. Once there, follow the crowds and the balloons lining the street, it’s a short walk, or catch a local bus 515, 516, 601, 701 or 712 to Daegyodong (대교동).
Cherry Blossom Festivals
The little pastel petals cause much conversation come spring. Where to go to see them? When to go? Honestly, there are super popular places to catch an eyeful of these pink and white beauties, and there are not so popular locales. There are literally cherry blossom trees all over. It’s just a matter of finding the spot best suited to you. Here’s a round up of the Cherry Blossom Festivals to plan for, and some other spots that are just as beautiful but aren’t as celebrated.
Hwagae Cherry Blossoms Festival (화개장터 벚꽃축제) (Dates to be announced)
This festival location is famous for the ’10-ri Cherry Blossom Road’ a 4.5 kilometer long street lined with blooming trees. It’s said that a stroll along this roadway hand in hand with your lover will land you a happily ever after fairy tale together.
Maekjeon-gil, Hadong-gun, Gyeongsangnam-do (경상남도 하동군 화개면 맥전길)
Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival (진해군항제) April 1, 2017 ~ April 10, 2017
Jinhae is host to the LARGEST cherry blossom festival in the country and is not only a celebration of blooming spring trees but also of Admiral Yi Sun Shin, a Korean naval commander famous for victories against the Japanese. The naval base in Jinhae, which is usually closed to the public, is opened during this festival to the delight of spectators and the Jinhae Military Band and Honor Guard also perform. A victory parade, performances and 100 year old cherry blossom trees sitting along an 800 meter stretch of train tracks near Gyeonhwa Station and a 1.5 kilometer stretch of stream that is lined as well are the major highlights for this fest.
Where To Stay: Jinhae Pasta Hotel
Tongsin-dong, Jinhae-gu, Changwon-si, Gyeongsangnam-do (경상남도 창원시 진해구 통신동)
Yeongdeungpo Yeouido Cherry Blossom Festival (영등포 여의도 봄꽃축제) April 4, 2017 ~ April 10, 2017
Yeouido doesn’t need much introduction as this is probably the most POPULAR cherry blossom fest in Seoul. Lining the road around the National Assembly Building, 1500 cherry blossom trees go into bloom and the roads are blocked off because pedestrians come from near and far to take them all in. Tip: Head there in the early morning for less people and blocked off roads to yourself.
Gukhoe-daero, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul (서울특별시 영등포구 국회대로 (여의도동))
Gyeongpo Cherry Blossom Festival (경포대 벚꽃축제) April 5, 2017 ~ April 11, 2017
Gangneung is a must see in the summer months with gorgeous beaches and clear blue waters, but in the spring the 4.3 kilometer path surrounding Gyeongpo Lake is lined with blushing beauties swaying in ocean breezes making this is a gorgeous spring getaway spot. Don’t miss out on the salt water tofu famous in the area as well as the quirky gramophone museum near the lake as well.
Where To Stay:Sun Cruise Resort
365 Gyeongpo-ro, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do (강원도 강릉시 경포로 365 (저동))
Cheongpungho Cherry Blossom Festival (청풍호 벚꽃축제) April 8, 2017 ~ April 10, 2017
Located around Cheongpung Lake, cherry blossoms along with forsythia blooms and azalea buds go into full bloom and stun. From exhibitions to performances, bungee jumping and other water sports. This is a great spot to get active while enjoying the views.
2048 Cheongpungho-ro, Jecheon-si, Chungcheongbuk-do (충청북도 제천시 청풍면 청풍호로 2048 (청풍면))
Seokchon Lake Cherry Blossom Festival (석촌호수 벚꽃축제) April 8, 2017 ~ April 10, 2017
This lake on the eastern side of Seoul becomes awash with white and pink petals in April and families frolicking, couples strolling and photographers can be seen everywhere. This waterfront spot will also host performances, exhibitions and other activities to add some fun to the romance of the vicinity.
148 Jamsil-ro, Songpa-gu, Seoul (서울특별시 송파구 잠실로 148 (잠실동))
Alternative Cherry Blossom Stops:
Not every cherry blossom blooming spot also has a festival and some people would prefer to just view the flowers without all the fuss and muss. Here are a few places in Seoul that are gorgeous stops if a festival isn’t your jam.
Taean World Tulip Festival (태안 세계튤립축제)
April 13, 2017 ~ May 10, 2017
After the cherry blossoms come the tulips in brightly colored form. This festival showcases tulips in different themes and provides loads of backdrops for beautiful spring photos. There are also conservation experiences, traditional folk experiences and more for a fun time out in Taean-gun. While in the area, also stop off at a popular beach to watch the sunset or visit some of the beautiful parks and natural attractions that are big draws to this area only a couple hours from Seoul.
Where To Stay: Gallery Pension
200 Mageompo-gil, Taean-gun, Chungcheongnam-do (충청남도 태안군 남면 마검포길 200 (남면))
From Dong Seoul Bus Terminal, take an intercity bus to Taean and then catch a village bus bound to Gomseom (곰섬) and get off at Morenon Bus Stop.
Jindo Mysterious Sea Route (진도 신비의 바닷길)
April 26, 2017 ~ April 29, 2017
This was by far one of my all time favorite festivals to attend in Korea and likely due to the fact that it is seaside and darn good fun. This is the Korean version of the Moses sea parting in a way. Jindo is the third largest island in Korea and each year the waters part and a natural bridge connects the mainland to the island. The walkway is 2.8 kilometers long and the 45 minutes that the water subsides is just enough time to get out, meander for a bit and get back before the tide returns. Locals head out to collect shellfish and other fishy treats that weren’t expecting the sudden departure of water and foreigners head out to take pics in their thigh high galoshes. The area is really beautiful and the locals serve up traditional seaside fare throughout the weekend of fun.
Where To Stay: Fontana Beach Hotel
Hoedong-ri, Gogun-myeon, Jindo-gun, Jeollanam-do (전남 진도군 고군면 회동리)
Take a bus to Jindo from Central City Express Bus Terminal, there are only 4 per day at 7:35AM, 9:00AM, 3:30PM and 4:35PM and the trip takes 5 hours and 40 minutes.
Yeon Deung Hoe (Lotus Lantern Festival) (연등회)
April 28, 2017 ~ April 29, 2017
The Lotus Lantern Festival celebrates the birth of Buddha and in Seoul the celebration is just spectacular. The highlight of the celebrations is a massive parade through the streets of downtown Seoul with thousands of lanterns in the shapes of lotus flowers, elephants, dragons and more Buddhist visuals. Women in Hanboks walk alongside Buddhist monks in robes and it’s not just Korean Buddhists that attend. Buddhists from around the world come to stand alongside people of all faiths and walks of life to celebrate life and light. After the parade, the crowds gather with the parade walkers to dance in the streets. This massive street party is a MUST SEE. The next day there are even more events so plan to partake ALL WEEKEND!
Check out this COMPLETE GUIDE OF EVENTS for the weekend.
Where To Stay: Myeongdong TMark Hotel
Seoul: The street festival is on the street outside of Jogyesa temple and can be accessed via Seoul subway stations: Jonggak Station exit 2 and Anguk Station exit 6. The parade runs from Dongguk University to Jogyesa Temple and can be seen along Jongno. Check their site for specific information.
Gwangalli Eobang Festival (광안리 어방축제)
April 28, 2017 ~ April 30, 2017
Busan kicks off spring seaside and we would expect nothing else of the coastal city. While it’s too cold to jump into the waves still, Gwangalli Beach hosts bare hand fishing, cooking contests and a tug-of-war among other events to celebrate ‘Eobang’ or the spirit of the fishermen and the spirit of Busan. While few need a reason to travel south to go to Busan, this is just one more reason to head down at the end of April to feel those spring vibes with toes in the sand.
Where To Stay: Kent Hotel Gwangalli by Kensington
Gwangali Beach, Busan: Gwangan Subway Station exit 3 or 5 and walk straight until you get to the beach.
Hapcheon Hwangmaesan Royal Azalea Festival (합천 황매산 철쭉제)
May 1, 2017 ~ May 22, 2017
Cherry blossoms aren’t the only flowers that call for a spring festival celebration in their honor. The Hwangmaesan County Park hosts this festival that was started back in 1997 to honor and preserve the azalea fields of the area. Having been the filming site for numerous movies and shows now, the area is popular for the gorgeous purple and pink flowers that blanket the fields. Performances, rituals and local food is on site for dining.
Where To Stay: Yeow-B Hotel Jinji
Hwangmaesan-ro, Hapcheon-gun, Gyeongsangnam-do (경상남도 합천군 가회면 둔내리 산 219-24)
From Seoul’s Nambu Bus Terminal, take a bus to Hapcheon Terminal. From there take a bus to Deokman (덕만). Total travel time is approximately 5 hours and 15 minutes from Seoul.
Daegu Yangnyeongsi Herb Medicine Culture Festival (대구약령시한방문화축제)
May 3, 2017 ~ May 7, 2017
Daegu is host to an herbal market that has existed for more than 350 years. Each year, the market hosts a traditional medicine festival to introduce locals and visitors to the benefits of a holistic approach. This festival is getting more and more popular each year. There are opportunities to experience Korean traditional medicine and learn about herbal remedies for relaxing and curative care. From free check-ups to a full body analysis, massages, medicine packs and teas to sample, there is plenty to partake in to kick off the season of renewal and rebirth. This is a great way to get into summer in fit fashion.
Where To Stay: Hotel Inter-Burgo
Daegu: Daegu Banwoldang Subway Station, exit 18. Walk straight for 200 meters to find the medicine market.
Boseong Green Tea Festival
May 3, 2017 ~ May 7, 2017
Boseong hosts the largest green tea festival in Korea and features sprawling fields of tea that are famous year round. Visitors can pick their own green tea leaves and drink green tea of course as well as learn about traditional tea drinking etiquette. Visit the area for some beautiful green views and healthy sips of tea, too!
775 Nokcha-ro, Boseong-gun, Jeollanam-do (전라남도 보성군 보성읍 녹차로 775 (보성읍))
Boseong-gun, Jeollanam-do: From Seoul Express Bus Terminal catch an intercity bus to Boseong
Chuncheon International Mime Festival (춘천 마임 축제)
May 21, 2017 ~ May 28, 2017
A TON of mimes take over Chuncheon in late May and while the area of Chuncheon is more often associated with their famous dakgalbi, stir fried chicken dish, come spring, the mimes are all anyone can talk about… albeit silently. Get it? From installation art to music, dance and mimery, this fest is an awesome highlight of an easy weekend away from Seoul. Be sure to stop at Nami Island or head out to the nearby dam and lake and take a hike up to Cheongpyeongsa Temple while in the area.
Where To Stay: Chuncheon Tourist Hotel
Chuncheon, Gangwon-do: Take the subway out to Namchuncheon Station and take exit 1. Outside take bus 9 to Yaksa Apartment
Gijisi Juldarigi Festival (기지시 줄다리기축제)
Usually in early April (Checkout the website for updated dates)
This festival ranks high for me due to the unique celebration being held. The Gijisi Juldarigi Festival is a MASSIVE tug-of-war! From February 1st of the Lunar calendar, the rope for the festivities is spun from straw. The main rope measures 200 meters in length and 18 centimeters in diameter and weighs around 40 tons. You can imagine, that means a TON of people need to partake in the games. Anyone can partake in this festival that wishes for good harvest and prosperity.
Where To Stay: Gyeamgotaek Hanok
11 Anteulmosi-gil Songak-eub, Dangjin-si, Chungcheongnam-do (충청남도 당진시 송악읍 안틀모시길 11 (송악읍))
From Seoul Central City Bus Terminal catch a bus to Dangjin and get off at Gijisi (1 hour 40 minutes) and take a taxi from there to the festival grounds.