The northern hemisphere of the globe is preparing to wake up from the winter season and as the weather gets warmer, we think of those sweet smell of flowers in the air. And it is the time for South Korea cherry blossom festivals. If you are thinking of a romantic and unique experience this Spring, look no further. Many people associate Japan as the destination for cherry blossom festivals, but South Korea offers a variety of cherry blossom festival options that are less crowded and more unique. Save the day for a cherry blossom festival experience in South Korea.
1. Yeongdeungpo Yeouido Spring Flower Festival (영등포 여의도 봄꽃축제)
This one is by far my favorite cherry blossom festival. It is the biggest cherry blossom festival in Seoul and during the festival, you can spot free street events along the way. The festival was held from April 4-10th in 2016 and the dates for the festival this year is yet to be announced. However, it is safe to say that the festival will happen in early April to mid-April and expect to see more than 18,000 of cherry blossoms trees that are 30-35 years old alongside the Han River. You will find other Spring flowers like azaleas, forsythia or royal azaleas in full bloom.
Since it is the most popular cherry blossom festival in Korea, the road around the National Assembly building during the festival will be blocked for the pedestrians and the streets become lively and free of cars for the sightseers day and night.
The cherry blossom trees stretch quite long and there are several starting points that you can enter the street.
1) Street Performance & Fair
Each year, the Yeongdeungpo-gu district host many exciting events for the Yeouido Spring Flower Festival. The arrays of events including #Samulnori and cartoon character parades or marching band performance create festive vibe alongside the Han River. Don’t ever worry about packing your own snacks or drinks for the walk, you will see plenty of food vendors that you serve your need, from the fresh fruit juice or coffee to sandwiches, pancake or authentic Korean snacks.
The event programs and the festival dates will be available on the Yeongdungpo-gu official website.
2) Hangang River Ferry Cruise
The best way to end the day is to hop on a cruise on the Han River. Live music on the boat takes the ferry riders to the fantasy land. The breezes from the boat are sweeter on the ferry with the whole city as the backdrop. It is the best spot to capture the spectacular Banpo Bridge Rainbow Fountain Show or the firework.
For booking information, please click Hangang River Ferry Evening Cruise.
How to get there?
Taking subway would be one of the most cost-efficient ways to arrive at the fantasy land of cherry blossom trees.
1) Dangsan Station (Subway Line 2 or 9), Exit 4. 20-minute walk.
2) Yeouinaru Station (Subway Line 5), Exit 1. 20-minute walk.
3) Yeouido Station (Subway Line 5 or 9), Exit 5. Take Bus 162, 262, or 461 to National Assembly Bus Stop.
4) National Assembly Station (Subway Line 9), Exit 1 or 6. 5-minute walk.
2) Shuttle Service:
This is the most convenient and time-efficient ways to see the festival. You can choose to go several locations with a private tour guide (service is in English) who is knowledgeable about the cherry blossom festivals in South Korea. The price is very reasonable and you get to mingle with cool fellow travelers and try authentic Korean lunch box, Kimbap.
2. Seokchon Lake Cherry Blossom Festival (석촌호수 벚꽃축제)
If you fancy a romantic walk and more excitement, your choice is the Seochon Lake Cherry Blossom Festival (the dates are yet to be announced. Expect around early-mid April). The cherry blossom trees ring around the entire lake and you will reach the Lotte World Magic Island. I would say, it is one of the best time to visit this amusement park since it is an outdoor park on the lake. While you are up on the roller coaster, you will have the view of beautiful cherry blossom trees. This is the recipe for the best day. There are many shopping spots around this location, including the Lotte department store and the Lotte World Mall. You will find some high-end designer stores and exquisite restaurants.
(1) Lotte World Adventure:
The Lotte World Adventure is right by the Sheokchon Lake and the Magic Island is on the lake, which adds a flair to the experience. Shopping and finding great restaurants around this area are super easy that you will never want to leave this area.
Lotte World Discount Ticket: Lotte World Discount Tickets are now available!
- How to get there?
Location: 05551, Olympic-ro 300, Songpa-gu, Seoul(Sincheon-dong 29)
Subway: Line 2 (Jamsil Station, Exit 1 or 2 ) or Line 8 (Jamsil Station, Exit 10 or 11)
(**For the more convenient guided tour, try the Funko’s shuttle service.)
3. Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival (진해 벚꽃축제)
If you want more authentic Korean cherry blossom festival experiences, I recommend you to visit festivals outside of Seoul. Here, you will see more local people with families and find local food or products that are unique to that region.
Jinhae is a historic place as a naval port and they hold a ceremony to commemorate Admiral Lee Soon-shin at Bugwon Rotary. There is a parade performed by the Jinhae Military Marching Band. This is one of the most well-known marching band performances in South Korea. You will find many special events during the festival period including Paldo Pungmul Market and various arts and cultural performances.
The festival is expected to happen in early-mid April.
How to get there?
Geonggido, Gangwon or Chungcheong cherry blossom festivals also provide relatively outdoorsy and countryside experiences. You can arrive at the destination by train or bus. However, I highly recommend booking a shuttle as it can get quite complicated and time-consuming to travel outside of Seoul but it is definitely worth the trip!