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Exploring South Korea Cherry Blossom Festivals

Published on
April 22, 2024
Exploring South Korea Cherry Blossom Festivals
What is the mountain range that separates europe and asia?

The mountain range that separates Europe and Asia is the Ural Mountains.

what city of south asia is a world-renowned launching ground for treks in the himalayas?

The city in South Asia that is world-renowned as a launching ground for treks in the Himalayas is Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal.

What is the highest mountain in Asia?

The highest mountain in Asia is Mount Everest. It stands on the border of Nepal and China's Tibet Autonomous Region in the Himalayas and is the tallest peak globally, reaching an elevation of 29,032 feet (8,848 meters) above sea level.


South Korea's natural beauty, portrayed vividly in K-dramas, has deeply inspired me. Among its enchanting wonders, the sight of cherry blossoms in bloom holds a special place in my heart. Each scene of petals dancing in the breeze intensifies my longing to witness this spectacle in person. For years, I've dreamed of strolling beneath a canopy of cherry blossoms, experiencing their ephemeral beauty firsthand. Join me as I set out to traverse the landscapes of South Korea, in search of the elusive cherry blossoms. From Seoul's bustling streets to tranquil parks and gardens, I aim to capture the essence of springtime in full bloom. Along the way, I'll share my encounters and reflections, as I immerse myself in the natural beauty that has inspired generations. Together, let's embark on a journey of discovery and wonder in the land of morning calm.

Significance of Cherry Blossoms in South Korea

Cherry Blossoms in South Korea

In South Korea, the fleeting beauty of cherry blossoms, known as beot-kkot (벗꽃), heralds the much-celebrated spring season. These delicate pink petals are deeply ingrained in the cultural fabric, symbolizing life's ephemeral nature and the poignant beauty of impermanence. I find their profound symbolism reflects the Korean concept of 'jejungwon', which alludes to a sense of transient beauty that must be cherished.

During my recent visit, I came to appreciate the profound significance of cherry blossoms in South Korean culture. Here are the key insights I gleaned:

1. Community and Renewal: Throughout the cherry blossom season, South Koreans unite to revel in this awe-inspiring phenomenon. Families, friends, and social circles congregate for festivals or leisurely picnics beneath the blooming trees. It's not merely a recreational activity; it symbolizes new beginnings and fresh starts for many.

2. National Emblem: Cherry blossoms hold a cherished place as a symbol of South Korea. They feature prominently in both commercial and tourism campaigns, drawing visitors with their irresistible charm. My firsthand experience confirms their captivating allure.

3. Environmental Reverence: I was deeply moved by the reverence Koreans show for their natural environment. They take great pride in preserving and honoring their country's natural heritage, valuing the beauty of their surroundings and the cherry blossoms that grace them.

Optimal Timing for Cherry Blossom Viewing

Cherry blossom season in South Korea typically occurs from late March to early April, although the exact timing can vary depending on factors such as weather conditions and geographic location. The Korea Meteorological Administration provides annual forecasts for cherry blossom blooming, helping locals and tourists plan their visits accordingly.

I'd recommend checking their pages around 2 months before the peak season to track the progress. However, based on my own experience, visiting during the third week of March turned out to be a great decision for me.

The blooming of cherry blossoms usually begins in the southern regions of South Korea, such as Jeju Island and Busan, before gradually spreading northwards to Seoul and other parts of the country.

My Top 3 Cherry Blossom Viewing Spots:

Though I haven't had the chance to explore every destination boasting the enchanting spectacle of cherry blossom petals cascading, I've managed to pinpoint my top three favorite spots. Our guide hinted at numerous other picturesque locations, but with time constraints, I chose to prioritize their recommendations.And, of course, I couldn't resist a visit to a filming location of one of my beloved K-dramas! Let's delve into the adventure!

1. Best-known spot: Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival (Jinhae-gu, Changwon City):

Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival

During the Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival, South Korea's allure reaches its peak as millions of visitors flock to this renowned spot annually. As someone who experienced the festival firsthand, I can attest to its mesmerizing charm. Held in Jinhae-gu, a district within Changwon City, the festival spans from late March to early April, perfectly coinciding with the cherry blossoms' bloom. Admission to the festival typically requires a nominal fee of around 10,000 KRW (approximately $9 USD), offering attendees access to a plethora of cultural performances, floral displays, and culinary delights.

The highlight of the festival is undoubtedly the breathtaking display of cherry blossoms adorning the streets of Jinhae Naval Port. Walking through the streets of Jinhae during cherry blossom season felt like stepping into a scene from "Romance is a Bonus Book." The air was filled with the sweet fragrance of cherry blossoms, and the Yeojwacheon Stream was like a painting come to life, just like the moments when Cha Eun-ho and Kang Dan-i strolled along the Han River in the episode 8 of the drama. The festival buzzed with energy, reminiscent of the lively atmosphere of the book publishing world. Amidst the throngs of visitors, I couldn't help but feel like I was part of a romantic subplot, just waiting for my own happily ever after.

In addition to the natural beauty, the festival offers a plethora of activities to engage visitors of all ages. From cultural performances to tantalizing food stalls, there's something for everyone to enjoy amidst the festival's lively atmosphere.

Exploring the area around the festival venue, I stumbled upon some popular stores worth mentioning:

1. Jinhae Cherry Blossom Street Market

At the Jinhae Cherry Blossom Street Market, you can find a variety of cherry blossom-themed souvenirs at different price points. Keychains start at around $5, offering an affordable keepsake for visitors. Postcards are available in the mid-range, typically priced at $3 to $7, depending on the design and quality. With options catering to various budgets, visitors can easily find mementos to cherish their festival experience.

Location: Near the festival venue, Jinhae Cherry Blossom Street, Jinhae, South Korea | Operating Hours: Typically open from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM during festival days
Transportation: Accessible via public buses from Jinhae Bus Terminal or Jinhae Train Station. Parking is also available nearby for those traveling by car.
2. Jinhae Intercity Bus Terminal Shopping Street

Nestled in Jinhae-gu, Changwon City, South Korea, offers an array of shopping experiences. Fashion boutiques showcase trendy attire for all ages, with prices ranging from ₩20,000 to ₩100,000 depending on brand and style. Accessory shops display jewelry, handbags, and scarves, with items priced between ₩10,000 to ₩50,000. Cosmetics and beauty products vary in cost, from budget-friendly options around ₩5,000 to luxury brands upwards of ₩50,000. Traditional Korean goods like hanboks and pottery can range from ₩50,000 to ₩500,000, reflecting their craftsmanship and materials. Meanwhile, food stalls offer Korean street food and snacks priced between ₩3,000 to ₩10,000 per item.

Location: Jinhae-gu, Changwon City, South Korea | Operating Hours: Monday-Sunday: 10:00 AM to 9:00 PM
Transportation: Located ear Jinhae Intercity Bus Terminal, accessible by foot or public transportation

2. Hidden spot: Seokchon Lake Cherry Blossom Festival (Seoul):

Seokchon Lake Cherry Blossom Festival

The Seokchon Lake Cherry Blossom Festival holds a special place in my heart as one of Seoul's hidden treasures, offering a tranquil escape from the city's hustle and bustle. Held annually in spring, this festival celebrates the breathtaking beauty of cherry blossoms in a peaceful setting. It also does not charge an admission fee, allowing visitors to enjoy the stunning cherry blossoms in a serene environment free of charge

The highlight of the Seokchon Lake Cherry Blossom Festival is undoubtedly the stunning display of cherry blossoms adorning the lake's surroundings. Strolling around Seokchon Lake during the cherry blossom festival was like stepping into my own version of "Goblin." The serene beauty of the lake, surrounded by cherry blossoms in full bloom, echoed the enchanting landscapes I had seen in the drama. It felt as if I had stumbled upon the very spot where Kim Shin and Ji Eun-tak shared their quiet moments amidst nature's splendor. The festival's laid-back vibe provided the perfect setting for introspection, much like the heartfelt moments of reflection woven throughout the series.

Aside from the natural beauty, the festival also boasts a variety of delicious street food offerings from vendors scattered around the area. From savory snacks to sweet treats, there was something to delight every palate as I indulged in the festive atmosphere.

Exploring the area around Seokchon Lake, I stumbled upon some popular stores that caught my eye:

1. Myeongdong Food Street:

Myeongdong Food Street in Seoul, South Korea, offers a lively array of culinary delights ranging from traditional Korean street food to international cuisine. Street food stalls line the bustling streets, tempting visitors with affordable snacks like tteokbokki, hotteok, and mandu, typically priced between 2,000 to 5,000 Korean Won (KRW) each. For a heartier meal, numerous Korean barbecue restaurants dot the area, where diners can expect to spend around 15,000 to 30,000 KRW per person for a barbecue feast. Additionally, traditional Korean restaurants serve up classics like bibimbap and bulgogi for roughly 10,000 to 20,000 KRW per dish. International cuisine options, including Japanese, Chinese, and Western fare, are also available, catering to diverse tastes and budgets. While prices may vary, Myeongdong Food Street offers a rich culinary experience that's sure to satisfy any appetite.

Location: Myeongdong, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea | Operating Hours: Monday-Sunday: 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM
Transportation: Easily accessible via subway (Line 4, Myeongdong Station) or bus
2. Shinsegae Department Store (Main Branch)

This store is a renowned shopping destination in Seoul, offering a wide range of luxury and global brands. The store provides a premium shopping experience and is known for its high-end products. As for prices, the store offers diverse brands with items typically ranging from higher-end to luxury pricing. The price range is also on the higher end, with items costing an average of 20,000 to 50,000 won.

Location: 63 Sogong-ro, Myeong-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul 04533, South Korea Operating Hours: Monday to Thursday: 10:30 AM - 8:00 PM Friday to Sunday: 10:30 AM - 8:30 PM
Accessible via subway Line 4 at Hoehyeon Station (Exit 7) or Line 2 at Euljiro 1-ga Station

Scenic spot: Incheon Jayu Park

Incheon Jayu Park

Nestled amidst the bustling cityscape of Incheon, Jayu Park offers a serene escape that resonates deeply with both locals and tourists. Positioned near the iconic Freedom Park, Incheon Jayu Park boasts verdant landscapes and captivating vistas, serving as a tranquil retreat from the hustle and bustle of urban life. While Jayu Park in Incheon generally offers free admission to enjoy its serene atmosphere and beautiful landscapes, there might be certain attractions or facilities within the park that require a fee. For example, guided tours, special events, or access to specific features like museums or recreational areas might have associated costs. Prices for these amenities can vary, so it's best to inquire directly with the park management or check their website for current pricing information.

During my exploration of Incheon Jayu Park, I couldn't help but reminisce about the romantic atmosphere of "Business Proposal." The park's lush greenery and picturesque views stirred feelings of tranquility and romance within me, much like the captivating the last episode of the drama (hope to find my own Tae moo though). With cherry blossoms swaying gently in the breeze, I felt as if I had stepped into my own love story, akin to Shin Ha-Ri and Kang Tae-Moo's journey. Every corner of the park seemed to whisper tales of love and laughter, reminiscent of cherished moments from my favorite K-dramas.

Beyond cherry blossom viewing, the park offered an array of recreational activities to suit diverse interests. From vibrant outdoor concerts and cultural performances to rejuvenating yoga sessions and invigorating fitness classes, there was no shortage of entertainment at Incheon Jayu Park.

During my visit, I stumbled upon several noteworthy amenities and attractions:

Incheon Complex Fish Market:

The Incheon Complex Fish Market, a bustling hub for seafood enthusiasts, provides an array of marine delicacies for visitors to explore. With its vast selection of fresh and dried seafood, patrons can immerse themselves in a culinary adventure. From blue crab to yellow corvina and cutlass fish, the market boasts an extensive range of marine delights. Prices fluctuate between KRW 10,097.19 and KRW 30,162.95 per kilogram or between KRW 4,579.23 and KRW 13,679.34 per pound (lb), ensuring options to suit every budget and preference. Whether engaging with vendors to negotiate prices or indulging in the diverse offerings, a visit to the Incheon Complex Fish Market promises an unforgettable gastronomic experience.

Location: 37, Yeonanbudu-ro 33beon-gil, Jung-gu, Incheon | Operating Hours: Daily from 5 am to 9 pm
Transportation: Dong-Incheon Station (Seoul Subway Line 1), Exit 2.Take Bus 12 or 24 and get off at Yeonanhoe Plaza.

Overview of cherry blossom festivals and events:

South Korea's Cherry Blossom Festivals

Having experienced the vibrant cherry blossom festivals in South Korea firsthand, I can attest to the magical atmosphere they create. Here are the list of festivals that you can witness when you visit South Korea:

Jinhae Gunhangje Festival: Held in Jinhae, this festival is one of the largest cherry blossom festivals in Korea, attracting millions of visitors each year to enjoy the breathtaking sight of cherry blossoms in full bloom along the streets and around the naval port.

Yeouido Spring Flower Festival: Located in Seoul, this festival not only showcases cherry blossoms but also various spring flowers, creating a vibrant atmosphere along the Han River where visitors can enjoy picnics, performances, and street food stalls.

Gyeongju Cherry Blossom Festival: Set in the historic city of Gyeongju, this festival offers a unique experience of admiring cherry blossoms amidst ancient ruins and cultural landmarks, providing a blend of natural beauty and historical significance.

Busan Nakdong River Yuchae Flower Festival: Although not exclusively focused on cherry blossoms, this festival held along the Nakdong River in Busan features cherry blossoms as part of the overall celebration of spring, with various activities, performances, and food vendors to enjoy.

Daegu E-World Cherry Blossom Festival: Taking place in Daegu's E-World theme park, this festival offers a whimsical setting for enjoying cherry blossoms amidst thrilling rides and entertainment, making it a delightful experience for visitors of all ages.

Practical advice for capturing the perfect cherry blossom photographs

Cherry Blossom Photography

Capturing the quintessential cherry blossom photo requires a blend of technical know-how and artistic approach. Here's how I make sure my cherry blossom photos stand out:


Visit cherry blossom viewing spots early in the morning or late in the afternoon to take advantage of soft, diffused lighting. Avoid midday when the sun is harsh and can create unflattering shadows.


Experiment with different angles and perspectives to create dynamic compositions. Consider incorporating elements such as bridges, water features, or traditional Korean architecture into your photos to add depth and interest.

Camera Settings:

Use a wide aperture (low f-stop number) to create a shallow depth of field, allowing the cherry blossoms to stand out against a blurred background. One recommendation for achieving that shallow depth of field effect would be the Sony FE 50mm f/1.8 Lens. This lens is available at Target, Walmart, Newegg, and Best Buy. With its wide aperture of f/1.8, it allows ample light to enter the camera, creating a shallow depth of field. This feature enables you to capture stunning cherry blossom shots where the blossoms stand out against a beautifully blurred background, emphasizing their delicate beauty. Additionally, adjusting your camera's ISO and shutter speed accordingly alongside this lens can help you achieve proper exposure while minimizing motion blur, ensuring crisp and clear images.

Tripod Use:

To ensure sharp, blur-free images, use a tripod or stable surface to stabilize your camera, especially in low light conditions or when using slower shutter speeds. I recommend the Manfrotto MT190XPRO3 Aluminum Tripod for its sturdy build and adjustable height, providing reliable support for various shooting situations.


Pay close attention to your focus point and ensure that the cherry blossoms are sharp and in focus. Consider using manual focus or focus stacking techniques for greater control over your depth of field.


Fine-tune your photos using editing software to enhance colors, contrast, and sharpness. Avoid over-editing and strive for a natural, true-to-life look that captures the beauty of the cherry blossoms.

By following these tips and techniques, you can capture breathtaking photographs that showcase the timeless beauty of cherry blossoms in South Korea.

Cultural norms and respectful behavior during cherry blossom season:

cultural norms south korea

During cherry blossom season, I notice that observers often reflect a deep appreciation for the beauty and fleeting nature of the blooms—a concept rooted in the South Korean ideal of 'hanami', which is the traditional custom of enjoying the transient beauty of flowers. Here are some norms and etiquette practices to keep in mind:

Respect Nature:

Treat cherry blossoms and the surrounding environment with care and respect. Refrain from picking flowers or causing damage to trees and foliage. Dispose of trash properly and keep the viewing areas clean for others to enjoy.

Mindful Behavior:

Be considerate of other visitors and avoid making excessive noise or disrupting the peaceful atmosphere. Remember that cherry blossom viewing is a popular activity for families, couples, and nature enthusiasts alike, so be mindful of sharing space and maintaining a harmonious environment.

Cultural Sensitivity:

Familiarize yourself with basic Korean customs and etiquette to show respect for local culture. Bowing is a common greeting in South Korea, and a polite demeanor is appreciated when interacting with locals.

Photography Etiquette:

When taking photographs, be mindful of other visitors and avoid blocking pathways or obstructing views. Ask for permission before photographing individuals, especially if they are unaware or unwilling to be photographed.

Dress Code:

While there are no strict dress codes for cherry blossom viewing, it's advisable to dress comfortably and appropriately for the weather. Layers are recommended, as temperatures can vary throughout the day, and comfortable walking shoes are essential for exploring outdoor venues.

By adhering to these cultural norms and displaying respectful behavior, you can ensure a positive and enjoyable cherry blossom viewing experience for yourself and others.

Recommendations for where to stay and travel tips:

Where to stay in South Korea

Choosing the right accommodations can enhance your cherry blossom experience and provide convenient access to popular viewing spots and festival venues. Here are some recommendations for where to stay and travel tips for cherry blossom season in South Korea:

Accommodation Options:

For an unforgettable stay, I suggest the Lotte Hotel Seoul. Located in the heart of the city, it offers easy access to some of the best cherry blossom spots. The hotel boasts modern amenities and exceptional service, ensuring a comfortable and luxurious stay during the peak bloom season.

Booking in Advance:

Cherry blossom season is a peak travel period in South Korea, and accommodations tend to fill up quickly, especially in popular tourist destinations. To secure your preferred lodging, it's advisable to book well in advance, ideally several months before your planned travel dates.


Use public transportation, such as buses, subways, and trains, to navigate around South Korea's major cities and regions during cherry blossom season. Public transportation is efficient, affordable, and environmentally friendly, offering convenient access to cherry blossom viewing spots and festival venues.

Avoiding Crowds:

To avoid crowds and long lines at popular cherry blossom viewing spots and festival events, consider visiting early in the morning or on weekdays when tourist traffic is lighter. Alternatively, explore hidden gems and off-the-beaten-path locations for a more intimate and personalized cherry blossom experience.

Local Cuisine:

Don't miss the opportunity to sample traditional Korean cuisine and seasonal specialties during cherry blossom season. From savory street food snacks to hearty Korean barbecue and delicate hanjeongsik (Korean banquet cuisine), there's a wide array of culinary delights to tempt your taste buds.

Weather Preparedness:

Be prepared for variable weather conditions during cherry blossom season, including occasional rain showers and fluctuations in temperature. Pack lightweight, breathable clothing suitable for layering, as well as an umbrella or rain jacket to stay dry during outdoor activities.

Cultural Immersion:

Take advantage of cultural experiences and activities offered during cherry blossom season, such as traditional tea ceremonies, hanbok (Korean traditional clothing) rentals, and cultural performances. These immersive experiences provide insights into Korean culture and enhance your overall travel experience.

By following these travel tips and recommendations, you can make the most of your cherry blossom journey in South Korea and create unforgettable memories amidst the beauty of spring. Whether you're admiring the cherry blossoms in full bloom, exploring festival events, or sampling delicious Korean cuisine, cherish every moment of this magical season in the Land of the Morning Calm.

My Takeaway

As I board the plane, bound for my next destination, I feel a sense of contentment wash over me. South Korea has left an indelible mark on my soul, its cherry blossoms a symbol of resilience and beauty that transcends language and culture. As I gaze out of the window, watching the landscape fade into the distance, I carry with me the lessons learned amidst the delicate petals and fleeting blooms. Life, like the cherry blossoms, is ephemeral yet enchanting, urging us to savor every moment and embrace the splendor that surrounds us. And so, with a grateful heart and a spirit enriched by my journey, I bid farewell to South Korea, knowing that its blossoms will continue to bloom within me, reminding me to always seek out the beauty in the world around me.

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers:

Q1.Are there any cherry blossom viewing spots that are less crowded?

While popular spots like Yeouido Park and Jinhae Naval Port can get crowded during peak cherry blossom season, there are also quieter and less crowded locations to enjoy the blooms. Consider visiting smaller parks, temples, or rural areas where cherry blossom trees can be found without the crowds.

Q2.Are there any nighttime cherry blossom viewing events in Korea?

Yes, some locations in Korea offer nighttime cherry blossom viewing events where the trees are illuminated with lights, creating a magical atmosphere. These events often take place in parks or along riversides and provide a unique opportunity to see the cherry blossoms in a different light.

Q3. What other activities can I do during the cherry blossom season in Korea?

Apart from enjoying the cherry blossoms, visitors can also participate in various outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling, and photography. Additionally, many cultural events and performances take place during this time, providing visitors with a chance to experience Korean traditions and customs.