Cherry Blossom Festivals in South Korea are amazing and each spring you get a new opportunity to view them. While there are many spread out throughout the country, I’d like to focus on two of my favorites in this post with info and photos. These are the Hwagae Cherry Blossom Festival near Hadong, and the Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival in Jinhae.
*COVID Update: Please take note that there is a very high chance that both these festivals below will be cancelled for the 2021 year. In some cases, if like last year, they will even shut off the area from anyone. I’ll try to put an update if I hear more. In any case, even if these two festivals are cancelled, there are many locations within Korea that have cherry blossoms that you can view safely adhering to proper social distancing where you can still get beautiful photos.
Best Cherry Blossom Festivals
Hwagae Cherry Blossom Festival
The first festival I want to tell you about is the Hwagae Cherry Blossom Festival in Hadong County, Gyeongsangnamdo South Korea. It is here where you will find the Hwagae Market and the start of the 4km of road that is lined with hundreds and hundreds of cherry blossoms.
Each spring around the end of March to the middle of April, these trees will blossom with incredible white flowers that seem to go on forever. Around this time, the district of Hadong will schedule a festival and thousands of people will descend on this small country town to see the sights, enjoy the festival food and music, and walk alongside the river with all the trees.
The best way to enjoy this festival, is to get here early to avoid the crowds and start from the bus terminal, cross the bridge and just walk alongside the road the whole way to the Ssanggyesa Temple. In total, you can easily spend a few hours here walking, taking pictures and enjoying the scenery. Not to mention, that if you are here during the festival period, you can also enjoy some small concerts and definitely lots of street food.
How to Get To Hadong
Hwagae is not the easiest place to get to. Especially if you are not in one of the major cities in South Korea which offer buses to Hadong. However, if you are in one of the major cities in Korea like Seoul, Daejeon and Busan, there are semi-regular buses to Hadong which should take a few hours.
Once you are in Hadong, you will want to take a bus onwards to Hwagae which should take less than an hour. There are some direct buses from Seoul to Hwagae, however, these aren’t as frequent and during festival times it may be difficult to snag a seat on these.
Here is a map below for reference as to where the festival is:
Where to Stay in Hadong
If you are looking for a place to stay near the festival, please use the search box below to look for accomodation:
Tips and Information for Hwagae
- Cherry blossoms in Korea tend to last around 2 to 3 weeks from bloom to falling off the trees. So it’s not a long time. Typically once they bloom, they reach full peak a week later and then one week after that they fall off. Of course, this is all dependent on weather and if you have rain just after full peak, they may all fall off.
- The Hwagae Cherry Blossom Festival is free. Of course, bring money though for food as the street food at these festivals is the best.
- Personally, my favorite time to visit these festivals is right as the blossoms are starting to fall off the trees. However, it’s really hard to time this. If you do time it right though, it feels like the blossoms are raining down all around you and is an amazing feeling.
- This year, Cherry Blossoms should peak late March to early April in this part of Korea, so keep your ears open to when they will peak and schedule a trip to this festival.
Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival
The Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival which is part of the Jinhae Gunhangjae Festival is probably the most famous of all the festivals for Cherry Blossoms in South Korea.
Located in the Southeast part of the country, this festival attracts millions each year to see the many cherry trees which dot the city of Jinhae. It’s a festival that is not to be missed and you won’t regret a visit here. As with all festivals in South Korea though, it can get crowded, so plan smart to try to avoid the biggest crowds.
There are 2 areas of this festival that I think are must visits when in Jinhae. The first is Gyeonghwa Station. This is a train station, that only during the festival, they run a few mugunghwa (slower type trains) through the station and you can take photos of the train running underneath the cherry blossoms. It’s a truly magnificent sight and one you don’t want to miss.
You are allowed to walk right along the track as the trains go very slowly through this area while you take pictures.
The second area I recommend to visit is the Yeojwhacheon Stream. This stream is lined with hundreds if not thousands of cherry trees and makes for a spectacular sight when they are in bloom. It creates almost a canopy or tunnel when you are walking underneath them.
There are wooden bridges across the stream and many different photo zones and themes along the way so you can get the perfect pictures. In fact, a lot of couples come to this festival because it has such a romantic feel as you are walking.
As with all other festivals in South Korea, there are plenty of other things to do than what I mention above. There are tons of food stalls and trucks set up, and also lots of music events and games for those who want to spend more time.
How to get to Jinhae
The best way to get to Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival is take a bus. There are direct buses from major cities throughout Korea like Daejeon, Busan, and Seoul. From each of these cities it should take a few hours. You could also reach there by taking a KTX or slow train to Changwon. Then from Changwon you could take a taxi or city bus to Jinhae.
For reference, I’ll provide maps down below for both places I recommended above. Gyeonghwa Station and secondly, Yeojwhacheon Stream.
Where to Stay in Jinhae
If you want to stay overnight in Jinhae, please use the search box below to look for accomodation:
Tips and Information for Jinhae
- The Jinhae Cherry Blossom festival typically runs during the first week of April. However, check to make sure when it gets closer to the time. As with the other festival, I think if you can time it right, the best time to get here is towards the end of peak when the blossoms are falling off the trees like rain.
- During the nighttime, they light the trees along the stream. I haven’t visited during this time, but I hear it’s amazing and beautiful. A really romantic time if you want to visit with your significant other.
- The most busy time of day seems to be right in the middle of the day. So if you can time your visit around this, there should be less crowds. However, do note that this festival is the most popular cherry blossom festival in Korea, so it will be hard to avoid crowds during the festival time.
- There are a ton of other events that happen during the Jinhae Gunhangjae Festival, so don’t miss out on those events either.
I hope this article was helpful in giving you information about these two amazing Cherry Blossom Festivals in South Korea. Please leave a comment if you want more information.