Many might assume that Japan is the only place you can appreciate the beauty of the sakura season. What they might not know is that South Korea has cherry blossom trees that are just as beautiful. In fact, there are several regions in the country blessed with cherry blossom trees which bloom come springtime.
In Korea, cherry blossoms symbolise purity and beauty. It also signals the end of winter and the start of the cherry blossom festivals. These cherry blossoms only bloom for about seven days a year, but they’re definitely worth a visit. If you’re interested in finding out where the best places to view cherry blossoms are in Korea, check out our guide below!
Korea Cherry Blossom Forecast by Region
Credit: Daniel Lee / Unsplash
Like Japan, the cherry blossom blooming dates in Korea slightly vary depending on the region. Regions in the southern part of the country have slightly earlier blooming dates than those in the north. Check out the estimated blooming dates for 2020 by region below:
- Seoul – April 6 – April 13 (Full bloom: April 6)
- Daegu – March 26 – April 2 (Full bloom: March 26)
- Busan – March 26 – April 2 (Full bloom: March 26)
- Gwangju – March 29 – April 5 (Full bloom: March 29)
- Incheon – April 9 – April 15 (Full bloom: April 9)
- Jeju Island – March 23-30 (Full bloom: March 23)
Best Places to View Cherry Blossoms in Korea
Seokchon Lake Cherry Blossom Festival
When to go: Early to Mid-April
How to get there: Take Seoul Subway Line 2 to Jamsil Station and exit at Exit 2
Seokchon Lake is one of Seoul’s most popular cherry blossom viewing hotspots. This beautiful area was developed into a park surrounding the lake. Many locals come here for a relaxing stroll or just sit in a serene environment. In the springtime, however, people come here to see the stunning cherry blossom trees in full bloom. The Seokchon Lake Cherry Blossom Festival typically takes place in the first or second week of April each year. During this time, the park is buzzing with fun activities, food stalls, and performances. There’s even a Seokchon Lake Cherry Blossom Festival Concert! If you’re interested in going on a food trip while in the city, check out our guide!
Where to stay: SIGNIEL SEOUL
Daegu Yongyeonsa Temple
When to go: Early April
How to get there: Take a train from Busan. The trip lasts about 40 minutes and costs about S$16
Credit: Dirk Tussing / CC BY 2.0
The Yongyeonsa Temple in Daegu is located at the north foot of Biseul Mountain. Beautiful as the temple is, however, the main tourist attraction here is the road leading up to the mountain. The road is lined with numerous cherry blossom trees that come into full bloom when April comes around. The temple itself is a beautiful sight, with a number of pagodas and ancient artefacts. It also has a few pathways lined with cherry blossom trees which make for a romantic scene straight out of a K-drama!
Where to stay: Instar Hotel
When to go: April
How to get there: Ride the Namsan cable car to reach Namsan Park
Namsan Park is one of Seoul’s most popular attractions. In fact, it’s the largest park in the city and is home to various species of trees, plants, and even animals. It also offers scenic walking trails and a few attraction such as Baekbeom Square and Namsan Tower. A number of events take place at Namsan Park, with the most popular one being the cherry blossom festival. The Cherry Blossom Path at the park is the longest one in the city and seeing the trees in full bloom is a magical experience.
Where to stay: Namsan Hill Hotel
When to go: Late March to April
How to get there: From Geumnyeonsangan subway station (exit 5), it’s a 10-minute walk or short taxi ride
Credit: Thrina Tham / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Located near Gwangil Beach, the Cherry Blossom Road at Namcheong-Dong Samik Apartment is one of the best places to go cherry blossom viewing in Busan. There are a few cherry blossom tunnels there and the entire area is just littered with cherry blossom petals, especially late in March when the trees are in full bloom. When the wind blows, the petals rain on the streets making this cherry blossom experience an ethereal one.
Where to stay: Hound Hotel Seomyeon
When to go: Early April
How to get there: Take the train to Gapyeong Station and then walk or take a cab to the wharf. At the wharf, ride a boat going to the island. The trip costs about S$15 per trip
If you’re a K-drama fan, you might have seen Winter Sonata. Nami Island is one of the show’s filming locations. This charming island is a popular day trip from Seoul. While the island is definitely beautiful all-year round, its beauty is further magnified in springtime when its cherry blossom trees are in full bloom. If you’re looking for the best spot on the island to take photos, Cherry Blossom Lane in front of the Water Stages Swimming Pool is definitely the place to go.
Where to stay: Egg House Namisum
Gyeongpo Cherry Blossom Festival
When to go: Early to Mid-April
How to get there: Take the bus into Gangneung, since it is the fastest and most economical way to travel into the city. Each trip costs about S$19 and lasts about 3 hours
Credit: Fiona Yi / Unsplash
Every year, Gangneung hosts the Gyeongpo Cherry Blossom Festival which is held in early to mid-April when the cherry blossom trees are in full bloom. The beach resort town of Gyeongpo boasts wonderfully warm weather during spring, adding to the cherry blossom viewing experience. At Gyeongpodae Pavilion, you’ll see a 4.3-kilometre path lined by cherry blossom trees which is a spectacular sight in full bloom. What’s great about this place is that it offers several other activities including ziplining, exploring the coffee museum, or just bumming it at the beach.
Where to stay: Gyungpo Beach Hotel
Wonmisan Azalea Festival
When to go: Mid-April
How to get there: Take Seoul subway line 7 and get off at Bucheon Sports Complex station. Exit at Exit 2 and walk about 500m until you see signs pointing to the festival
Credit: Thought Catalog / Unsplash
Another festival that takes place during the cherry blossom season is the Wonmisan Azalea Festival. What sets this festival apart from the others is that it celebrates the azalea flower. It takes on a deeper shade of pink compared to other cherry blossom types. When in full bloom, the azalea trees of Wonmisan Hill are a breathtaking sight. The festival also hosts a few activities and programmes.
Where to stay: Bucheon Hotel
Korea is just as blessed with cherry blossom trees as Japan! If you’re interested in seeing the wonderful cherry blossom trees of Korea, there are definitely several spots and festivals for you to choose from. As always, travel with Expedia to get the best flight and hotel deals!