All Abloom at the Jinhae Gunhangje Festival

Spring has officially arrived in the Northern Hemisphere which means temperatures are warming up. Trees and flowers are beginning to bloom and landscapes are waking up all over the region, giving travelers the opportunity to see the vibrant delights that nature has to offer. When you think of Japan at this time, you may think of the famous Cherry Blossoms that people in the masses travel too see. What many are not aware of however, is the popularity of the Cherry Blossom festivals in South Korea, with the largest of these festivals being the Jinhae Gunhangje Festival.

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Every year between late March and early April, thousands of visitors travel to the southern port of city of Jinhae to witness the beautiful pink blooms that envelop the entire town. Jinhae is home to thousands of cherry blossom trees that can be found in nearly every nook and cranny of this tranquil little place. I loved strolling through the town and taking in all its beautiful scenes.

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It’s possible for travelers to walk around for hours and see the blossoms from many different locations, for example the view from Jehwangsan Park allows visitors to enjoy panoramic views of the town and allows you to witness some of the tallest trees in the area. Located in the center of Jinhae atop Jehwangsan Mountain, the 365 step climb to the top is well worth it. I really enjoyed the views from here and was quite impressed by how tall some of the cherry blossom trees were.

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Another popular spot is Gyeonghwa Station. This 800 meter-long stretch of railway is considered one of the best places to witness the cherry blossoms in Jinhae. The area has been featured in various Korean movies and TV shows. Walking along the tracks and watching couples taking their wedding pictures under the backdrop of the trees was a unique experience.

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While I found both Jehwangsan Park and Gyeonghwa Station to be beautiful locales, I favoured the Yeojwacheon Stream. The path along the stream measures nearly one mile long and is covered by an extensive canopy of cherry blossom trees from beginning to end. I found this area to be quite magical with the water rushing down the stream as the pink petals fell gently from the leaves.

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The cherry blossom festival is an all day and all night sort of event with the trees transformed and illuminated with the use of various colored lights that only further the beauty of the blossoms. The festival becomes even more romantic at this time as couples wander hand in hand amongst the beautiful trees and the moonlit sky.

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Besides relishing in all the cherry blossom trees, the Festival offers a plethora of events and activities, including an extensive market, a cultural parade, and various art and traditional performances. I really enjoyed wandering around the market and savoring the vast array of traditional Korean dishes and teas.

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If you’re a fan of springtime and cherry blossom trees, I highly recommend visiting the Jinhae Gunhangje Festival. It was a beautiful and tranquil trip. This year’s festival will take place from April 1st to the 10th. Jinhae is located in Changwon, Gyeongsangnam-do which is only a short bus ride away from Busan.

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For more information regarding this year’s festivities please visit Korea’s Official Tourism Website.

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