No one likes the cold. We humans bundle up or stay indoors the majority of the time, electing not to face the chilling winds and frigid temperatures that grip the Korean peninsula during winter. Trees, however, don’t have the luxury of hiding out inside and must stand tall each and every day- confronting the horrendous weather. Thankfully, the weather doesn’t last forever, and during the tail end of March and beginning of April, the magic of spring comes into full bloom.
Cherry blossoms have always marked the start of the true spring season for me. For the past few years, I’ve always stuck around Seoul to see these great reminders that life can return from the darkness of winter. This year, we decided to travel south to Jinhae and see some of the first blossoms to sprout in Korea and see what many consider the country’s best and largest festival to celebrate this annual arrival.
What makes the Jinhae festival and cherry blossoms special? I’m not sure. What I can tell you, is that the picturesque stream through the city and views from atop Jinhae tower offer visitors something unique and wondrous.
As with most festivals, there’s an assortment of live performances on weekends. Although, I’d garner to reason that for most, the best thing about any festival is the street food.
… or fun diversions for the young ones…
… of any species.
The entire city of Jinhae really comes alive during the cherry blossom festival. While visiting, three locations are must-see. For lovers, there’s Yeojwacheon Stream that was featured in the drama “Romance.” It also happens to be the best spot to see the cherry blossoms in town. Second, the rotunda and parade grounds. It’s in the center of town and hosts many of the festival’s events. Finally, Jinhae Tower must be conquered.
The tower offers two ways to see its spectacular views of the city: monorail or foot. If you choose the former, be prepared to stand in long lines at either end of the ride. If you choose the latter, you will overcome 365 steps before you reach the “ground” level. What ever way you choose, you won’t regret taking in the views from the tower’s uppermost observation deck.
Getting to Jinhae from Seoul: From Seoul station, take a train to Changwon station. From Changwon Station, you can take a shuttle train that operates during the festival period to Jinhae station(8:38am~8:34pm, 4 trains daily / est. travel time of 20min). From Jinhae Station, it is a 2 to 3 minutes walk to the festival grounds.
When will the cherry blossoms bloom in your area? http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/FU/FU_EN_15.jsp?cid=1224040
Where ever you may be in Korea, I hope you’ll take some time to experience one of the great wonders this country has to offer and enjoy these blossoms during their limited run.