The short cherry blossom season of 2015 has already ended… but there are so many more places with beautiful cherry blossom trees in Korea! How should I choose the next place to visit?
In the past two springs, I went to the Yeouido Cherry Blossom Festival (여의도 벚꽃축제), Ui Stream (우이천), Jinhae Gunhangje Festival (진해군항제), Samcheong Park (삼청공원), and Changdeok Palace (창덕궁), and I learned that two questions are important when you want to enjoy the view :
How is the weather? You just have to desperately hope that the weather is good because the blue sky makes the cherry blossoms so much more beautiful! This becomes tricky because the cherry blossoms bloom in rainy April. Make sure to check the weather before you decide to travel far for cherry blossoms.
Are you willing to be in a big crowd? If you can’t get to a cherry blossom festival on a weekday, you are most likely going to be surrounded by more people than trees. Although the crowd is a bit suffocating, I recommend going to one famous place and one local place, so you can enjoy both the famous view and the luxury of taking pictures without strangers in it.
Here are some of the places where you can see cherry blossoms.
Pros: Rows of trees. Food stands. Concerts.
Con: Crowd. Unbelievably heavy traffic surrounding the festival.
Yeongdeungpo Yeouido Spring Flower Festival
(영등포 여의도 봄꽃축제) Line 9 National Assembly Station. Five minute walk from exit 1 or 6. There are so many people that attend this festival, so you don’t need directions for this. Just follow the crowd.
Jinhae Gunhangje Festival (진해군항제)
Jinhae is a city that is a 5 hour bus ride down south from Seoul. It is known as one of the first places where the cherry blossoms bloom in Korea.They are known for the train tracks and the stream near Jinhae station.
When I went there, the traffic was extremely bad. A distance that is usually a ten-minute drive took more than an hour. We were barely able to move. The views are outstanding, but just be aware that you’ll be stuck with a big crowd and traffic. I recommend taking the KTX, so you can avoid some traffic.
Children’s Grand Park Cherry Blossom Festival
(어린이대공원 벚꽃촉제) Line 7 Children’s Grand Park Station exit 1. I heard from my friends that Children’s Grand Park is better than other big festivals because the streets are wider and you don’t feel like you’re bumping into each other in a big crowd.
Seokchon Lake Cherry Blossom Festival (석촌호수 벚꽃축제)
Line 2 Jamsil Station exit 2 or 3. Walk straight. I like how this location allows a view with skyscrapers, a lake, and cherry blossoms. Maybe you could visit before you enjoy your day at Lotte World.
Jeju Cherry Blossom Festival (제주 왕벚꽃축제)
I haven’t been to this festival yet! Jeju-do is still on my bucket list of places to visit.
Pros: More personal space. Room for a picnic. Family friendly.
Cons: Mountains require hiking. Less density of trees.
Seoul Dream Forest (북서울 꿈의 숲)
Line 6 Dolgoji Station exit 3. Take bus 147 for 5 minutes. I haven’t been able to visit this park for cherry blossoms, but it’s just beautiful all-year-round.
Samcheong Park (삼청공원)
Line 5 Gwanghamun Station exit 2. Take Bus 11 and go to the last stop. From the bus stop you’ll have to walk north for about 5 minutes. The park should be on your right.
This park is my personal favorite, because there’s just enough cherry blossoms trees, and has not too many people. You can also take a walk towards Samcheong-dong, a beautiful neighborhood with many cute shops, cafes, and restaurants.
Olympic Park (올림픽공원)
Line 5 Olympic Park Station exit 3. This is another huge park that is beautiful all-year-round. I’ve heard that photographers choose this place for shootings.
Seoraksan (설악산) or Suraksan (수락산)
I’m not much of a hiker, but I’ve heard that both of these mountains have beautiful cherry blossoms.
Uicheon Stream (우이천)
Line 4 Suyu Station exit 8 or Ssangmun Station exit 3. Walk straight from the exit for 10 minutes and you’ll eventually reach this stream. This is a local area in northern Seoul that is popular for taking walks. When I went, the flower petals were floating into the air and falling onto the water, so it was pretty.
Pros: Beautiful campus buildings in the background.
Cons: Mostly students? Less trees.
Kyunghee University (경희대학교) & Seoul National University (서울대학교). I have not been to either of these locations, but I have heard good things about these locations.
Pros: Traditional palaces in the background. Guided tour.
Cons: Crowd. Some areas require an entrance fee. Not many trees.
Changdeokgung Palace (창덕궁)
Line 3 Anguk Station exit 3. Walk straight for 2 minutes and you’ll see the palace on your left. The entrance is free. You have to pay a fee if you want to see the secret garden.
When I went, I only noticed one pink cherry blossom tree near the entrance, but it was one of the prettiest cherry blossoms that I’ve seen in Korea!
Gyeongbokgung Palace (경복궁)
Line 3 Gyeongbokgung Palace Station exit 5 or
Line 5 Gwanghwamun Station exit 2. I haven’t been to this palace for cherry blossoms, but it seems to have more cherry blossoms than Changdeokgung.
If you would like to find more cherry blossom festivals, or would like to know future dates of the festival, I recommend using naver.com and searching “벚꽃축제.” Good luck and happy travels!