From October 1 to 12, colorful lanterns will be lighting up the Namgang River in Jinju-si, Gyeongsangnam-do for the Jinju Namgang Yudeung (Lantern) Festival 2014. The festival dates back to the Jinjuseong Battle (1592) during the Imjin Waeran (Japanese Invasion, 1592-1598). During the war, lanterns were used as military signals, a means of communicating with reserve forces, and as a way to keep in touch with family members outside of Jinjuseong Fortress. Even after the war, people continued the tradition of floating lanterns down the river to pay tribute to the brave souls that had been lost during battle. The tradition later evolved into the Jinju Namgang Festival, the lantern festival we know and love today.
Many of the lanterns represent the nation's traditions and symbols (tigers, traditional instruments, Korean dances, etc.). Even legends and famous events from Korea's history are told through lantern displays. With Korea's continued focus on globalization, it's not surprising that there is also a section of lanterns shaped like animals and other symbols that represent foreign countries. Walking along the banks of the river, one would come across the "Tunnel of Wish Lanterns." The tunnel is formed from countless lanterns hanging overhead, including those bearing wishes from the citizens.
Lanterns showcasing the nation's proud traditions, culture, and folk games fill Jinjuseong Fortress and the Namgang River. Come dusk when the lanterns are lit, scenes from the Jinjuseong Battle (fencing, martial arts on horseback, etc.) come to life in a gentle glow that warms the fall night air.
Super-sized lanterns representing landmarks and popular characters including the Statue of Liberty (USA), the Sphinx (Egypt), a kangaroo (Australia), Snow White, the Beauty and the Beast, and Cinderella will float along the river in an eye-catching display.
Local and international tourists can write their wish on a wish lantern and hang them in the tunnel. From October 1 to 12, 2014, visitors can see about 29,000 wish lanterns swaying in the wind by the Namgang riverside. The price for a wish lantern is 10,000 won and only cash payments are accepted.
Join in this popular program to make your own wish lantern. Once you finish, light your lantern and send it down the Namgang River. The event is held at the Namgang riverside in Manggyeong-dong and the riverside in Seongji-dong from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. from October 1 to 12, 2014. The fee is 3,000 won (cash only).
From the floating bridge on the Namgang River, enjoy the enchanting glow of the lantern lights all over the river. Don't miss the breathtaking night view of Chokseongnu Pavilion of Jinjuseong Fortress located along the river. The event is held daily from 10 a.m. to midnight and the one-way crossing price is 1,000 won (cash only).
Photo Credit: Jinju Namgang Yudeung Festival Organizing Committee
Take a closer look at the lanterns of Namgang River as you ride in style. The ferry operates from 13:00 to 24:00 every day during the festival.
Daytime (13:00 – 18:00): 4,000 won
Nighttime (18:00-24:00): 5,000 won
Jinjuseong Fortress (where the festival takes place) is one of the major tourist attractions in Jinju. By day, visit
Chokseongnu Pavilion and the
Jinju National Museum located inside the fortress. As dusk falls, check out the lanterns and the hands-on programs just outside the fortress walls. Throughout the festival period, admission to Jinjuseong Fortress and Chokseongnu Pavilion is free of charge.
One of the local specialties of Jinju is broiled eel. To enjoy this healthy and delicious dish, visit one of the riverside restaurants outside Jinjuseong Fortress.
If you're coming from another town to visit the Jinju Lantern Festival, you may want to plan a one-night, two-day stay in Jinju. The festival venue is easily accessible via public transportation and a variety of accommodation options are located nearby. The Jinju Express Bus Terminal is only 5 minutes away from the festival venue by taxi, and a number of inns and the Jinju Intercity Bus Terminal are only about 10 minutes away on foot.
Last updated on August 26, 2014