Travel Highlights

Unique Winter Festival, Hwacheon Sancheoneo (Mountain Trout) Festival

  • Tag Event Food Tour
  • Date01/05/2016
  • Hit32183
 Bare-hand Ice Fishing Arena

Photo: Bare-hand Ice Fishing Arena

Unique Winter Festival, Hwacheon Sancheoneo(mountain Trout) Festival

When Hwacheoncheon Stream, located in Hwacheon-gun, Gangwon-do freezes in winter, locals and tourists alike flock to the stream, carve out a hole in the ice, and begin ice fishing for sancheoneo (mountain trout). The trout are known to live only in high quality fresh waters of the stream. Visitors fishing in the stream can be seen patiently waiting, and then jumping with excitement as they pull their catches from the water. Some even choose to jump into the icy waters of the pool built beside the stream for bare-hand ice fishing. In addition to ice fishing, the festival offers a plethora of fun activities on the frozen Hwacheoncheon Stream including ice skating, ice or snow sledding, snowmobile riding, and many more. For that, the Hwacheon Sancheoneo Festival has become one of best ultimate winter activities for the whole family to engage in.

Sancheoneo Fishing

Sancheoneo fishing is the main activity at the Hwacheon Sancheoneo Festival. There are three ways for visitors to fish at the festival: ice fishing on the frozen stream, lure fishing in the flowing waters, and bare-hand fishing in a pool wearing only a t-shirt and shorts.

◆ Sancheoneo Ice Fishing

One being ice fishing (left) / Foreign tourists taking commemorative photos with the ice holding plastic bags above all the fish (right)

Photo Credit: Nara Organizing Committee

Ice fishing on the frozen Hwacheon stream that is at least 30cm deep, is the most popular fishing activity at the festival. Wait patiently for the fishes swimming underneath the frozen stream to be attracted to the bait by moving the reel up and down to lure the sancheoneo. When you feel a tug, calmly pull the fishing line up and place it in the plastic bag. Voila, you have your first catch! Once you are done fishing, you may take your catch to a nearby restaurant to have it served raw or grilled.

More Info
  • ☞ Fees: 12,000 won (Admission pass for fishing zone, plastic bag, and 5,000 won coupon included)
  • * Children & Seniors: 8,000 won
  • ☞ Operating period/hours: January 9 – January 31, 2016 / 09:00-18:00
  • ※ On-site tickets are available during the festival. On weekends, tickets often sell out early in the morning.
  • ☞ What to bring: Fishing pole/reel, bait, small chair, blanket, etc. (also available for purchase on-site.)
  • ☞ Cooking fees for sliced raw sancheoneo: 2,000 won per fish
  • ☞ Cooking fees for grilled sancheoneo: 2,000 won per fish
  • ※ An exclusive fishing site for foreigners is operated upstream from the snow sledding ticket booth.

◆ Sancheoneo Bare-hand Fishing

Catching sancheoneo barehanded (left) / Bare-hand ice fishing arena (right)

Photo: Catching sancheoneo barehanded (left) / Bare-hand ice fishing arena (right)

For any fishes that you catch on the day, plastic bags to place your catch, as well as festival t-shirt and shorts would be offered. For those who do not fancy the motionless wait while fishing, you may want to challenge yourself with some bare-hand ice fishing experience that takes place at the festival’s round fishing pool. Participants for the bare-hand ice fishing change into the festival outfits, and perform a simple warm up exercise. Following the “go” signal, participants jump into the pool, and try to catch sancheoneo using their bare hands within three minutes. Each participant is allowed to catch up to three sancheoneo. After the contest is over, participants may warm themselves up with a warm foot bath.

More Info
  • ☞ Fees: 12,000 won (Admission pass for fishing zone, plastic bag, and 5,000-won coupon included)
  • * Children & Seniors: 8,000 won
  • ☞ Operating period/hours: January 9 – January 31, 2016 / Weekdays (four times a day) 11:00, 12:00, 13:00, 15:00 / Weekends (six times a day) 11:00, 12:00, 13:00, 14:00, 15:00, 16:00
  • ☞ Venue: Under the Baemeorigyo Bridge
  • ☞ Convenience facilities: Changing room, lockers, foot-bathing facility, etc.

* The number of operations subject to change depending on weather conditions.

◆ Snow / Ice Rides

People enjoy riding a tube sled (left) / Couple riding a bicycle on the ice people (right)

Photo Credit: Nara Organizing Committee

Snow and ice activities are other popular attractions at Hwacheon Sancheoneo Festival. The ice sledding experience zone features Korean traditional sleds, Northern European-style sleds, as well as an icy ground for cycling on ice. A 40 metered-long snow slope and 100m ice slope are also available to send thrills down your spine through various winter leisure sports including snow sledding, bobsleighing with a special tube and ice soccer.

◆ Other Attractions

Ornate arched tunnel into the fish appeared equation (left) / Take the kids to play ice slides carved out of ice (right)

Photo Credit: Nara Organizing Committee

The excitement of Hwacheon Sancheoneo Festival can also be felt throughout the town of Hwacheon. Participants may find sancheoneo-shaped lanterns made from hanji paper and beautiful luminaries by the LED lights that are brilliantly decorated along the Seondeng Street. Furthermore, the Ice Plaza behind the Hope Lights Plaza showcases large-scale ice sculptures, lighted up in an assortment of colors. There are also other festivities to enjoy include Korean traditional folk games and making of sancheoneo-shaped lantern and more.

◆ Food

Foreign tourists, families eat fish grilled with charcoal (left) / Women tourists eating fish grilled with charcoal (right)

Photo Credit: Nara Organizing Committee

Hwacheon Sancheoneo Festival provides a unique opportunity to taste and purchase Hwacheon’s local specialties. In addition to the fish restaurants that serve sancheoneo, food stands along the Hwacheoncheon Stream also sell tteokbokki (stir-fried rice cake), fish cakes, dumplings, as well as sweet and savory fritters. Moreover, most food can be purchased with the coupon that you receive upon the purchase of festival’s admission tickets.

Hwacheon Sancheoneo (Mountain Trout) Ice Festival
  • ☞ Period: January 9 – January 31, 2016
  • ☞ Venue: 137, Sancheoneo-gil, Hwacheon-eup, Hwacheon-gun, Gangwon-do
  • ☞ Directions: Dong Seoul Bus TerminalHwacheon Bus Terminal
  • ※ Hwacheoncheon Stream is located within a 15-min walking distance from Hwacheon Bus Terminal.
  • • Schedule: 07:05 (first bus)–19:35 (last bus) / Bus Interval: 30-min to 1-hr (24 buses a day)
  • • Travel time: About 2hr 40min
  • • Fare: Adults 13,900 won
  • ☞ Website: (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese, French) / (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
  • ☞ Inquiries: +82-1688-3005 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese) ※ Operates during festival period

☞ 1330 Korea Travel Hotline: +82-2-1330 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)

* This column was last updated in December 2015, and therefore information may differ from what is presented here. We advise you to check details from the official websites before visiting.

<Last updated on December 28, 2015>