Starting as early as March, the cold winds and freezing temperatures of winter begin to subside as spring draws near. In Korea, a wide array of events celebrating the season are held throughout the country, where many activities take to the outdoors thanks to the milder weather.
The return of the warmer weather not only brings countless beautiful wild flowers into bloom, but also gives families a chance to spend precious time with their loved ones through all the various activities that can be taken advantage of outdoors. Read on for the list of festivals celebrating the lovely spring atmosphere in Korea.
The beauty of spring in bloom!
From the beginning of March when the air is still cool, spring announces its arrival in Korea with a blanket of white and yellow blossoms spread like a quilt all over the nation. The warmer season sees a host of festivals take place in Korea where visitors can stroll among the blossoming spring flowers and see the country at its finest.
- Period: March 18-26, 2017
- Venue: Area of Jirisan Mountain Hot Springs Resort, Sandong-myeon, Gurye-gun, Jeollanam-do
- Description: Taking place in the hot springs resort area of Jirisan Mountain, visitors to Gurye Sansuyu Festival can enjoy a vibrant taste of spring with the yellow sansuyou (cornelian cherry) flowers. Various hands-on programs like cornus fruit dessert making and a wishing tree are also available, along with a number of performances, such as pungmulnori (farmers' music performances), traditional Korean music, and fireworks displays that will be held throughout the festival period.
- Related column: First greeting of the flower festival season, Gurye Sansuyu Festival
- Period: March 31-April 9, 2017 (Planned)
- Venue: Areas of Jeonnong-ro, Jangjeon-ri & Jeju National Univ. Entrance, Jeju-do
- Description: The Jeju Cherry Blossom Festival is where the nation’s first cherry blossoms can be seen. The festival features a cherry blossom photo zone as well as various other programs to enjoy. In addition, the festival can be enjoyed fully day or night with the use of a vast lighting system.
- Period: April 1–2, 2017
- Venue: Areas of Yeonghonam, Hwahap & Damokjeok Plaza, Hwagae-myeon, Hadong-gun, Gyeongsangnam-do
- Description: Hwagae Cherry Blossom Festival is held around Hwagae Market, a traditional open-air market situated on the border between Hadong in Gyeongsangnam-do and Gurye in Jeollanam-do. In particular, the cherry blossom trees along the six kilometer road from the market to Ssanggyesa Temple are a fantastic sight to behold. It is believed that if a couple walks down this road holding hands, they will grow old together in an everlasting relationship. For this reason, the road is sometimes referred to the “wedding road” as well.
- Period: April 1-9, 2017 (Planned)
- Venue: Area of Yeouiseo-ro (behind the National Assembly Building), Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul
- Description: The Yeongdeungpo Yeouido Spring Flower Festival is a representative festival in Seoul, taking place every April. Yeouiseo-ro, the street behind the National Assembly Building, is lined with cherry blossom trees and is the most famous cherry blossom street in Seoul. Visitors can take a stroll along the Hangang River through a tunnel of these majestic trees. Other spring blossoms blooming beneath the trees include azaleas and forsythias. There are also cultural street performances, a flower decoration exhibit, and a photo exhibit taking place throughout the festival period.
Walk through the fantastic cherry blossom tunnel at Jinhae Gunhangje Festival
- Period: April 1-10, 2017
- Venue: Area of Jinhae-gu, Changwon-si, Gyeongsangnam-do
- Description: This festival takes place in early April when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom. Jinhae Gunhangje Festival draws in more than 2 million tourists every year, and visitors are greeted by showers of cherry blossom petals as they pass through a tunnel of cherry trees. There are various events not to be missed, such as the Jinhae International Military Band & Honor Guard Festival and fireworks show.
- Related column: Romance in Jinhae Gunhangjae Festival, a spring cherry blossom trip
- Period: April 7-9, 2017 (Planned)
- Venue: Areas of Dorip-ri, Gyeongsa-ri & Songmal-ri, Baeksa-myeon, Icheon-si, Gyeonggi-do
- Description: Home to 100-year-old wild sansuyu trees, the venue of the Icheon Baeksa Sansuyu Blossom Festival is a leading producer of sansuyu (cornus fruit) trees in Korea. In spring, the sansuyu flowers are in full bloom to decorate the whole village in yellow; while in autumn, the red fruits signal the changing of the season. During the festival period, a variety of performances and cornus fruit-related hands-on programs are offered to all visitors.
- Period: April 7-9, 2017 (Planned)
- Venue: Area of Cheongpungho Lake, Cheongpung-myeon, Jecheon-si, Chungcheongbuk-do
- Description: Jecheon Cheongpungho Cherry Blossom Festival takes place along Cheongpungho lakeside, where thousands of mature cherry blossom trees stand tall and proud. Various shows and performances are scheduled, including a cherry blossom street concert and a dance parade. Visitors can also sample some medicinal herbal teas and participate in craft activities. Nearby attractions include the Cheongpung Cultural Property Complex and a bungee jumping site.
- Period: April 13 - May 10, 2017
- Venue: Nature World, Sinon-ri, Nam-myeon, Taean-gun, Chungcheongnam-do
- Description: Selected as one of the world's top five tulip festivals, Taean International Tulip Festival showcases tulips, lupine, foxglove, lilies and other advanced breeds of spring flowers. This year, the festival has the addition of famous landmarks from around the world such as Korea’s Namdaemun Gate and France’s Eifel Tower, recreated through flowers.
Mouthwatering food festivals
Food is a reflection of a nation's culture, and spring is the perfect season to taste great foods in Korea made of wild greens and fresh vegetables, all of which are vibrant and packed with nutrition. Some local delicacies, such as seafood caught in coastal regions, are only produced in spring. During this time, an abundance of food festivals take place throughout the nation, celebrating unique and delicious local specialties.
- Period: March 2-5, 2017
- Venue: Areas of Hanmaeum Plaza & Wangdolcho Plaza at Uljin Hupohang Port, Uljin-gun, Gyeongsangbuk-do
- Description: The festival is a celebration of Uljin's local specialties, the snow crab and red snow crab. Sales and sampling of snow crabs are available, along with various hands-on programs such as snow crab dance recreation, yachting experience, street performances, snow crab auctions and more.
- Period: March 23-26, 2017
- Venue: Area of Gangguhang Port (centered around Haeparang Park), Yeongdeok-gun, Gyeongsangbuk-do
- Description: Yeongdeok has long been known for its abundance of snow crabs. During the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392), the region presented snow crabs to the king as a tribute. The festival is held at Gangguhang Port and event programs include snow crab fishing, product auctions, a night show, and more.
- Period: May 21, 2017 (Planned)
- Venue: Area of Seongbuk-ro, Seongbuk-gu, Seoul
- Description: The Seongbuk Global Food Festival Nurimasil is a special international festival themed on delicious foods from around the world, and coming together as one. The festival is hosted by the various embassies to Korea and local chefs, artists and performers come together with the citizens for a fun event open to all. During the festival period, visitors can enjoy representative foods from around the world, as well as music, mimes, and various other street performances.
Festivals filled with culture and arts
Koreans treasure their long history and rich cultural heritage. The season of spring brings an array of festivals to celebrate Korean culture and ensure it is passed down to future generations. The festivals cover diverse genres, and visitors to these attractions can make use of the opportunities to both watch and participate in the living culture on display at these festivals.
Modern recreation of traditional Jeju culture, Jeju Fire Festival
- Period: March 2-5, 2017
- Venue: Area of Saebyeol Oreum in Bongseong-ri, Aewol-eup, Jeju-si, Jeju-do
- Description: The Jeju Fire Festival is traditional field-burning ceremony to pray for health and a good harvest in the coming year. The festival offers programs of various genres for all visitors to participate in and learn about Jeju’s traditional culture.
- Related column: Jeongwol Daeboreum Celebrations and the Best Places to View the Full Moon
- Period: April 6-9, 2017
- Venue: Areas of Sangdaepo Historical Park, Yeongam Pottery Museum & Historical Site of Dr. Wangin in Yeongam-gun, Jeollanam-do
- Description: This festival celebrates the achievements of Korea's Dr. Wangin, who traveled to Japan over 1,600 years ago to spread knowledge, culture and art. The festival takes place in April when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom, highlighted by various performances and cultural events in related themes.
- Period: April 6-9, 2017
- Venue: Areas of Daegaya History Themed Park & Daegaya Museum in Goryeong-gun, Gyeongsangbuk-do
- Description: Goryeong Daegaya Experience Festival gives visitors an opportunity to learn about the history and culture of the ancient kingdom of Daegaya (42-562). The festival offers a wide range of activities, including arts and crafts programs like pottery making. Visitors can also experience the lifestyle of the era through a replica village from the Daegaya Kingdom.
- Period: April 28-30, 2017
- Venue: Areas of Jogyesa Temple in Jonggak, Cheonggyecheon Stream, Dongguk University Stadium, and Gwanghwamun Square (lighting ceremony only) in Seoul
- Description: Yeon Deung Hoe (Lotus Lantern Festival) is held annually on Buddha's Birthday (8th day of the 4th month of the lunar calendar). Major events are held at Buddhist temples in several districts across Seoul. Major events include an exhibition of traditional lanterns and a lantern parade for a festival that will last in one’s memories for a long time to come.
- Related column: Enjoy 2016 Lotus Lantern Festival!
- Period: April 29 - May 7, 2017
- Venue: Area of Mungyeongsaejae Open Set in Mungyeong-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do
- Description: The festival aims to improve the regional culture and make Mungyeong ceramics into a national brand. Beautifully nestled at the foot of the Baekdudaegan mountain range, Mungyeong abounds with the sandy soil and firewood needed to produce fine and relatively affordable ceramic goods. Festival programs include pottery making experiences led by local artisans.
- Related column: Harmony of Chasabal & Scent of Tea – Mungyeong Traditional Chasabal Festival
- Period: May 3–7, 2017
- Venue: Area of Yangnyeong-si, Jung-gu, Daegu
- Description: Daegu Yangnyeongsi Herbal Medicine Market has a long history of culture and tradition. The festival is a representative herbal medicine festival throughout Asia, featuring the use of traditional and medicinal herbs to cure illnesses. Visitors to the festival can enjoy both a historical attraction and a remarkable opportunity to experience the traditional medicine culture.
- Related column: Heal your Body and Mind at the Daegu Yangnyeongsi Herbal Medicine Festival
- Period: May 3–7, 2017
- Venue: Areas of Korean Tea Culture Park & Boseng green tea fields in Boseong-gun, Jeollanam-do
- Description: Boseong is the largest producer of green tea in the country, and the tea fields create beautiful landscapes that often appear in Korean dramas. At Boseong Green Tea Festival, some of the most popular festival events are the hands-on experience programs like picking tea leaves, making tea, and sampling green tea snacks. Other events include learning traditional tea ceremony culture and an exhibition of submitted photographs.
- Related column: Korean Tea Culture Tour – A trip to Hadong and Boseong
- Period: May 21-28, 2017
- Venue: Area of Riverside Park in Chuncheon-si, Gangwon-do
- Description: As one of the leading performing arts festivals in Korea, the Chuncheon Mime Festival has steadily gained international recognition. The festival showcases various genres of performances by mime groups and artists from Korea and overseas, including mime, music, dance, installation art, and short films.
After months of cold weather, your body can begin to feel stiff. Help break the ice and get your body moving through these active festivals and fantastic events.
- Period: March 19, 2017
- Venue: Gwanghwamun Square to Seoul Sports Complex
- Description: The Seoul International Marathon attracts participants from all over the world each year. The 42.2 kilometer course crosses the heart of the city, from Gwanghwamun Square, along Cheonggyecheon Stream, to the Olympic Stadium at Seoul Sports Complex. The marathon also includes Seoul Challenge 10k, a separate 10 kilometer marathon starting from Olympic Park and running all the way to Seoul Sports Complex.
- Period: April 26-29, 2017
- Venue: Area of Modo Island, Hoedong-ri, Uisin-myeon, Jindo-gun, Jeollanam-do
- Description: Due to a unique build-up of pebbles and silt, during the lowest point of the ebb tide, a 3 kilometer-long pathway appears in the seabed between Modo Island and Jindo Island at Hoedong-ri. This sea parting phenomenon is well known both domestically and internationally, drawing in swarms of visitors to see this miraculous sight. This miracle path can only be seen for one hour a day. While waiting for the tide to ebb, visitors can take part in a diversity of cultural and hands-on programs.
- Related column: Witness the miraculous parting of the sea, Jindo Miracle Sea Festival
- Period: May 2-7, 2017
- Venue: Areas of Jeonnam Provincial College & Juknokwon (Bamboo Garden) in Damyang-gun, Jeollanam-do
- Description: Located within a vast bamboo forest, this festival is full of activities celebrating the beauty and function of the bamboo plant. Diverse event programs and hands-on activities are part of the festival. After working up an appetite, visitors can enjoy some famous local cuisine. Enjoy the fresh air and atmosphere by taking a walk in the bamboo forest.
* Festival dates and schedules are subject to change.
*This column was last updated in February 2017, and therefore information may differ from what is presented here. We advise you to check details before visiting.