|2015 Korean Cultural Festivals at a Glance!|
Through on-site evaluations and screenings by experts, the Ministry of Culture, Sports & Tourism selected 44 cultural tourism festivals to be divided among four categories: 2 Premier Festivals,
9 Top Festivals, 10 Outstanding Festivals, and 23 Up-and-Coming Festivals.
List of the 2015 Cultural Tourism Festivals
Korea's Premier Festivals in 2015
Photo credit: Gimje City Hall
Selected as one of the two 2015 Premier Festivals of Korea, Gimje Horizon Festival offers visitors a chance to experience Korea's agriculture as well as various traditional cultural performances.
The festival highlights the beautiful natural environment of Gimje and the rice produced in the region. The expansive fields of Gimje are fertile and offer suitable conditions for growing rice. Gimje is also the largest granary in Korea.
During the festival period, visitors can experience catching grasshoppers, harvesting rice, and making scarecrows.
Photo credit: The Nara Foundation
Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival is a unique wintertime celebration that draws over 1,000,000 visitors every year. To promote it as the nation's largest and most popular winter festival,
the organizers plan a variety of programs and fun activities. The most popular programs are ice fishing, ice soccer, and ice sledding.
Photo credit: Jeju Special Self-Governing Province
On the first full moon of the lunar calendar year, one of the many hills on Jeju Island is set ablaze to wish for a plentiful harvest. The festival originated from Jeju's traditional farming custom of
burning rice fields and vegetable gardens in early spring to exterminate pests and ease cultivation.
Photo credit: Jindo-gun Festival Promotion Committee
Jindo's sea-parting is a unique natural phenomenon that occurs every year. Korea's famous sea parting reveals a 2.8-kilometer-long and 40-meter-wide path between the mainland and a nearby island. Jindo Miracle Sea Festival
is held when the tide differences are at their peak, rendering a natural stage for the festival's great selection of events. The festival is gaining recognition from overseas travelers as many visitors flock to the quiet town of
Jindo-gun every year during the festival period.
Photo credit: Daegaya Experience Festival Promotion Committee
Goryeong Daegaya Experience Festival introduces and promotes Daegaya, an ancient kingdom known for its quality steel production around 1,500 years ago. The festival presents a range of hands-on programs focusing on the region's
rich history and rural background. An exhibition of relics from the Daegaya era show the life and wisdom of the Daegaya people.
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. This festival is set in the beautiful landscape of Wolchulsan National Park and Dr.
Wangin's achievements are celebrated with various performances and cultural events. The festival takes place in April when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom.
Photo credit: Yangnyeongsi Protection Committee
Daegu Yangnyeongsi is known for its rich history and traditional eastern medicine culture. Designated as an official Culture & Tourism Festival in 2001, the festival has since become a signature celebration that promotes
traditional Korean medicine worldwide. Throughout the festival, visitors can learn the history of traditional Korean medicine and experience traditional medical treatments.
Photo credit: Mungyeong Traditional Chasabal Festival Organizing Committee
Mungyeong has long had a flourishing ceramics industry owing to an abundant supply of sandy soil and firewood. Mungyeong Traditional Chasabal Festival offers visitors an opportunity to gain a
deeper appreciation for the unassuming beauty of chasabal (traditional tea bowls). Tea and pottery-related hands-on programs are facilitated by local potters from the Mungyeong region.
Photo credit: Damyang Bamboo Festival Organizing Committee
Damyang in Jeolla region is known throughout Korea for its bamboo. Damyang Bamboo Festival hosts a variety of hands-on activities such as bamboo drawing, traditional fishing with a bamboo basket,
bamboo craft making, and many more. Visitors can also sample alcoholic beverages brewed in bamboo stalks and try dishes made with bamboo shoots.
Photo credit: Sancheong Medicinal Herb Festival Committee
Sancheong Medicinal Herb Festival is the perfect destination for urbanites looking for a healthier way of life. Visitors can learn about herbs that can be raised at home for cooking and medicinal purposes.
Photo credit: Yescom Entertainment / Incheon Development & Tourism Corporation
Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival presents a music journey filled with fun activities including swimming and camping. This music festival features over 100 participants and rock bands from all over
the world, as well as talented local musicians through various programs. Now marking its 10th anniversary, it has developed into an international event supported ardently by rock fans worldwide. This three-day event is a
highly anticipated summer festival due to extensive musical options to choose from; therefore, visitors should
check details on the date and performing venue in advance.
Photo credit: Boseon Green Tea Festival Promotion Committee
Boseong Green Tea Festival, the largest green tea festival in Korea, takes place in the Boseong Green Tea Plantations, a well-known filming location and tourist site. Visitors to the festival will get a
chance to pick tea leaves, make and sample green tea, make green tea snacks, learn traditional tea drinking etiquette, and take part in a tea photo contest.
Photo credit: Chuncheon International Mime Festival
Chuncheon International Mime Festival is a leading performing arts festival in Korea and its fame has now spread across the globe. Each year, renowned artists from home and abroad give outstanding live performances.
On the weekends of the festival period, performances are held practically nonstop!
Photo credit: Seongbuk Cultural Foundation
Held along Seongbukdong-gil Road, Seongbuk Culture Diversity Festival is held to commemorate the World Day for Cultural Diversity, and to enhance the opportunities for interaction through various foods between foreign
community members in Seongbuk-dong. In addition, this festival tries to contribute to understanding and respecting the cultural diversity between ethnic groups, nations, and peoples.
Photo credit: Seocheon County Office
Hansan Ramie Fabric Cultural Festival is held in Seocheon-gun, Chungcheongnam-do, a region famous for producing ramie, a flax-like plant whose fibers are used to weave cloth.
Visitors can attend a fashion show featuring ramie fiber clothes, try on ramie clothing, or watch the creation of ramie fabric.
Photo credit: Buyeo County Office
Buyeo Seodong Lotus Festival is held around Gungnamji Pond, an artificial pond constructed during the reign of King Muwang of the Baekje Kingdom (18 B.C. – 660 A.D.). A performance based on the love between Prince Seodong
(King Muwang's name in his youth) and Princess Seonhwa is the highlight of the festival. Events during the festival include face painting, lotus leaf tea sampling, lotus flower soap making, lotus flower photo and painting exhibitions,
and a variety of performances.
Photo credit: Mokpo City Hall
Mokpo Port Festival is held in Mokpo, which is home to Yudalsan Mountain as well as Samhakdo Island that overlooks the west coast section of Dadohaehaesang National Park. Every year, the festival features a magnificent
on-the-sea fireworks show, leisure sports activity and more to experience Mokpo's sea both day and night, offering unforgettable memories.
Photo credit: Pohang City Hall
Participants from many different countries visit Pohang to compete in the fireworks contest during Pohang International Fireworks Festival. The fireworks create a brilliant spectacle against the summer sky at night.
The festival also features a fireworks parade, a fireworks fashion show, musical light shows, live concerts on the beach, and a fireworks art exhibition.
Photo credit: Jangheung-gun County Office
Jangheung County in Jeollanam-do is known for its water resources as it is located near Boseongman Bay and the lake created by the Tamjingang River and Jangheung Dam. Held at the end of July every year,
Jeongnamjin Water Festival is a departure from other festivals, which mainly feature exhibitions and performances, as it highlights summer and water through a variety of games and hands-on programs. A huge artificial pool is installed on
the Tamjingang River for various water activities. Visitors can also enjoy rafting, water bicycles, riding a rope ferry across the river, and a variety of foods of the Namdo region as well as special products are available at the festival's
local food market.
Photo credit: Geumsan-gun Office
Known for beautiful mountains and crystal-clear waters, the area of Geumsan, Chungcheongnam-do, is the venue for Geumgang Yeoul Festival held around July each year. With 'water' as the main theme,
this is the perfect summer festival in an enjoyable vacation spot offering various water games, crop-harvesting, nature ecological experiences, and more.
Photo credit: Bonghwa-gun County Office
Bonghwa Eun-eo (Sweet Fish) Festival takes place in Bonghwa, a well-preserved natural habitat surrounded by mountains, trees, clean water, and fresh air. Eun-eo, or sweet fish, only live near the source of clean and clear streams.
Visitors can cool down while catching fish in Naeseongcheon Stream with their bare hands. In addition, visitors can engage in night fishing or enjoy some eun-eo barbeque.
Photo credit: Gangjin-gun Local Traditional Festival Promotion Committee
The Gangjin area in Jeollanam-do has long been known for its blue celadon production, which was made possible by advanced sea transportation as well as the right ingredients and conditions for celadon production
such as local clay, fuel, water, and a favorable climate. Gangjin Celadon Festival has gained acclaim among visitors for showcasing the excellence and uniqueness of Goryeo celadon.
Photo credit: Great Battle of Hansan Memorial Association
Held in Tongyeong, The Great Battle of Hansan Festival commemorates the patriotic spirit of Admiral Yi Sun-shin, a Korean navy commander noted for leading victories against the invading
Japanese Army during the Imjin War (1592-1598). The festival presents a variety of hands-on programs such as marine sports, geobukseon (turtle ship) making, bow making, and many more.
Photo credit: Chungju City Hall
With the theme of "where the world's martial arts and culture meet," Chungju World Martial Arts Festival began in 1998 to globalize Taekkyon, a traditional martial art of Korea. Visitors can
watch performances of traditional Korean martial arts as well as martial arts of other countries. Traditional martial arts groups demonstrate Taekkyon, Taekwondo, and Hapkido, and offer hands-on
programs for tourists to
learn martial arts. Visitors can watch demonstrations by martial arts groups from Japan, China, New Zealand and France.
Located in the area of Doduhang Port, Jeju Dodu Oraemul Festival is the sole festival in the area, the theme of which is one of Jeju's regional resources, "yongcheonsu" (spring water), called
"oraemul" in the Jeju dialect.
The festival provides unique hands-on programs available only in Dodu-dong, as well as delicious food to enjoy and other entertaining activities for tourists and residents.
Photo credit: Muju County Office
Muju Firefly Festival is an environment-themed event that celebrates fireflies. Visitors to the festival will have a chance to participate in the night time exploration program to visit and observe the natural habitat
of fireflies. A range of folk culture hands-on activities also takes place during the festival period.
Photo credit: Geosan-gun County Office
Goesan in Chungcheongbuk-do is famous for red pepper cultivation. Goesan Red Pepper Festival features various red pepper related events such as an exhibition of red peppers from around the world,
red pepper cutting and eating contests, traditional dish sampling, and a cooking competition. A range of celebratory performances and folk games are also scheduled for the festival.
Photo credit: Lee Hyo-seok Literature Enhancement Association
Hyoseok Cultural Festival takes place in Pyeongchang, the setting for Lee Hyo-seok's famous novel, "When Buckwheat Flowers Come into Full Bloom." The festival highlights different locations depicted in the novel as well
as the area's folklore. The festival is held at the most splendid time of the year when the buckwheat flowers blanket the entire Bongpyeong area. Don't miss the wide range of foods made from buckwheat,
exciting programs, and the vast plain of buckwheat flowers.
Hongseong Historical Person Festival is held every September, with the aim of becoming an educational festival. Hongseong is the hometown of many historical persons in the areas of literature, martial arts, and art.
The festival offers historical person-related programs that include themed performances, histories of the persons, and their life stories, giving a unique experience. Excellent local food from Hongseong can also be eaten at
the festival site.
Photo credit: Wanju-si Office
Wanju Wild Food Festival is held to spread knowledge of Wanju, a city where one can experience cheonryeop (river-fishing), Korean wilderness, and nostalgia. The festival also provides nature-friendly
food experiences using local agricultural products, along with varied wild plants and animals from Wanju. This festival aims to give visitors a feeling of nostalgia for food from the past through diverse hands-on food programs,
surrounded by nature.
Photo credit: 7080 Chungjang Recollection Festival Promotion Committee
During the 1970s and '80s, young people in the city of Gwangju reveled in their youth and created their own culture on Chungjang-ro Street. 7080 Chungjang Recollection Festival is a cultural celebration that
epitomizes the spirit of the youth and the good old days of the '70s and '80s when everything prospered. A wide range of events take place during the festival period including a street parade by the locals, an exhibition
reenacting the life of the 1970s and '80s, traditional games, local dish sampling, a folk song festival, intangible cultural asset performances, and street performances.
Daejeon Family Culture festival takes place in the area around Ppuri Park in Jung-gu, Daejeon, where filial piety has been highly respected. The festival features hands-on experience programs and events
reflecting traditional family culture and filial piety.
Photo credit: Ganggyeong Fermented Seafood Festival Promotion Committee
The city of Ganggyeong produces half of all fermented seafood produced in the country. It is here that Ganggyeong Fermented Seafood Festival is held to offer visitors fresh and tasty fermented seafood at a relatively low price
compared to most other parts of the country. In addition, cooking programs with fermented seafood, crafting wish lanterns, and more hands-on activities are enough to draw visitors all year around.
Photo credit: Masan Gagopa Chrysanthemum Festival Committee
Masan was the first district in Korea to cultivate chrysanthemums locally and also the first to export them to Japan. Gagopa Chrysanthemum Festival is held annually presenting spectacles such as a grand flower
gate at the festival entrance, a flower hill made of thousands of chrysanthemums, a flower tower decorated with the festival's mascots and more.
Photo credit: Icheon Rice Cultural Festival Promotion Committee
Since ancient times, Icheon's expansive open fields have offered the perfect conditions for growing rice, continuing to be one of the major rice producers in Korea. Therefore, the Icheon Rice Cultural Festival,
combining two of Icheon's symbols, rice and agriculture, is held in late October to celebrate the year of good harvest.
The annual Jarasum International Jazz Festival is held in early fall on Jaraseom Island in Gapyeong. As an island formed in the Bukhangang River, Jaraseom Island offers various attractions such as riverside promenades,
sports facilities, and natural recreational forests. The jazz festival attracts over 100,000 visitors from home and abroad every year. Visitors to the festival can enjoy smooth jazz tunes and also get a chance to meet
some of the world's leading jazz musicians.
Photo credit: Culture & Public Information Division of Dongnae-gu, Busan
Dongnaeeupseong History Festival is an experiential festival that offers a historical insight into life during the Japanese Invasion of Korea (1592-1598). The festival is based on historical facts relating to the town's
efforts to defend Dongnae Fortress in resistance against the Japanese forces. The festival features a variety of hands-on experience programs including juldarigi (tug-of-war), in which thousands of people can take part at once,
a reenactment of the ancient marketplace, traditional folk performances, a
jultagi (tightrope walking) performance, and many more.
Photo credit: Seosan Haemieupseong Fortress Festival Organizing Committee
Haemieupseong Fortress Festival takes place in the city of Seosan, the central city of history and culture in Korea's west coast.
Haemieupseong Fortress is a great place to learn about Korea's historical past because of the many cultural heritage items that can be found at the site. The festival provides a wide array of cultural events and history-related
Photo credit: Hanseong Baekje Cultural Festival
The Songpa area in Seoul was the ancient capital of the Baekje Kingdom for 500 years during the Hanseong Baekje Era (18 BC to 475 AD) around 2,000 years ago. Songpa is also home to a number of
time-honored historic and cultural heritage sites, including Pungnaptoseong Fortress and Mongchontoseong Fortress. The festival offers visitors a glimpse into the ancient history and culture of the Hanseong Baekje Period
that brilliantly flourished based on a strong national power.
Photo credit: Gwangsan-gu Office
Gwangsan Woori Mil Festival is held around Songsan Resort in Gwangsan-gu, the nation's largest wheat (mil; 밀) producing area. Since beginning to be held, the festival created opportunities to consider
the value of wheat and the importance of the ingredients in our foodstuffs, and is expected to have economic effects as a productive festival. Through this festival, producers and consumers can build up trust and reliability
through healthy food products for living, giving this festival a more enriching meaning.
Photo credit: Goseong Pollack and Sea Festival Committee
To ensure a good haul and community prosperity, this festival is held at Geojinhang Port, known as the primary place of Pollack fish in Korea. The festival includes numerous hands-on events such as a sea festival,
a cultural festival, and a local culture experience. The festival has helped the city to promote their local seafood, farm products and other specialties, thus contributing to the growth of the local economy.
Photo credit: Daegu BBS (Buddhist Broadcasting System)
Silla Sori Festival mainly focuses on King Seongdeok's Divine Bell (Emille Bell), established during the Unified Silla period, and takes place in Gyeongju, embracing its thousand-year-old heritage. The festival venue is a
grass field around Cheomseongdae Observatory, where the varied programs such as the tolling of the model Emille Bell, weighting about 6 tons, and Silla Culture experience, reappearance of Silla Gandeunghoe (lamp ceremony)
and others are prepared.
Photo credit: Sunchang Fermented Soybean Festival Promotion Committee
Sunchang, a village famous for its citizens' longevity and for the production of red-pepper paste, holds Sunchang Fermented Soybean Festival every year. The fermented Sunchang red-pepper paste has recently been recognized for
its excellent health benefits. Traditional outdoor performances, percussion performances, and Sunchang red-pepper paste making will take place, as well as a local specialty fair and a Sunchang red-pepper cooking competition.
Photo credit: Yeoju Ogok Naru Festival Promotion Committee
Yeoju Ogok Naru Festival is a combination of two festivals: Yeoju Farm Festival and Sweet Potato Festival, based on Yeoju's representative products, rice and sweet potato, respectively.
Visitors to the festival can find Yeoju's quality agricultural and local specialty products and enjoy participating in a wide range of fun, informative programs.