|Jinhae Gunhangje Festival, the cherry blossom capital of Korea|
Every year between late March and early April, visitors flock to Jinhae in Changwon, Gyeongsangnam-do to enjoy the spectacular cherry blossoms that blanket the whole town during the Jinhae Gunhangje Festival, Korea’s largest cherry blossom festival.
Famous Cherry Blossom Sites
Jangboksan Sculpture Park
When traveling from Masan to Jinhae, the Jangboksan Sculpture Park is the first cherry blossom site visitors will come across. The park has nearly 10,000 cherry trees that run along the hiking trails and amidst the pine trees. At the summit of the park, one can view downtown Jinhae and Jinhaeman Bay on the southern coast. Pack a lunch and you can picnic underneath the cherry blossoms in this beautiful park.
Jinhae NFRDI Environment Eco-Park
Located at the source of the Yeojwacheon Stream, the Jinhae Inland Water Environmental Eco Park houses many cherry blossoms near its pristine reservoir. The wetland is home to about 65 species of trees and a variety of wildlife, making it a good place for visitors to learn about nature in a relaxing environment.
Yeojwacheon Stream (★ Recommended by CNN Go)
The path spans about 1.5 kilometers from downtown Jinhae to the Jinhae Girls’ High School. Both sides of Yeojwacheon Stream are lined with cherry blossom trees that create a natural canopy over the stream. The walking paths above and next to the steam are some of the most beautiful places to view the cherry blossoms in Jinhae. Visitors can take romantic pictures against the backdrop of cherry flowers on beautiful arched bridges while enjoying delicious street food. In the evening, the area is decorated with ornamental lights, creating a romantic ambiance.
Korea Naval Academy
The Korea Naval Academy is normally only accessible to visitors through its tour program, but during the Gunhangje Festival, the academy is open to the public and welcomes visitors with beautiful cherry blossoms. Walk along the cherry blossom trees from the Admiral Yi Sun-shin statue at the Bukwon Rotary to arrive at the academy where there is a full-scale model of an ironclad turtle ship built by Admiral Yi Sun-shin and used during the Imjin War. The academy also has a museum dedicated to the Korean Navy and documents related to Admiral Yi. The Dokdoham Ship, a large amphibious assault ship of the Korean Navy, is open to tour. Make sure to check the academy’s opening hours before visiting.
The park is located in the center of Jinhae on Jehwangsan Mountain. Visitors must climb 365 steps to get a view of downtown Jinhae blanketed with cherry blossoms, but the beauty of the forsythia and cherry blossom on the hike up make it quite enjoyable. For those that don’t want to break a sweat, there is also a monorail car that goes up to the summit.
Anmin Hill Anmin Hill is the gateway to Jinhae from Changwon. The road up the hill features a 6 kilometer stretch of beautiful cherry blossoms on both sides. The best area for viewing cherry blossoms is the area between the entrance of Anmin Hill and the heliport at the top of the hill. Near the hill top are azalea fields in full bloom, combining with the cherry blossoms for a beautiful scene. The area is usually free of traffic, and it is an excellent place to take a walk in the shade of the cherry blossom trees. The top of Anmin Hill at night offers splendid views of Jinhae City and the street lights illuminating the cherry blossom trees.
The 2014 Jinhae Gunghangje Festival’s Special Events
1) Opening Celebration
The opening celebration features performances by the navy military band and popular K-pop stars.
☞ Date and Time: March 31, 2013 18:00–21:00
2) Fireworks Show
A fantastic fireworks display takes place over the beautiful sea of Jinhae.
☞ Date and Time: April 2, 2013 20:00
3) Street Parade
A reenactment of the parade held by General Yi Sun-shin and his troops after winning the Imjin war against Japan.
☞ Date and Time: April 4, 2013 15:00–17:00
4) The Yeojwacheon Stream Light Festival
About 1km of the Yeojwacheon Stream will be decorated with ornamental lights, laser beams, and mirrors, offering a fantastic evening viewing experience.
☞ Date and Time: April 1-10, 2013 18:00-23:00
※ Schedule is subject to change.
Last updated, March 7, 2014