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Jinhae Gunhangje Festival, the cherry blossom capital of Korea

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.

The festival was first held on April 13, 1952 as a small ceremony commemorating Admiral Yi Sun-shin, a Korean naval hero who played an important role in defeating the Japanese army during the Imjin War (1592-1598). Today, it has become one of the largest festivals in the country, with approximately 2 million annual visitors.

The endless canopy of cherry blossoms over the Yeojwacheon Stream and the cherry blossoms lining Gyeonghwa Station earned spots on CNNGo’s list of “50 beautiful places to visit in Korea.” These two sites are the most popular cherry blossom attractions in Jinhae, but the entire city is covered with cherry blossoms, offering great photo opportunities on every street. If you plan to travel to Korea in the spring, make sure to visit Jinhae to enjoy the wonderful cherry blossoms.

Recommended Course
Jangboksan Sculpture Park → Yeojwacheon Stream Cherry Blossom Road → Jinhae NFRDI Environment Eco-Park → Republic of Korea Naval Academy → Jehwangsan Park → Anmin Hill → Gyeonghwa Station

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.
Jangboksan Sculpture Park (장복산조각공원)

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.
Jinhae NFRDI Environment Eco-Park (진해내수면 환경생태공원)

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.
Yeojwacheon Stream (여좌천)

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.
☞ Korea Naval Academy
* Hours: Weekdays 08:30 - 16:30 / Holidays 08:30 - 17:00) (Open only during the Gunhangje festival period.)
Korea Naval Academy Museum

Jehwangsan Park

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.
Jehwangsan Park (제황산공원)
☞ Jinhae Jehwangsan Monorail: (Korean)
*Online reservations are not available for the monorail car. Credit cards and cash are accepted.

Anmin Hill

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.
Anmin Hill (안민고개)

Gyeonghwa Station

As trains pass Gyeonghwa Station, the cherry blossom trees are swept by the wind, showering the ground with leaves. In between trains, visitors can walk on the tracks and stand beneath the falling petals. This 800 meter-long stretch of railway at Gyeonghwa Station is considered one of the best cherry blossom attractions of Jinhae. The area is often featured in Korean movies and TV shows. During the festival period, couples can be seen taking their wedding pictures here. To avoid crowds, try to visit the station in the morning.
Gyeonghwa Station (경화역)

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
☞ Venue: Special Stage at the Jungwon Rotary d

2) Fireworks Show

A fantastic fireworks display takes place over the beautiful sea of Jinhae.

☞ Date and Time: April 2, 2013 20:00
☞ Venue: Jinhaeru Seaside

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
☞ Venue: Bukwon Rotary → Jungwon Rotary

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
☞ Venue: 1km from entrance of Yeojwacheon Stream

※ Schedule is subject to change.

More Info
Jinhae Gunghangje Festival 2014
☞ Date: April 1 (Tue) – 10 (Thurs), 2014
☞ Venue: Jungwon Rotary and downtown area in Jinhae-gu, Changwon-si, Gyeongsangnam-do
Accommodations in Jinhae
☞ 1330 Korea Travel Hotline: +82-2-1330 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
Gunhangje Website (Korean)
Changwon Culture & Tourism Website(Korean)
Changwon City Hall Website (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese)
☞ Nearby Attractions:
Energy Environment Science Park
Suchi Beach
Changwon Marine Park

Last updated, March 7, 2014

Date 03/30/2014

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