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2014 Autumn Festivals: September - November

As September rolls around, temperatures start to drop and a collective sigh can be heard across the nation as people everywhere finally feel relief from the summer's suffocating heat. Autumn in Korea, with its mild temperatures and gentle breeze, is a perfect time to travel. Festivals are among the most unique events in Korea, and from September to November they seem to pop up almost everywhere. Crops ripen and are harvested during this time, giving festival-goers a chance to sample fresh, delicious treats and local delicacies.

Festivals in Korea combine some of the most fascinating elements of Korean history, culture, arts, and food, making each festival a unique reflection of its local flavor. In Korea, there seems to be a festival for just about everything! No matter if you're in Korea for a couple of days or for a few months, you owe it to yourself to visit a least one of these recommended festivals this fall.


 Chungju World Martial Arts Festival

Date: August 28 – September 1, 2014
Location: World Martial Arts Park in Chungju-si, Chungcheongbuk-do

The Chungju World Martial Arts Festival is a large-scale martial arts demonstration, showcasing the amazing skills of martial arts masters from around the world. Prepare to be awed by a breathtaking flurry of kicks, punches, and jumps! You'll also get a chance to try out many of the martial arts presented.

 Pyeongchang Hyoseok Cultural Festival

Date: September 5 – September 14, 2014
Location: Lee Hyoseok Cultural Village in Bongpyeong-myeon, Pyeongchang-gun, Gangwon-do

The Pyeongchang Hyoseok Cultural Festival is held in Bongpyeong-myeon Village in Pyeongchang-gun, Gangwon-do to commemorate Lee Hyo-seok, a modern Korean novelist most famous for his short story "When Buckwheat Flowers Blossom." The area where the festival is held is the novelist's birthplace as well as the setting of the famous story. In addition to a writing contest, an exhibition of illustrated poems, and the ‘Night of Literature’ event, there is an array of programs offered such as strolling through a buckwheat field and making traditional buckwheat foods.

 Seoul Drum Festival

Date: September 12 – September 13, 2014
Location: Seoul Plaza in Jung-gu, Seoul

Sure to set your toes a' tapping, the Seoul Drum Festival brings together percussion groups and solo performers from around the globe to show off their lightning-fast drumming and innovative beats. Spectacular performances of both traditional and modern music and a world exhibition of 1,000 percussion instruments make this festival a feast for both the eyes and ears.

 Geumsan Insam Festival

Date: September 19 – September 28, 2014
Location: Ginseng Expo Plaza and Ginseng and Herb Street in Geumsan-gun, Chungcheongnam-do

Geumsan is one of the most famous places in Korea for ginseng (insam). The festival has it all: a ginseng foot spa, hands-on ginseng harvesting, and a ginseng market where ginseng products can be purchased at special discounted prices. If you are interested in health foods or want a closer look at Korea's well-being culture, this is the festival for you.

 Wonju Hanji Festival

Date: September 25 – September 28, 2014
Location: Hanji Theme Park in Wonju-si, Gangwon-do

Many visitors may already know that "hanji" is a type of traditional Korean paper, but did you also know that it can be used to make dolls, crafts, lanterns, and even clothes? Simple as it may seem, you'll be absolutely blown away by all that can be done with this amazing material. Visitors will even get a chance to make their own hanji artwork!

 Andong Maskdance Festival

Date: September 26 – October 5, 2014
Location: Downtown Andong, Talchum Park, Hahoe Village and surrounding areas in Andong-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do

Designated by Korea's Cultural Heritage Administration as Important Intangible Cultural Properties, Korean traditional mask dance performances are a must-see for those hoping to understand more about Korean culture. Artists from home and abroad will not only treat you to a series of captivating performances, but will also encourage you to join in the free-spirited fun!

 Namdo Food Festival

Date: September 26 – September 28, 2014
Location: Juknokwon in Damyang-eup, Damyang-gun, Jeollanam-do

Jeollanam-do is comprised of 22 cities and is most well-known for its food. Come try out some of the regional specialties, like grilled goat meat and Mokpo Nakji (octopus) and see what all the fuss is about.


 Jinju Namgang Yudeung (Lantern) Festival

Date: October 1 – October 12, 2014
Location: Namgang River in Jinju-si, Gyeongsangnam-do

The Jinju Namgang Yudeung (Lantern) Festival is one of the best festivals in Korea as recognized by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. Visitors can make their own wish lanterns and send it downstream or even submit an entry into the most innovative lantern contest. Traditional lanterns from all over the world will be on display as well, but the festival's main draw is the simple beauty of thousands of lanterns lighting up the night.

 Gimje Horizon Festival

Date: October 1 – October 5, 2014
Location: Byeokgolje in Gimje-si, Jeollabuk-do

The Gimje fields in Jeollabuk-do represent the granary of Korea where expansive fields stretch endlessly across the horizon. The festival aims to promote Gimje as home to the largest fields in Korea where a large volume of rice is produced. Major events include harvesting rice, a festival mascot show, catching grasshoppers, making crafts with rice straws, and flying kites along the horizon.

 Yangyang Songi Festival (Pine Mushroom Festival)

Date: October 1 – October 5, 2014
Location: Namdaecheon Stream and Songi Field in Yangyang-gun, Gangwon-do

The Yangyang Songi Festival (Pine Mushroom Festival) is a prime opportunity to wander the Yangyang region of Gangwon-do, gathering fresh pine mushrooms growing in the wild. Whether you're interested in learning more about the natural mountain habitat of the mushrooms (under strict control throughout the year) or simply want to sample some delectable pine mushroom cuisine, this fun, quirky, country festival is not to be missed.

 Anseong Namsadang Baudeogi Festival

Date: October 1 – October 5, 2014
Location: Anseong Matchum Land in Anseong-si, Gyeonggi-do

This festival celebrates the proud and fascinating history of Korea's oldest performance troupe, Namsadang. Once considered lower than the lowest servant, the Namsadang troupe rose to greatness in the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) and still remains a symbol of Korean pop culture and the city of Anseong (the troupe's birthplace). The group's traditional performance called Namsadang Nori, was inscribed on UNESCO's Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2009.

 Daegu Yangnyeongsi Herb Medicine Culture Festival

Date: October 1 – October 5, 2014
Location: Yangnyeongsi in Namseong-ro, Jung-gu, Daegu

The alleys of Daegu Yangnyeongsi (herb medicine market) are especially bustling with visitors during this herb medicine culture festival. Hands-on programs offered include slicing medicinal herbs, packaging medicinal herbs and a hanbang foot bath experience, among others. Visitors can also purchase rare medicinal herbs at affordable prices and sample snacks and drinks made with medicinal herbs.

 Busan International Film Festival, BIFF

Date: October 2 – October 11, 2014
Location: Theater District in Nampo-dong, Suyeong Bay Yachting Center, Haeundae Beach, and other locations in Busan

The largest film festival in Asia, the Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) is THE must-see event for movie buffs. Approximately 36 screens at six major theaters will have over 800 screenings of 300 domestic and international films. Only the newest films and videos will make the lineup of this prestigious event.

 Jarasum International Jazz Festival

Date: October 3 – October 5, 2014
Location: Jarasum Island in Gapyeong-gun, Gyeonggi-do

Local and international jazz musicians congregate on the island to fill the lakeside air with the sweet sounds of jazz throughout the day and night.

 Yeongju Punggi Insam Festival

Date: October 3 – October 9, 2014
Location: Namwoncheon Stream area in Punggi-eup, Yeongju-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do

Of all the ginseng in Korea, Yeongju ginseng is particularly famous for its high level of saponins and its seemingly miraculous effects. Whether you need a fresh and healthy pick-me-up or just want a chance to harvest ginseng and sample some delectable ginseng dishes, the Yeongju Punggi Insam Festival is well worth the trip out to the countryside.

 Mungyeong Traditional Chasabal Festival

Date: October 3 – October 9, 2014
Location: Mungyeongsaejae Provincial Park in Gyeongsangbuk-do

At the festival, visitors will be met with rows upon rows of chasabal (tea bowls) produced by the nation's leading ceramic masters, as well as prize-winning tea bowls from local ceramic contests. In addition to the surprising diversity of forms and functions of the chasabals on display and at the market, visitors will be able to make their own ceramics pieces, participate in tea programs, and take part in a range of other experience programs.

 Gwangju World Kimchi Culture Festival

Date: October 4 – October 8, 2014
Location: Jungoe Park in Buk-gu, Gwangju

In Korea, no table is complete without a side of kimchi. Come and see why this unusual dish is so essential to the Korean people. During the festival, not only will you get a chance to make your own kimchi, but you will also see 100 or more kinds of Korean kimchi, as well as kimchi-like dishes from countries around the world.

 Jeonju International Sori Festival

Date: October 8 – October 12, 2014
Location: Sori Arts Center and Jeonju Hanok Village in Jeonju-si, Jeollabuk-do

Pansori is a genre of traditional Korean folk music traditionally performed with one singer and one drummer. Pansori was designated a National Intangible Cultural Property in 1964 and inscribed on UNESCO's Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2008. If you have yet to hear the haunting melodies of Pansori, Jeonju is the place to be. Whether it's a song of joy or sorrow, Pansori singers weave a story that is so full of raw emotion that it transcends the language barrier and stays with you forever.

 Suwon Hwaseong Cultural Festival

Date: October 8 – October 12, 2014
Location: Hwaseong Haenggung Palace Plaza & Hwaseong Fortress in Suwon-si, Gyeonggi-do

Hwaseong is an impressive fortress that encompasses most of downtown Suwon, winding around the city and over the foothills of the nearby mountains. In celebration of the fortress' incomparable beauty and important history, performers at the Suwon Culture Festival present a series of historical reenactments and events that once again bring Hwaseong to life, wrapping visitors in the magic of this treasured UNESCO World Cultural Heritage. Main events include a reenactment of the Royal Parade of King Jeongjo the Great, a fireworks display, and the Citizen's Parade.

 Ganggyeong Fermented Seafood Festival

Date: October 15 – October 19, 2014
Location: Ganggyeong Jeotgal (Salted Seafood) Market, etc. in Nonsan-si, Chungcheongnam-do

As Korea's largest salted seafood market, Ganggyeong Jeotgal Market serves as the venue for the Ganggyeong Fermented Seafood Festival. This festival is an ideal place to taste the unique flavor of salted seafood dishes and experience the daily life of Korean fishing villages.

 Suncheon Bay Reeds Festival

Date: October 17 – 19, 2014
Location: Suncheon Bay in Dongcheon, Suncheon-si, Jeollanam-do

In autumn every year, Suncheon Bay, which is one of the top coastal wetlands in Korea, becomes the venue of the Suncheon Bay Reeds Festival. The festival offers various programs that incorporate culture, arts, rural life, ecological learning, and economics. During the festival period, visitors can take part in a number of hands-on programs such as the Suncheonman Healing Tour with eco-environment experts, making small items using reeds, and reed weaving.

 Jeonju Bibimbap Festival

Date: October 23 – October 26, 2014
Location: Jeonju Hanok Village in Jeonju-si, Jeollabuk-do

Bibimbap is one of Korea's most well-known foods and is a staple in restaurants and homes all across the nation. Discover more about this signature dish by learning to cook traditional bibimbap, checking out the ‘101 Kinds of Bibimbap’ exhibition, participating in cooking competitions, sampling local recipes, or joining in one of the other events at this culinary festival.

 Seoul International Fireworks Festival

Date: October 4, 2014
Location: Yeouido Hangang River Park in Yeouido-dong, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul

World-famous professional fireworks teams set the sky ablaze with spectacular fireworks, accompanied by lighting displays, laser shows, and a range of superb performances and events.

 Busan Jagalchi Festival

Date: October 9 – October 12, 2014 (planned)
Location: Jagalchi Market District in Nampo-dong, Jung-gu, Busan

The Jagalchi Market is probably the most well-known seafood market in all of Korea, chock-full of fresh seafood caught in the waters right off port. Always a major tourist destination, the marketplace becomes even more popular during this annual festival.

 Seoul Yangnyeongsi Herb Medicine Culture Festival

Date: October 10 – October 11, 2014
Location: Herbal Medicine Alley in Jegi-dong, Dongdaemun-gu, Seoul

This festival is located right in the heart of Seoul and easily accessible via subway. Red ginseng, ginseng, and a number of medicinal herbs can be purchased at affordable prices, making for the perfect souvenir for loved ones back home. During the festival, you'll also be able to sample a number of herbs, enjoy a taekwondo demonstration, and participate in a range of singing, writing, and other competitions.


 Seosan Chrysanthemum Festival

Date: November 1 – November 9, 2014
Location: Gagu-ri area in Seosan-si, Chungcheongnam-do

The Seosan Chrysanthemum Festival offers an opportunity to see chrysanthemums of rich fragrance and various colors. Chrysanthemums are one of the most popular autumn flowers in Korea. At the exhibition hall, visitors can see various chrysanthemum artworks, harvest edible chrysanthemums, and enjoy a street performance and traditional performances.

 Bangeo Festival

Date: November, 2014 (planned)
Location: Moseulpo Port in Seogwipo-si, Jeju

Held every November at Moseulpo Port, the southernmost region of Jeju-do, the Bangeo (yellowtail fish) Festival attracts a large number of tourists every year.  In addition to seeing Jeju's gorgeous seascape, you'll also have the opportunity to watch a ship parade, participate in a fishing contest, or even try to catch a fish with your bare hands.

Schedules are subject to change depending on local conditions.

<Last updated on July 31, 2014>

Date 08/12/2014

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