Springtime’s ‘snowflakes’ blanketing the peninsulaBeauty moves the heart. And there are few sights so beautifully moving as the cherry blossoms of spring.
Soon the peninsula, from Jeju Island to the palaces of Seoul, will be covered with what Koreans affectionately call “spring snowflakes.”
In the south of the peninsula, the warm weather will have the cherry blossoms reaching their peak this weekend. Those in the north should be following this weekend and next.
Like winter’s flakes, the snowflakes of spring have an ephemeral quality. In a few weeks, this gorgeous rite of spring will be gone.
Hwagae Cherry Blossom Festival
A river, a temple and a 6-kilometer (3.8-mile) trail of cherry trees create the backdrop for this festival in South Gyeongsang province.
Ssanggyesa Temple has long drawn lovers. Here, beneath the cherry blossoms, many men have proposed to their beloveds. Locals call the path from Hwagae Market to the temple “the marriage walkway.”
The festival runs through Sunday in Hadong County.
Jeju Cherry Blossom Festival
The cherry blossoms here are nearing their peak. The festival, which runs through Sunday, includes performances of traditional Korean music and a health walk.
The 200,000 cherry trees in downtown Jinhae bloom with the spring breeze that blows across Jinhae Bay. That sets the stage for the annual festival in this quiet South Gyeongsang province town.
The nearby Naval Academy and the Naval Control Command headquarters are open to civilians during the celebration. The festivities commemorate Admiral Yi Sun-shin, who defeated the Japanese naval invasion at the end of the 16th century.
Nearby is Mount Jewang Park with its One-Year Staircase ― 365 steps ― leading to Jinhae Tower, with a spectacular view of the bay.
Jinhae’s blossom festival ends Monday.
Gunsan and Jeonju
Every April, the cities of Gunsan and Jeonju in North Jeolla province host a cherry blossom marathon. This year, the race is April 13. The full course, 42.2 kilometers (26 miles), starts at the Gunsan Public Station and ends at the Jeonju World Cup Stadium.
Nearby are numerous sites, including Mount Naejang national park, where flowers and trees bloom in spring.
Sintanjin Cherry Blossom
This cherry blossom festival, which runs through Wednesday just north of Daejeon, has a host of activities ― juggling, face painting and a local food festival that includes a ginseng tea tasting.
Members of Daejeon’s professional baseball and soccer teams, the Hanwha Eagles and the Daejeon Citizens, will be autographing balls.
The city also hosts a 2-kilometer run that ends at Donghaksa Temple on Mount Gyeryong. The promenade is covered with cherry blossoms. Because this is a cooler mountainous region, the blossoms are best viewed in mid-April.
Mount Acha in eastern Seoul cradles an ancient fortress and a modern hotel. Some people prefer hiking up the mountain, others idle around the Sheraton Grande Walker Hill’s annual flower festival. Azaleas, forsythias and other flora can be viewed until April 20.
by Joe Yong-hee
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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