Have you recently booked a ticket to visit Korea in the Spring? Congratulations! You’ve made a wise decision, and you are in for a treat.
Spring is a great time of the year to explore Korea. The weather is warm and usually dry, and you miss the cold winter months as well as the scorching summer months when it’s not too much fun to go outside. Additionally, there are many Korean festivals to enjoy if you choose to visit Korea in the Spring.
That isn’t to say that the other three seasons don’t have any festivals. There are ice fishing festivals in winter, and many different festivals in fall, but some of the best festivals of the year are in spring, so it’s absolutely a preferable time of year to travel to visit the country.
If you’re currently planning a trip to Korea in the Spring, here are some of the Korean festivals that you can visit during the springtime!
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Cherry Blossom Festival – 벚꽃 축제
Jinhae Festival Dates: April 1-10, 2017
Gyeongju Festival Dates: March 31-April 9, 2017
Yeouido Festival Dates: April 1-10, 2017
Spring in Korea is almost defined by the cherry blossom, and this festival is undoubtedly one of Korea’s most popular festivals. People will travel the length of the country, and even from abroad, to take pictures in front of the most photogenic trees during the cherry blossom. The beautiful blooms on Cherry Blossom trees make Korea famous all over the world, so it’s no wonder that this festival is one of the most popular springtime festivals in the country.
Although the cherry blossom only lasts in each location for a very short period of time, its spread from south to north takes around a month or so. Therefore, you will have several opportunities to enjoy the festival, so you don’t have to worry too much about timing your trip perfectly as long as you’ll be in Korea at some point in April.
Unlike many Korean festivals that happen in just one location, there are cherry blossom festivals all over the country. The most famous ones are in Jinhae (Jinhae Gunhangje Festival – 진해군항제) and Gyeongju (Gyeongju Cherry Blossom Festival – 경주 벚꽃축제) in the south of the country. This is especially convenient because it means no matter where in Korea you choose to travel, you’re likely to be close enough to a Cherry Blossom festival to enjoy the beauty of the blossoms.
If you happen to be in Korea this spring, make sure you check out one of these festivals — you won’t be disappointed!
In Seoul, there is a large cherry blossom festival on Yeouido (Yeongdeungpo Yeouido Spring Flower Festival – 영등포 여의도 봄꽃축제). If you want to take some great pictures but want to avoid the crowds, then there are plenty of other spots around Seoul where you can take some great pictures without dealing with the chaos that comes along with navigating a large city festival. University campuses such as Kyunghee University in northern Seoul are usually quieter and less crowded than Yeouido.
For more information on cherry blossoms in Korea, check out this article!
Seoul Lotus Lantern Festival – 연등회
Festival Dates: April 28th-April 30th, 2017
The Seoul Lotus Lantern Festival takes place in spring to coincide with Buddha’s birthday. Although Buddha’s birthday falls on May 14th, the actual lantern parade occurs two weeks before on April 28th. In the evening, thousands of people walk along Jong-ro, a major street in central Seoul, each holding a lantern and creating a magnificent site to behold for passerby.
The parade starts at Dongguk University, and ends at Jogyesa temple near Insadong. As well as people carrying lanterns, there are also large paper sculptures in the parade, such as fish and dragons. This parade is full of unique Korean beauty and artistry, so it’s a must-see if you you happen to be in the area in April.
If you don’t have the chance to see the parade for yourself, then try and visit Jogyesa temple or Cheongye stream during the week to see the paper lanterns on display after the fact. More details can be found on the festival website.
Jindo Miracle Sea Road Festival – 진도 신비의바닷길축제
Festival Dates: April 26th-April 29th, 2017
According to many religions, when Moses parted the sea it was a true miracle. A similar phenomenon occurs naturally on the island of Jindo in the south-west of Korea. Once a year, the strong neap tide pulls the sea away revealing a path, almost three kilometers long, from Jindo to the nearby Modo Island. The resulting phenomena is extremely unusual, so people gather from all over the country to marvel at the parting of the sea.
The festival coincides with the parting of the sea. In 2016 it runs from April 26th to April 29th, you can find more details on the festival website.
Jindo is a long way from most major cities, so while you visit the festival, make sure that you take the chance to explore the rest of the island. Jindo is famous for the extremely loyal Jindo breed of dogs. It is famous also for the battle of Myeongnyang among lovers of Korean history, where Admiral Yi Sun-Shin defeated the Japanese navy against the odds. Jindo’s countryside charm and way of life can be a refreshing change from the bustle of the large cities in Korea, and with its rich history, there is plenty to do if you choose to check out the area while you are spending time in Korea.
Boseong Green Tea Festival – 보성 다향제
Festival Dates: May 3rd-May 7th, 2017
Located in the south of Jeolla province, Boseong is famous for its tea farms, where the hills are lined with the lush green terraces of tea plants. A popular place to visit throughout the year, Boseong also holds an annual tea festival in early May.
During the festival, visitors can try their hand at picking tea leaves, as well as making and tasting tea. This year’s festival runs from May 3rd to May 7th, so if you’re in the country in early May you should definitely put it on your calendar. More details can be found on the Boseong tourism website. If you’re a tea lover, be sure to add this to your to-do list while you’re in Korea this Spring — all of the tea-centric activities and workshops are unique to this festival and a a lot of fun to participate in.
Chuncheon International Mime Festival – 춘천 마임축제
Festival Dates: May 21st-May 28th, 2017
For Seoulites wanting to visit a festival, but don’t willing to travel for several hours to the festivals in Jeolla province, the Chuncheon International Mime Festival is within easy reach of Korea’s capital and is definitely worth checking out.
Despite being just one hour away, Chuncheon has a completely different feeling from Seoul — you would never guess that it is immediately outside the largest city in Korea. Every spring, the city in Gangwon province hosts the International Mime Festival. Artists from around the world perform at the festival, which means some extraordinary talent is present each year. Since there is no speaking, it is easily accessible for foreigners who cannot speak Korean and is endlessly entertaining.
This year’s festival runs from May 26th to May 29th. More details can be found here. Chuncheon has lots to offer apart from the mime festival. The city is famous for its Dakgalbi, a stir-fried spicy chicken dish — if you’re a lover of interesting and spicy Korean dishes, make sure you add Dakgalbi to your must-try list. There is a whole street dedicated to the delicacy in Chuncheon’s city center, which is worth exploring if you’re hungry and in the mood for some delicious Korean street food.
The city was also one of the locations of the famous drama Winter Sonata, and, along with nearby Nami Island, attracts many fans of that drama because it gives them the opportunity to check out sites where the drama was filmed. The natural beauty of the surrounding area also makes it a pleasant place to explore. If you’re a fan of hiking, check out the festival and then venture out with a picnic and enjoy the scenery!
Gwangali Eobang Festival – 광안리 어방축제
Festival Dates: April 28th-April 30th, 2017
It may still be too cold to swim in the sea, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy Busan’s famous beaches in a different capacity! The city’s Eobang Festival is held on Gwangali beach, which is often missed by the crowds who head to nearby Haeundae. During the festival, participants can try to catch fish with their hands, drag fishing nets, and even windsurf — what’s not to love about that?
Details on how to book these events are found on the festival’s website, so be sure to book the events that are most appealing to you before your Korea trip. There are also many places selling both raw and barbecued fish, and after the day-time events you can relax on the beach and enjoy the atmosphere while you eat some quality seafood.
Yeongdeok Snow Crab Festival – 영덕대게축제
Festival Dates: March 26-27, 2017
Yeongdeok is known for its snow crabs, so it’s no surprise that this festival occurs every year in the Yeongeok area. If you’re a lover of snow crab, this is certainly the festival for you — whether you’d like to take a stroll through the public snow crab auction, get on a snow crab fishing boat, or participate in a lively snow crab cooking competition, there is truly something for every snow crab lover at this festival.
This festival is also a great opportunity to sample the taste of a variety of different Korean snow crab dishes, so if you’d rather be a more passive observer and still enjoy the taste of snow crab without actively engaging in a fishing expedition you can absolutely do so.
Snow crab used to be a delicacy served to Korean kings, and it is still a much-loved seafood featured in many Korean dishes today — check out this festival and celebrate the delicious origins of snow crab in Korea!
Daegu Yangnyeongsi Herb Medicine Culture Festival (대구약령시한방문화축제)
Festival Dates: May 3rd-May 7th, 2017
If you’re a history buff, or if you’re looking to deepen your knowledge of Korea while you’re visiting the country this Spring, consider checking out the Herb Medicine Culture Festival this spring. This festival has a rich history — it celebrates an international herbal medicine market that has existed in some capacity in Korea for almost four centuries.
This festival is a great introduction to relaxing and holistic herbal medicine practices to visitors that are unfamiliar with herbal medicine. Herbal medicine is celebrated around the world, and Korea has harvested various roots and herbs in the mountains for centuries explicitly for use in medicinal capacities.
If you are familiar with herbal medicine or if you’d like to get a free check up or whole body scan while you’re visiting Korea this Spring, stop by this festival and become familiar with all that herbal medicine has to offer. You will be surrounded by very knowledgeable Koreans excited to share information about herbal medicine with you!
Many other cities also have festivals in the spring, from Nonsan’s strawberry festival, to Daegu’s herbal medicine festival. Whatever your interests, with so many Korean festivals happening this spring, there is sure to be a festival for you. Take this opportunity to travel to a part of the country that you haven’t yet been to and enjoy something unique!
Whether you’re in the mood for a snack, taking pictures of nature, or an all day interactive affair, if you’re visiting Korea during the springtime there’s a festival that’s perfect for you. What is your favorite spring Korean festival? Be sure to let us know in the comments below!