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Planning your cherry blossom peeping spots

How to welcome the beauty of spring away from the big crowds
Mar 14,2018
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It’s almost the time of year when the popular song “Cherry Blossom Ending” starts magically appearing on music streaming charts. One can never precisely forecast when the flowers will come to full bloom, but as soon as Korea escapes months of subzero temperatures, people get excited to see green leaves and colorful flowers blossoming on the now-barren trees.

There will still be some spring showers and cold days before the flowers come, but many people plan ahead for quick getaways to some of Korea’s best places to enjoy the spring season. The Korea Tourism Organization is working to compile information about cherry blossom hot spots around the country, and has even made a guide for Japanese travelers looking to catch the flowers this year.

Starting around April 7, Seoul is expected to see a majority of its cherry blossoms opening up, according to private weather service Weather I, which releases an annual flower forecast. It will take about a week for the flowers to fully bloom, so expect the crowds of people looking to take photos with the beautiful pink blossoms to come out in mid-April.

In the southern part of the country, in places like Jeju and the South Jeolla and Gyeongsang regions, the pink flowers will make their appearance a bit earlier, with the flowers forecast to bloom in late March.

Although Yeouido, western Seoul, and areas around Mount Namsan, in central, are known for having lots of beautiful cherry blossoms, there is no need to travel too far from home or work, as there are many other districts with streets lined with cherry blossom. Spots in your neighborhood are usually the best choice if you are looking to stay away from the crowds.

Seokchon Lake in Songpa district, southern Seoul, is a hot spot for residents in the area to go for a walk. Towards the end of peak cherry blossom season, the flower petals that fall onto the lake create a beautiful scene rarely found elsewhere.

Those close to the streams that lead to the Han River can easily go for a walk along a trail adorned with flowers. Not only cherry blossoms, but many other kinds of wild flowers welcome visitors alongside Yangjae Stream in Gangnam district and Jungnang Stream in Dongdaemun district, eastern Seoul.

Residents in western Seoul have another option. A trail that runs through the out-of-service Gyeongui Line is a local gem. Virtually unknown for its spring beauty to those outside of the trail’s path, the walk is seldom crowded. The area is decorated with signs leftover from its days as a railway, making for great props to make your flower photos unique.

Many of the theme parks in and around Seoul are also great places to check out flowers, especially for families that want other activities available for kids to enjoy. Right by its fun rides, Everland in Yongin, Gyeonggi, is home to Hoam Lake which is surrounded by trees, making it an ideal spot for a scenic drive or a walk. Children’s Grand Park in Gwangjin district, eastern Seoul, and Dream Forest in Gangbuk district, northeastern Seoul, are also great places to take a peek at flowers.

With only about two weeks left until flowers across the country start to bloom, every region known for its cherry blossoms has begun announcing dates for their local flower festivals.

One of the most popular, the Jinhae Gunhangje, will start on April 1 in Jinhae, part of Changwon in South Gyeongsang. The district is one of the most famous spots for cherry blossoms in the country and known for its many tree-lined streets. Gurye County in South Jeolla will hold a festival for two days starting April 7, which is also when Hadong County in South Gyeongsang will hold its festival as well.

BY LEE SUN-MIN [summerlee@joongang.co.kr]