Spring in Jinhae, South Korea: 51st Jinhae Gunhangje (Cherry Blossom) Festival

It’s now our fifth day in South Korea and after spending two days in Jeju Island it’s now time to go to Busan. We left the guesthouse early because our flight was around 10:00 AM. We’re flying via Jeju Air this time. We got our tickets only two weeks before the flight and it was on sale for only about 35 USD. I’m not sure if that’s how it works for Korean budget airlines, like tickets becomes on sale when the flight is getting nearer, or if it’s just because of tight competition among the airlines. We also got our tickets for Seoul to Jeju Island for about the same amount via Air Busan.
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While in Busan we stayed at Cube Guesthouse in a girls dorm of 8 for only 15,000 KRW (about 13 USD). Though it’s quite far from the main attractions of the city, it is conveniently located near both Busan Subway and Busan Train Stations. We chose this location since we are taking the train early in the morning from Busan to Seoul the day after next.

When we arrived at the guesthouse it was not yet time for checking-in so we had our lunch first at a nearby restaurant. Since we’ve been having seafood the past two days, we were craving for meat. So, tada! We had samgyupsal (grilled pork belly)!
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After checking-in and freshening-up a bit, we headed for a half day trip to Jinhae to witness the 51st Jinhae Gunhangje (Cherry Blossom) Festival. It’s a world-class cherry blossom festival that is held annually in the city of Jinhae. During this time of the year the streets of Jinhae City are said to be strewn with cherry blossoms, a sight that should not be missed when the flowers are in full bloom.

To get to Jinhae from Busan, the most convenient way is to take a bus. At Sasang Subway Station on Busan Subway Line 2, near its Exit 5 is Seobu Bus Terminal where buses from Busan to Jinhae departs frequently. There’s a counter for foreigners where the attendants speak good English so you don’t have to worry in purchasing your ticket. You’ll be given a one way ticket (5,100 KRW) without time restriction, so just board any bus that departs from Platform 17 where buses bound to Jinhae are parked. The journey is about 45 minutes with a few stops, get off at Jinhae Bus Terminal which is the last stop. This will also be the place where you take a bus back to Busan. From there the center of the festivities are just walking distance.

At the festival’s event center, you’ll be greeted by food stalls with plethora of local specialties to try. To bad that we just had our lunch, but we’re surely going back to have some.
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There are some scenic spots to view the cherry blossoms during the festival and the most famous of one is along the Yeojwacheon Stream. The stream is covered by cherry blossom trees on both sides with series of uniquely styled bridges over it. Another spot is at the Gyeonghwa Train Station, where people camp to catch the arrival of trains wanting to witness the moment when it sends cherry blossom petals flying throughout the sky then falling like snow. However, the station is quite a distance from Yeojwacheon Stream and we need to be back in Busan by 7:00 PM, hence, we skipped it. Mt. Jehwang Park is another nice place to see cherry blossoms. It’s at a hill top and has an observation tower that gives you a panoramic view of the city. The foot of the hill is just walking distance from the center of festivities but we have to skip this as well. Too bad we didn’t have much time.

To go to Yeojwacheon Stream from Jinhae Bus Terminal/Festival’s Center, we took a taxi for about 3,000 KRW, it’s just a few kilometers away. Cherry Blossoms by the Yeojwacheon Stream are so pretty! We can’t stop taking photos from every angle! It’s kinda crowded at the beginning of the stream, but as you walk towards the end, people gets fewer. Don’t be afraid to take those extra steps, it’s as equally beautiful from begining to end. Plus, you wouldn’t want to take photos with lots of photo bombers, right?
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After strolling by Yeojwacheon Stream and taking photos until we’re satisfied, we went back to the center of the festival. We looked around, shopped a bit, and had some snacks before heading back to Busan.
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And that’s it for our short but sweet stint at Jinhae. I wish we had more time, half day is not enough! We left here around 5:00 PM and arrived back in Busan around 6:00 PM just on time for us to meet Sam’s Korean friend, Sue.

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