Cherry Blossoms can be found all throughout South Korea. They are an absolutely beautiful sight and signify that spring is now here, leaving winter in the past. The tradition of “Hanami,” or picnicking under the blooming cherry blossoms trees has a long history. This tradition was introduced to Korea during the Japanese occupation. After the Japanese surrendered, the cherry blossom festivals were still contentious. This hostility was due to the fact that the Cherry Blossoms symbolized the Japanese occupation. Certain trees at Seoul’s Gyeongbuk Palace were cut down to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Japanese surrender in World War II. Although there might some historical sentiment towards the cherry blossoms, it is still a beautiful sight to see in person.
Unfortunately, there aren’t any big Cherry Blossom festivals in Gwangju, but there are some great places to enjoy a picnic and marvel at the flower’s beauty. I went out this week to find some great places to enjoy the blossoms or just nice spots to have a picnic. The warm weather is here to stay for some time, but the Cherry Blossoms will soon be gone. Below are three great places to have a picnic and enjoy these beautiful flowers!
Chonnam National University
If you haven’t been to the CNU campus then it is worth the trip. The campus has a beautiful pond that is surrounded by some magnificent trees and plants. Right across from the pond are some wonderful blossoms and a great spot for a picnic. If you want to be active there are a few great options. You can play soccer, tennis, or basketball on the public facilities. There is also a nice track for anyone up for a jog or walk. The front and back gate offer some great restaurants to grab some takeaway food and have a picnic under the cherry blossoms. Need directions? Click here for the Google maps location and bus instructions.
This park offers the most remote and relaxed surrounding out of the three locations. The Gwangju Park has a fairly nice view of the city, although parts are a bit hindered by surrounding buildings. Most of the visitors on the day I went were friendly older grandparents. There certainly is a lot of peace and quiet in this area if you want to have a nice quite picnic. The hill to reach the top area is a bit of a walk, but the journey is worth it! Need directions? Click here for the directions.
Chosun University has a massive campus, which has some of the most cherry blossoms in one area. There is a lovely group of Cherry Blossoms leading up to the Nursing Building. At the top there is a great view of the campus and small area to have a picnic. Wandering around the campus gave off a similar vibe to Chonnam, but the campus is a bit more open and not as flat. This tiered campus area provides some great views, but can be a little strenuous after a while of walking. I really enjoyed the campus here and will definitely be back again! If you need directions click here.
No matter where you choose to view cherry blossoms or have a wonderful picnic in South Korea, all of the three above places offer their own unique experience. If you are looking to attend a Cherry Blossom festival outside of Gwangju, please see the link for the information compiled by GIC. (*Please note the GIC article is from 2012 and dates are not current)