Come, marvel at everyone’s complete lack of spacial awareness while taking a selfie stick to the eye! Also there are trees! Jinhae Cherry Blossom festival!
Jinhae was a bit of a trek for us. On Friday, we took a bus to Suncheon to stay the night, then caught the train to Masan in the morning, where we got a 20,000 won taxi to Jinhae. There are buses to Jinhae from Masan, but during the festival they’re very busy and also we couldn’t be bothered finding them.
The taxi dropped us a short walk from the main part of the festival and pointed us in the right direction. We followed the flow of people and quickly found ourselves at Yeojwacheon stream.
You can get down into the stream (there’s not really a lot of water) and walk through the light features and archways including some gloriously tacky giant love hearts. There are only a few points to get up and down from the stream, which seems to help curb the foot traffic a little.
Along the sides of the stream are the food stalls and a million people who are all trying to take pictures that make it look like there aren’t a million other people. (Including us) We got some very tasty dumplings from one stall and I got the chance to wheel out my rusty Japanese while buying yakisoba.
After walking about aimlessly for a while, we were getting a bit of crowd rage. There was a big patch of green on the map so we thought maybe it was a park we could chill out in and have a picnic. The green patch was Jehwangsan park and was actually a very steep hill with a cable car. We looked at the queue and opted to walk up instead.
The crowds did thin out a bit up here, especially when the rain, wind, thunder and lighting picked up. There’s a tower with a view over the festival and some sort of museum that was too busy for us to get in. (probably because of the rain, wind thunder and lightning)
We ended up taking shelter in a dog cafe for a while and exploring a little more, but decided pretty quickly that we really wanted to get rid of our bags. The plan was, go to Changwon where our hotel was, dump our bags, get food, come back to see the light features at night. We were also going to come back the next day to see Gyeonhwa train station since the forecast was much better. We didn’t come back.
After a very stressful and confusing taxi ride trying to find the elusive “central hotel” which is on the eighth floor of some shopping center, we decided we were done with the festival for the day and got some fish and chips at and Irish pub called O’Brian’s and explore Changwon instead.
When I pictured a Cherry blossom festival, I pictured buying food from the stalls and sitting beneath a beautiful blossom tree while taking in the atmosphere. I expected crowds, but I thought there would at least be space to sit. It had become clear that Jinhae festival wasn’t what we were after.
Yongji Munhwa park was only a ten minute walk away, so we went to see what it had to offer. What it had to offer was a far superior cherry blossom experience.
We had the picnic I wanted including some amazing little macarons. There were less humans and more dogs and there was a far more relaxed atmosphere.
The festival was fun for a little, but I don’t think it would have been worth going back for a second day. It felt like half the people were in a rush and would push and shove their way through, while the other half were oblivious to anything going on around them as they spun around with their selfie sticks in the air at all times. (I have no beef with selfie sticks but looking at your phone while walking through a crowd is always a dick move.) One day of hectic festival time plus one day of chilling in a park equals a pretty solid weekend.
2017 dates – 1st – 10th of April