I am in East Asia. It’s Spring. Yes, it’s that magical time of year again:
Apart from, not if you go to the festival a week early. As I learned the hard way….
I wanted to visit the premium cherry blossom viewing location in all of the peninsula and so after many inquiries with friends and the dear internet, I made the trek to Jinhae (an hour by bus west from Busan and a bargain at only 5000won each way).
I had heard and seen a lot of images of Jinhae and I greedily wanted some for myself too so I thought that it would be a wise move to go a week early and avoid the crowds during the official festival.
This was a mistake, do not repeat this mistake.
As we approached Jinhae, the buds on trees were firmly shut. At this point, the words ‘it’s okay’ were uttered many times by myself and others on the bus in a vain attempt to conjure spring. When we arrived, our dreams of stepping into a magical blossom land quickly evaporated. I went to Mom’s Touch, ate chicken, and sulked. It started to rain. I felt sad.
Deciding not to let the lack of blossoms affect the rest of the day, I went back outside and headed for the famous bridges and stream. Here, the number of almost blooming trees made the branches appear a soft pink hue and as the crowds had not arrived you could walk along the banks, enjoy the views and take photos relatively undisturbed. The rain had retreated to the blue mountains, the green of the river glistened in the new found sun. It was, after all, beautiful, just not in the way that I had imagined. And I suppose, that if you can imagine somewhere, then why go there in the first place?
Jinhae Cherry Blossom festival is on from April 1st – 10th. This is the time you should go for blossoms (pro tip: wear pink), if you want a different (mystery) spring experience, try the week after and see what happens.