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Saturday, April 10, 2010

Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival

It's April, and like clockwork, the cherry blossom trees are in full bloom here in Korea! Aaron and I decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather and spend the day in Jinhe (1 hour by bus) for the huge world famous Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival!

I'll give you a short history lesson before I get into the details of our day... Cherry Blossom trees are native to Japan, but were brought over to Korea, and planted in Jinhae, when it was developed as a naval base of the Imperial Japanese Navy during the Japanese occupation in the early 20th century. The area is said to have over 300,000 cherry blossom trees now! Thank you Japan! :)

When we first arrived, we didn't know what to expect, or where to go! So, we followed the crowds over to this huge grassy area (and by grassy, what I mean is dead grass. The stuff just doesn't grow in this country!) where a Taekwondo performance was taking place! The kids were adorable and so proud of their Taekwondo moves! Heck, if I could kick that high, I'd probably be pretty proud of myself too!

We were both starving, so we decided to go on the lookout for some yummy festival food! We started here, where the streets were lined with games, food, and handmade arts and crafts under mini white cirque du soleil style tents! Here's the infamous ballon game, which was popular with the kiddos...

and here's the "Gigantic Gun Game" for those festival goers who'd rather win a bottle of whisky than a big stuffed dog! Apparently, Koreans like stuffed dogs better, because no one wanted to play!

This table was filled with gorgeous handmade Russian matryoshka dolls! Shelly Sazdanoff, I thought of you!

Aaron is the worst person to hang out with when you're trying to eat healthy because he buys things like these... delicious pancake-like dough, with cinnamon and sugar inside, and then asks me if I want one! Which, of course, I do!

I snapped this picture of this couple sporting their couple sweatshirts for the festival! This was 1 of 5 matching couples that I spotted throughout the day.

Mmmm, pig on a spit! Aaron and I ate this in Indonesia, where it's called Babi Guling... but we were surprised to see it in Korea! It seemed to be a popular festival dish, because this was 1 of 3 that we saw.

Next on the agenda was to ride the monorail up the mountain to get a view of the cherry blossoms!

When we arrived at the base of the mountain and saw the EXTREMELY long line, we decided we'd put our legs to the test and climb the stairs instead!

The climb was gorgeous! Cherry blossom trees draped across the staircase the entire way up!

We climbed 365 stairs to the top! And yes, I did it in boots with heels!

We found this man, at the top of the hill, performing with his marionette for a crowd of cheerful koreans! I'm typically freaked out when it comes to puppets and marionettes, but this guy was awesome and very entertaining!

They had a stage with traditional Korean musicians and dancers throughout the day!

They had horse drawn carriages, driven by Korean cowboys! And for some reason they had speakers blasting fake horse whining noises!

Cherry Blossoms, in Korean, are called Poht goht. Here's a close up of a bloom!

Aaron and I at the bridge...

This is Tobi! She's 6 months old, and is sporting a cherry blossom in her hair. We took a couple pictures of her and her "mom and dad" that we e-mailed to them, since they didn't have a camera.

I'll leave you with the most beautiful picture of the whole day! Magical, huh?!


  1. How amazing! What a beautiful place to be!

  2. This last pic was my favorite, like a post card. :) Hey look at you Jillers, 2 commments now on this page. :)

  3. Okay, do you ever stay home?? LOL Love the pics thanks for sharing. I could turn them into a Jill Calendar... speaking of which, who won?? I still need a calendar.. :-)

  4. Liz, My mom was the big winner of the calendar!! She did give birth to me, so I figured that was a good enough reason for her to win! :)