The U.S. business magazine Forbes has selected=

The U.S. business magazine Forbes has selected five must-visit cherry blossom spots in Korea for this year. Pictured is one of the five, Gyeonghwa Station Cherry Blossom Street, in Jinhae-gu District of Changwon, Gyeongsangnam-do Province. (Changwon City Hall)

By Yoon Seungjin

The U.S. business magazine Forbes on March 17 named five must-see cherry blossom spots in Korea.

“The 2024 bloom season for these beloved blooms is expected to be particularly stunning, with experts estimating that this year’s flowering with arrive seven days earlier than normal,” Forbes said of the five spots: Simni Cherry Blossom Road, Gyeonghwa Station Cherry Blossom Street, Seomjingang Cherry Blossom Trail, Jeju Island and the Gyeongju Cherry Blossom Festival.

First on the list was Simni Cherry Blossom Road in the village of Samsin-ri in Hwagae-myeon Township of Hadong-gun County, Gyeongsangnam-do Province. The magazine said this spot is also called the “wedding road” because of a legend saying that “if young lovers stroll along the road with hands clasped, their love with remain true and they will be bound together for a century.”

Second was Gyeonghwa Station Cherry Blossom Street on Jinhae-daero Road in Jinhae-gu District of Changwon, Gyeongsangnam-do. Described as “once a functioning railway station that has been transformed into one of the most picturesque spots to see cherry blossoms in the country,” the street has a “jaw-dropping cherry blossom display” with lovely trees lining the train tracks.

The third spot mentioned was Seomjingang Cherry Blossom Trail, the general name for a national road in Gurye-gun County, Jeollanam-do Province, that follows National Roads 17 and 19 along the pristine Seomjingang River. Stretching over 3 km, the path is lined with cherry blossom trees around the village of Jungma-ri in Muncheok-myeon Township of Gurye-gun.

Forbes said, “Considered one of South Korea’s most beautiful roadways, it also makes a photo-worthy hiking option for those who prefer to take in the incomparable views on foot. Eateries along the trail are particularly famous for serving local specialties like euneo hoe (raw sweetfish) and minmul maeuntang (spicy freshwater fish stew).”

No. 4 Jeju Island is where cherry blossoms bloom first in the nation. When such blossoms are in full bloom in spring, related festivals are held throughout the island.

Forbes said, “The island is particularly famous for its King Cherry Trees, which have the largest blossoms and are reputed to bloom so intensely that the branches seem to be covered in snow.”

Completing the list was the annual Gyeongju Cherry Blossom Festival in Gyeongju, Gyeongsangbuk-do Province, an event attracting numerous visitors in spring when cherry blossoms are in full bloom.

The magazine said the festival “not only pays homage to the captivating scenery but also features a variety of cultural performances, traditional games, and local food stalls.”

“Luckily, no matter where you are in the country, South Korea offers lots of opportunities to witness the pink-hued spectacle,” Forbes said. “While Japan is famous for its cherry blossoms, South Korea offers its own unforgettable cherry blossom experience.”