Blooming Scenery in the City of Jinhae
Blooming Scenery in the City of Jinhae
  • Reporter Kim Eun-ji
  • 승인 2010.04.14 14:08
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Korea is known to have four very distinct seasons. After channeling through the dark tunnel of winter, the arrival of spring becomes manifest when observing flower buds about to blossom. You begin to feel the air is different and notice families and friends enjoying warm spring sunshine on a breezy day anywhere that has grass.

One simply unmissable kind of springtime flower is the cherry blossom. Because this year’s temperatures have been quite low compared to the past few years, blossoms that normally disappear soon after the halfway point of April are expected to be there and wait for flower-lovers who have been patient until this time of year.

So pick up your cameras and at least move around the campus where you can absorb refreshing scents of beautiful flowers.

▲ At the bridge of Yeojwa Cheon of Jinhae, famous for its magnificient flower curtains. From left, Piao Wenying, Ronny Schlutter and Regina Knobloch

The Jinhae Gunhang (Naval Port) Festival

The Jinhae Gunhang (Naval Port) Festival is the largest and most well-known beotggot (Korean king cherry) festival in Korea. Jinhae, located in the South Gyeongsang Province, celebrated its 48th festival this year from Apr.1 to Apr.11, inviting tourists throughout the country.

The festival began as a way to honour a famous war hero, Admiral Yi Sun-shin, whose statue was placed in Bukwon Rotary in Jinhae on Apr.13, 1952. Yi is Korea’s legendary admiral who led the Korean navy in battles against the Japanese. Since then the event to commemorate his achievement developed into a festival in combination with the stunning scenery. Thousands of tourists each year flock to this city to see its magnificently adorned cherry blossom trees.

The Festival This Year

Three students, Ronny Schlutter and Regina Knobloch from Germany, and Piao Wenying from China, traveled together on a sunny day of April. Approximately two-and-a-half hour bus drive to Masan and a half hour drive on the inner city bus led us to our destination.

Jinhae is home to the Korea Naval Academy and Naval Base Headquarters and also the families who work there. Due to the tragic event of the unexplained sinking of the warship Cheonan, some of the programs that had been much anticipated, like the military guard performance and the street parade, were cancelled and the entry to Jinhae naval base command was prohibited. The city was in a more subdued atmosphere than we expected.

We noticed that unfortunately the flowers were not in full-blown due to the unusually cold weather this year. However, Jungwon Rotary, where the main events were taking place was already quite crowded with eager picture-takers from all around the country. We first went for shopping in the traditional and international market.

“Since I came to Korea in the summer last year, I traveled to quite a lot of places with Regina. I also went to many festivals around the world. Festivals in general seem to have many parts in common, like for instance what they sell in the market,” said Ronny who enthusiastically thanked the sellers by exclaiming “Gamsahamnida!” whenever he was buying any product, surprising them.

Recommendable Destinations

▲ Mt. Jehwang Park where entire city comes into view
After Wenying bought beautiful instruments, ocarinas, for herself and her boyfriend as a souvenir of the trip, we headed to the Mt. Jehwang Park. Although a monorail car was available there was nothing to stop a healthy young man who claimed to have lived in the mountainous side of Germany from racing up 365 stairs. There are deliberately 365 stairs and it is called the ‘Year Stairway’ for wishing good luck every day of the year. Looking down from the top of the tower situated at the top of the hill, we could see the entire view of Jinhae, which a pink blanket of flowers was about to cover. It was in sharp contrast to the blue sea at the southern side of the city.

▲ Picturesque Gyeonghwa Station
Our next destination was Gyeonghwa Station, which no longer has trains coming in except a small shuttle train that operates only during the festival. A line of pink, fluffy and delicate cherry blossom trees beside the train tracks is a magnificent scene loved by avid photographers. It was sad to miss the opportunity to see petal-snowflakes fall by the movement of the incoming train and the gentle breeze, but “it was definitely one of the very memorable places of the trip,” as Wenying said.

▲ Romantic Yeojwa Cheon
Yeojwa Cheon, a stream situated near Gyeonghwa Station, has become famous for its romantic atmosphere after being broadcasted on the Korean soap opera “Romance” in 2002. Being a place most ideal for couples, I led Ronny and Regina who claimed that “the funny aspect of traveling is that the same location becomes different when in love and not.”

The day became a little chilly around 6PM just when we arrived to the participation workshops that provided free face painting and chances to make souvenir puzzles and key rings. Wenying said, “In China there is also a city of flowers called Kunming. Coming from the cold and snowing city of Harbin, it was very nice to see a lot of flowers and stay long outside under the sun.” It was indeed a refreshing experience, being momentarily away from the burdens of school life. Sightseeing and taking pictures are always good but being with good friends adds cherry on the top of a fieldtrip.

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