City in Focus: Cherry Blossoms in Seoul (Photos)

April 17, 2013 Updated: July 18, 2015

Each year in April, South Korea’s many cherry trees come to life with bright white and pink flowers. Koreans celebrate the occasion outdoors with festivals, picnics, bike-rides and other outdoor activities. The blossoms are not a symbol of national pride, as they are for the Japanese, but are dearly loved – crowds flock to the countries parks and gardens to enjoy the show.

One of the largest and most popular cherry blossom festivals in South Korea is the Yeouido Spring Flower Festival in Seoul. Yeouido is situated on a large island surrounded by the Han River in the heart of the city. It’s the country’s financial and political center, home to major government, financial and media organizations. The road that circles the island is lined with cherry blossoms and parts of the road are closed to traffic for the festival.

Olympic Park in Seoul’s Southeast doesn’t have a flower festival but has beautiful gardens filled with walking paths, bike trails and traditional wooden rotundas. It was built to house the 1988 Olympic games and is home to many cherry trees and other flowering trees that bloom at the same time such as Magnolias and Forsythia.