For Two or a Million: 2 Cherry Blossom Sites in Jeju City, South Korea

As LA-natives who see sunny days not as a weather forecast but a way of life, the cold Jeju Island winters in South Korea had another thing coming for us.

Our space heater and pile of blankets became the most cherished members of our little family, and we spent many a cold night longing for the days of sun again. So now with the long winter over, we couldn’t be more ecstatic that spring has finally come to Korea!

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Ben and Lauren in Jeju City, South Korea

Jeju Island sees flowers blooming everywhere during this enchanting season, and cherry blossoms make some of the greatest impact. Koreans everywhere laud Jeju for its cherry blossoms, as its milder climate allows the island to bear some of the earliest blooms in the country. Special to Jeju are its stunning and large wild cherry blossoms, known as “wangbeotggot” (왕 벚꽃) or “large cherry blossom.”

Well-known in Jeju City is its annual cherry blossom festival, but blossoms flourish several places across the island. Whether you’d prefer to wander beneath the blushing buds in peace and quiet, or you’d rather enjoy the cherry blossoms as a backdrop for the spectacle of Korean and Chinese tourists, here are two places you can check out cherry blossoms in Jeju City.

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For Two or a Million: 2 Cherry Blossoms Sites in Jeju City, South Korea

  1. Jeju High School (제주고등학교)

Located just down the road from Halla Arboretum and up the hill from Halla University, Jeju High School tucks itself away in a quieter part of Jeju City. During the cherry blossoms season, the school’s trees stand in full bloom, peeking out the entrance to the school. We happened upon the high school’s blossoms one beautiful early April day, while en route to the arboretum. They merited a closer look, and then we noticed the blossom-filled campus.

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Cherry blossom suga

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After entering the school’s gates, you quickly find yourself on a path enveloped by blossoms, and you’ll likely have it all to yourself.

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You can follow this road down to the baseball field, where on the weekends there you can catch boys playing baseball, men smoking while exercising, and the sound of students practicing martial arts in nearby buildings.

Korean baseball players

You can walk through the baseball field to the other side, or follow the edge of the fence. Past the baseball field sits a little hill covered in picture-perfect fluffy blossoms. It would be a fantastic little local place for a picnic (kimbap and banana milk, anyone?), enjoying the spring sunshine while watching boys playing baseball.

Perfect place for a picnic!

We enjoyed wandering around the campus, watching the adorable Korean toddlers chasing around bubbles from their mother’s bubble gun. Be quick with your camera, and it can be the perfect photo op.

Korean children chasing after bubbles.

While we didn’t stumble across too many people at the high school, we did find a few fellow camera-friendly wanderers, like this guy taking a picture of this girl taking a picture of a tree (and the other girl taking a selfie).

Took a picture of a guy taking a picture of a girl taking a picture of a tree, and another girl taking a picture of herself

 

As Jeju High School is a working high school, you’ll have to go after school hours or on a weekend. We went on a weekend, and it was blissfully empty except for a few Koreans enjoying a humble day playing baseball and exercising.

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The school held only a handful of people strolling around the school to view the quaint blossoms, and it never felt crowded—unlike our next stop, Halla Arboretum.

 

 

  1. Halla Arboretum (한라수목원)

A well-known place to view cherry blossoms in Jeju City, Halla Arboretum can attract hoards of tour buses during this festive spring time. Dozens of cherry trees line the road to the arboretum, reaching their branches out to each other and covering the road with a beautiful fluffy canopy.

The road to the Halla Arboretum

Love is certainly in the air during this spring time, and you’ll see tons of Korean couples walking hand-in-hand and enjoying the lifting of winter.

Korean couple near the Halla Arboretum

Join the many couples taking selfies in the street to get the perfect photo with the trees! You’ll have to time your photos in between the many cars and tour buses that you’ll probably encounter. Like many popular places in Korea, tour buses bring busloads of tourists. After dropping off their cargo, the buses park and wait in the road, which can spoil your pictures. To get around this, try your patience and wait for them to leave, or go earlier in the day before the buses arrive.

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Cherry blossom street

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Margherita pizza in KoreaA cozy brick oven pizza joint known as Bosco (보스코) stands along the blossom-filled path to the arboretum. Starving, we nestled into the restaurant and split a margherita pizza, thin-crust (which is generally what we’ve come across in Korea) for ‎₩16,000 (about $14 USD). Rather than fresh basil leaves, the pizza comes topped with a basil sauce (common here in Korea) and it’s pretty tasty!

 

Lauren enjoying the spring season!Packed to the gills with tourists, Halla Arboretum also packs it in with trees and plants that gorgeously come into bloom in spring. You’ll find more cherry trees here than at Jeju High School, but you’ll have to battle it out with the other visitors to get the best pictures. You can find a cool little temple off the road of the Arboretum as well with a few trees, if you happen to see it on the right while you walk.

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If you find yourself in the neighborhood of Halla University in Shin Jeju, the Arboretum is worth a visit—and here’s a plus: it’s free! Also, Halla Arboretum will probably be less crowded during the week, as most people will be at work or at school.

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Spring transforms Jeju from a cold, gray island to a vibrant, floral dreamscape. How better to shake off those winter blues than relishing in the awakening blooms of the cherry blossoms? Of course, there are also many other places to see stunning blossoms, such as Jeju National University or Noksan-ro, but the sites we’ve written about are just a few places to catch them in our ‘hood. No matter what, if you’re lucky enough to be in Jeju during blossom time, you’re in for a treat! There’s no better way to enjoy the beautiful spring season than spending the day walking under stunning blossoms.

 

To get to Jeju High School (제주고등학교): take the 100 or 90 bus to the Jeju High School stop. Walk up the hill towards the green driving range net, and the school will be a few minutes uphill from there. Enter through the gates, and wander at your leisure.
To get to Halla Arboretum (한라수목원): take the 90 bus and get off at the last stop, Halla Arboretum. Then, walk down the road to the arboretum. If you’re coming from the Jeju High School entrance, keep walking up the hill for about 5 minutes, and turn left at Sumogwon-gil (수목원길). Just keep going straight and the arboretum is at the end!

 

Have you had the chance to see these stunning flowers in person? Tell us about it below!

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18 Comments

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  1. Wow! the pictures, love them 🙂 and a great post too.
    -Yogini

    Liked by 1 person

  2. wanderlusterin May 10, 2016 — 11:32 pm

    These are beautiful pictures! Hope to see the cherry blossoms bloom in person some day.

    Like

  3. Beautiful photos and such a well written post. Enjoyed the read.

    Like

  4. These pictures are stunning! Love the blossom trees 😀

    Like

  5. Such beautiful cherry blossom!

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  6. Super beautiful.

    Cannot imagine the place was a prison hundred years ago.

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  7. Gorgeous photos! It’s so wonderful when everything comes back to life (after a winter), especially with a cherry blossom:)

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  8. Beautiful…the light pink blush on these petals is so pretty! Enjoyed reading this so much:)
    Lovely blog Lauren & Benjamin!…

    Like

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