Spring Sights and Scents (10 Jeju Travel Hot Spots for April)

The following is a translation of an article written for the JTO’s VisitJeju.net site. For more themed travel programs, please click here.

In April on Jeju there are many places and paths where you can find fragrant flowers. Cherry blossoms, canola blossoms, and numerous wildflowers all blooming together will guide you on your way.


Cherry blossoms opening like popped popcorn

  1. Jeju National University entrance, Gwaneumsa Temple, and Wimi-ri Ilju Road

When the cold wind blows, the flower buds are preparing to emerge triumphant. Cherry blossoms, in particular, seem to burst from their branches. In Jeju, the cherry trees bloom in April, and they symbolize the resilience of people everywhere. The island’s cherry species has flowers that are generally bigger and more intensely hued that others. This makes them particularly attractive and popular. One typical cherry blossom viewing location here is at the entrance to Jeju National University on the slope of Hallasan Mountain. Gwaneumsa Temple, too, is a location famous for its thick forest of native cherry trees. And if you’re driving, there’s always the Ilju Road in the vicinity of Wimi village in Namwon-eup, on the southeast side of the island. There you can enjoy the cherry-lined route, its rural feel, and spectacular spring aesthetic. The 26th Jeju Cherry Blossom Festival will be held from March 31st to April 9th this year at Jangjeon-ri, Jeju National University, and Jangjeon Road in Jeju City. The theme this year is “A New Spring in Jeju.”


Harmony of rustic wildflowers and canola blossoms

​​​​​​2. Daeroksan (Keun Saseumi Oreum)

A large deer sitting on a wide plain. Wildflowers and canola blossoms spring up to be friends with this huge deer. This is how spring comes about at Daeroksan, also known as Keun Saseumi or “Big Deer” at Gasi-ri, Pyoseon-myeon, Seogwipo. This part of the island called Roksan has a long history of animal husbandry. During the Joseon era it was the largest state farm in the country as well as being famed for raising the most prized horses in the nation. The 20-kilometer-long walking path through the region is a favorite for walkers. This is a beautiful spring season spot bursting with yellow canola blossoms.


 An alternative to a mountain climb

  1. Hallasan Mountain’s Dullegil (Eco-trail) Dongbaek Course

Hallasan Mountain’s 80-kilometer-long Dullegil Eco-trail runs through Hallasan National Park at between 600 and 800 meters above sea level. The Dullegil is divided into five courses: Dongbaek, Dol Oreum, Suak, Saryeoni and Cheona forest paths. Of these, the Dongbaek course is 13.5 kilometers running from Muobeop Jeongsa — the birthplace of the Jeju Anti-Japanese Movement — and the Donnaeko Trail. It is called the Dongbaek (camellia) trail because the largest species of camellia tree grows natively here and you can find its remarkable, red blossoms even in winter. As this course runs through a number of painful historical sites, including ones related to the April 3rd Incident, it is a somber, sacred place for all Koreans.


Through a flower-shaped port to an historical April 3rd Incident site

  1. Bukchon Port, Neobeulsung Sacred Memorial for Victims of Jeju 4.3

Bukchon, a small, beautiful village. But for the villagers the name Bukchon is more sad than beautiful. It is a place where some 400 people lost their lives during the violence of the April 3rd Incident and the scene for a novel on the subject titled “Aunt Sooni” by Hyun Gi-young. In 2016 the “4.3 Path” was completed and walkers can contemplate this sad part of Jeju’s history as they visit sites along the way.


Canola fields along a Jeju Geotrail

  1. Sanbangsan / Yongmeori Geotrail Course A

This is a trail built along a UNESCO-recognized Jeju Geopark site. It brings travelers past a number of internationally valued Jeju geological features, including the Yongmeori Coast and Sanbangsan Mountain, and the history and culture of surrounding villages like Sagye, Hwasun and Deosu. This 13-kilometer-long Geotrail starts at Yongmeori and ends at Sagye Port and in the spring has many fields replete with bright, beautiful yellow canola blossoms.


Celebrate beloved cherry blossoms and white daphnes

  1. Jeju Gotjawal Provincial Park

April is when the Gotjawal forest — known as the “lungs of Jeju” — and in particular Jeju Gotjawal Provincial Park come alive with cherry blossoms and white daphnes. The name Gotjawal in the Jeju language refers to volcanic, rocky woodlands. It is verdant throughout the year and is a rare instance where tropical northern and southern vegetation coexist. This is an eco-tourism destination that features and protects the delicate ecology of the Gotjawal, providing a place for plants, animals, and people to exist in harmony.


Flowing green barley fields

  1. Gapado Island Olle Trail

In April and May, the green barley of Gapado Island comes into its own. It waves in the strong ocean wind like masses of butterflies taking flight. It’s a great time to enjoy this scene while walking along the coastal promenade and Olle course 10-1 which circumnavigates the island. The pleasant course is just 4 kilometers in length and is easy to complete in an hour or two. Normally there is also an annual Green Barley Festival held on Gapado, but this year it has been preempted due to construction. You can still go to enjoy the barley, though!


Colorful murals adorning Jeju lanes

  1. Geolmae Art Village, Lee Joong-seop Street

East of Geolmae Ecological Park are murals that blossom like flowers. In 2007 Geolmae Art Village was created through a Seogwipo public art project. Dubbed “lane landscapes”, these simple murals and other art installations adorn the rustic village scenery and alleyways. At the end of the lane is a starlight observatory from which you can view the Ecopark, Sammaebong Peak, and Hallasan Mountain. In Seogwipo City, there is a lane dedicated to the celebrated Korean painter Lee Joong-seop, who lived and worked in that neighborhood for a short time in the 1950s. Along this promenade is space to display unique works of art and a number of art galleries, including the Lee Joong-seop Art Gallery. There are weekend arts and culture fairs and special events held there throughout the year.


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The greenest of photo spots

  1. Seogwi Dawon, Orteas Dawon: A cup of green tea today

A wide swath of what looks like green drawing paper unfolds under a blue sky. The scene is so perfect an example of nature that it’s inconceivable that you wouldn’t want to take a picture of it. April is an excellent time to enjoy Jeju’s green tea fields. With its clean air and water, the quality of the island’s tea is renowned. Most of the tea is grown on the warmer south side of the island. Seogwipo’s Seogwi Dawon, Orteas Dawon in Jocheon-eup, and Pyoseon-myeon’s Onulun offer visitors a chance to taste a variety of green tea beverages and desserts, all while enjoying the natural backdrop and landscapes of the tea fields.


Flowers of the sea meet the silvery anchovy and the queen of Jeju fruit

  1. Anchovy soup and stew meets Cheon Hye Hyang citrus

‘Mel’ means anchovy in the Jeju language. In particular, anchovy soup, or melguk is a favorite “comfort food” for the Jeju people. In April, anchovies measuring the length and width of an adult finger are sought after for their plumpness and flavor. Used in local cuisine, the anchovy has no fishy smell and the flavor is surprisingly mild. It is especially rich in protein, calcium, and taurine. Meanwhile, April is the month of the “queen” of Jeju fruit — the Cheon Hye Hyang — which is by far the island’s most attractive and delicious citrus variety. It has a very sweet taste and its juice is full of Vitamin C and citric acid, which are good for the skin.

 

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