Famous Festivals In South Korea

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This article is all about the famous festivals in South Korea that you simply need to check out! Each one has a different theme, but all are equally as fun. Scattered around different parts of the country these Korean Festivals show you the wide range of celebrations this country has to offer.

You can enjoy a large water fight, enjoy the natural springtime flowers, spiritual events relating to Buddhism, food festivals and more. Some are found in hidden small towns in the countryside, and others are located right in the heart of the bustling city of Seoul.

Each of these famous festivals in South Korea allows you to really dive head first into the theme of the event as an independent visitor as well as those with their families as they have something suitable for all age groups.

Of course, there are many other festivals throughout the year but these are the most popular and best-known events for locals and foreigners alike. Take a look and see which festival catches your eye, I just know you’ll love checking them out!

Country:South Korea (Republic of Korea)
Currency:South Korean Won / KRW
Do you need a visa to visit as tourists?Check here

Most tourists are allowed to stay up to 90 days in Korea. If you want to stay longer then check out how to apply for a working holiday visa. Once you arrive in Korea I can help you get set up as an expat too!

A hole in the ice at the fishing festival in Hwacheon, one of the most famous festivals in South Korea

Hwacheon Ice Fishing Festival

Location: Gangwon-do, Hwacheon-gun, Hwacheon-eup, Jung-ri, 196

This is one of the top festivals that takes place in the winter in South Korea where you can fish for the famous sancheoneo (mountain trout). It takes place every January and attendees have the chance to try their luck at ice fishing either with rods or with their bare hands.

You can exchange your caught fish for a grilled version to eat and enjoy while trying to stay warm in the freezing tundra. There are many areas to explore the other festivities on top of the frozen lake and this event is a lot of fun for all ages.

Tickets cost 10,000 won / £6

2023 dates: Jan 7th – Jan 29th
2024 dates: TBC

The Jeju Fire festival with fire on a hill and large fireworks in the sky
Image courtesy of istock

Jeju Fire Festival

Location: San 59-8, Bongseong-ri, Jeju-si, Jeju-do ( 제주 제주시 애월읍 봉성리 산59-8 )

The Jeju Fire Festival is another annual event, except this one is on Jeju Island. It’s an act that celebrates Bangae. Bangae is an old tradition from the nomadic past of the inhabitants of the island. Each year to ring in this tradition the locals burn old grass as a way of praying for good health for the year to come.

Well-known highlights of the event include the Oreum Fire Lighting that, according to ancient tradition, is supposed to bring in a great year of harvest.

Compared to many of the other famous festivals that take place here in South Korea, there seem to be fewer foreigners that attend this one.

2023 dates: Mar 9th – Mar 12th
2024 dates: TBC

White and Pink cherry blossoms over the small stream in Jinhae for one of the most famous festivals in South Korea

Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival

Location: 경화역 경화동 Jinhae-gu, Changwon-si, Gyeongsangnam-do (경남 창원시 진해구 경화동)

Every spring, the Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival takes place in this southern town famous for having a large naval base. Visitors from all across Korea come to visit popular locations such as Gyeongwha Station, Yeojwacheon Stream & Love Bridge, Cherry Blossom Pop-Up Market, Jinhae NFRDI Environment Eco-Park, The Rainbow Owl Stairs and more.

It’s one of the largest festivals of its kind in South Korea and brings in so many tourists. You can easily attend this event independently, or if you prefer you can join a guided tour instead.

2023 dates: Mar 24th – Apr 6th
2024 dates: TBC

A small field of tulips in Jeju Mazeland

Taean Tulip Festival

The Taean Tulip Festival is the biggest of the famous spring festivals in South Korea. Every year the Taean Tulip Park is filled with multicoloured tulips that stretch as far as the eye can see. This is one of the most popular photo opportunities in the area and Instagram is normally filled with people taking pictures surrounded by tulip fields.

You’ll find multiple photo zones and tulips in almost every colour. Not only is this a huge event in Korea, but it’s also one of the 5 biggest tulip festivals in the world next to those found in the Netherlands! There are over 300 species of tulips found here so you’ll be overwhelmed with the sea of colour.

2023 dates: April 12th – May 7th
2024 dates: TBC

Colourful paper lanterns hanging from the ceiling of the temple during the Lotus Lantern Festival - one of the most famous festivals in South Korea -

Seoul Lotus Lantern Festival

Location: 55, Ujeongguk-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul ( 서울특별시 종로구 우정국로 55 )

The Lotus Lantern Festival (known as Yeon Deung Hoe) is an annual event celebrating Buddha’s birthday. It is one of the most famous festivals in South Korea and draws in large crowds for the multi-day event. Gathering on the streets of the Jongno neighbourhood,

You’ll find traditional paper lanterns covering Jogyesa & Bongeusa Temples and will see people lining the streets ready for huge parades. This is an event that showcases not only Korean Buddhists but also those who share the same faith from other countries throughout Asia.

The entire event is family-friendly and lasts for days, with the largest events taking place on the weekends. You can enjoy parade floats, dance shows, a concert, lighting lanterns and more.

2023 dates: May 11th – May 28th
2024 dates: TBC

Redhead walking through a red rose tunnel at the Seoul Rose Festival

Seoul Rose Festival

Location: Seoul Jungnang-gu Muk-dong 361-2

The Seoul Rose Festival is one of the most famous festivals that takes place in the springtime in South Korea. It’s an event that lasts around 2 weeks annually and has a 5 km long rose archway for visitors to admire. They have market stalls, a concert stage but most importantly, roses in every colour imaginable.

Along with flowers, you’ll find plenty of photo opportunities and chances to admire handmade items being sold by the locals. It’s an event for everyone.

Located in the Jungnang Rose Park in Seoul, this is another one of our famous festivals here in South Korea. You can enjoy being out in nature, surrounded by flowers and plants, all without leaving the city.

2023 dates: May 13th – May 28th
2024 dates: TBC

Me standing in mud near a Boryeong beach for one of the most famous festivals in South Korea

Boryeong Mud Festival

Location: Mud Plaza, 5 Boryeong-si, Chungcheongnam-do (충남 보령시 해수욕장10길 5)

After a cosmetic company used the mud on a Boryeong beach to market their products, this festival has become of the most famous festivals in South Korea. Every summer visitors flock to this western coast to get covered in mud at the Boryeong Mud Festival and enjoy a few weeks of events and activities.

It’s believed that the mud in this region is filled with healthy minerals and good for our skin so that makes it much more enjoyable when getting dirty. There are concert stages with popular artists along with mudslides, mud fights, challenges and anything else you can think of relating to mud.

As this is an event suitable for all ages, there are different sections of the festival scattered throughout the town. This means you will likely need to walk between each area. There’s an area dedicated specifically for children, one area for 18+ only, and even a pet-friendly area so your furry friends can get in on the festivities too!

2023 dates: July 21st – Aug 6th
2024 dates: TBC

Me standing with a white tshirt in a swimming pool of squashed tomatoes at one of the most famous festivals in South Korea

Hwacheon Tomato Festival

Location: Sanae-myeon,​ Hwacheon-gun, Gangwon-do (강원도 화천군 사내면)

This is the second festival to take place in Hwacheon that draws in such a big crowd every year. August is the peak of the tomato season so this countryside town likes to celebrate. Similar to the world-famous tomato festivals in Spain of the same nature, this Tomato Festival is another event where attendees will need a shower straight after.

One of the main activities to take place here is the “gold ring hunt” where hundreds of people descend on a huge street-sized inflatable pool of tomatoes in order to find 10 golden rings. There are also many market stalls selling tomato-based dishes, tomato-flavoured sauces and you guessed it, more tomato-based items.

You’ll find attendees in festival t-shirts, tomato hats (that match the orange Jeju ones) and extra red accessories to suit the tomato theme. Wear red and anything you’re happy to get wet!

2023 dates: Aug 3rd – Aug 6th
2024 dates: TBC

Holding a watergun at the water fight music event in Seoul - one of the most famous festivals in South Korea

Water Gun Music Festival

This is an annual music festival which took a 4-year break and came back fighting! Everyone was encouraged to bring their own water guns and they didn’t disappoint. Throughout the 2 day event, you could listen to popular music in the park with an ongoing water fight happening all around you.

If you want to stay dry you can wear the poncho p[roivided to every attendee or spend some time in the “survivor zone”. There are activities, games and events throughout the festival all relating to the theme of water fight battles so you’ll find military-style selfie walls and “ammo” rewards falling from a drone in the sky with mini parachutes.

This is one of the famous festivals in South Korea that allows you to enjoy the hot summer by cooling off and enjoying a dance in the artificial rain. Now the next question is, what is your water gun of choice?

2023 dates: Aug 12th – Aug 13th
2024 dates: TBC

Final Thoughts on Famous Festivals in South Korea

There you have it, a list of the most famous festivals that take place annually across South Korea. Each of these events suits different interests and people of all ages so the whole family can enjoy the festivities.

No matter what season or time of year you head out to Korea, there is likely a festival happening somewhere just waiting for you to participate. Hopefully, this list above will give you some inspiration to head out and book your own famous festivals & experiences to see all the things South Korea has to offer.

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