It’s the cherry blossom season again! This year, the buds seem to bloom much later than last. If my memories serve me right, cherry blossom season in Jeju started in mid-march. However, this year, the cherry blossoms will probably peak in the first week of April. What a perfect time to visit Wedding Road in Hadong!
I was also strolling along this pretty, yet underrated, cherry blossom street at the end of March of last year. This street is located in Hwagae, Hadong-gun, Gyeongsangnam Province. During the Japanese colonial era, the colonial government opened this new road and the residents decided to plant around 1,200 cherry blossom trees and 200 peach blossom trees (hong do-hwa) along its edge. And now, this road has become known as the most scenic spring road in Korea today.
How to Get to Wedding Road in Hadong
From Seoul Nambu Terminal, it takes 3 hours 25 minutes to reach Hwagae Bus Station. Another option would be a train to Busan, Jinju, or Masan, then take an intercity bus to Hwagae. I must say that there are not many choices for transportation to this small village unless you own/rent a car.
In fact, driving a car might be the best option since cherry blossom trees can be seen lining the roads to the village (even starting from Gurye!!). If you come by bus, you need to walk around 2 kilometers in the direction of Hwagae Middle School. If you want to go to Ssanggye Temple, you have to walk further. And so, I highly recommend traveling by car. It will be one of the most scenic drives of your life!
The Tale of Everlasting Love at the Wedding Road
Wedding Road has been dubbed the ‘most beautiful road’ in Korea and there is a legend about its beauty, too!
Legend has it that if you walk along the road, holding hands with your significant other, then you both will live a life full of love for one hundred years. Hence, the legend has led to the road being named ‘Wedding Road’ (honye-gil).
I looked for the source of the legend, thinking that it may be based on folklore in the region. However, I could not find anything about the legend except a small wooden plaque in the area that talks about the history of the place.
The plaque states that if a couple walks under the falling petals of cherry blossom and along the shade of the neatly lined pine trees, they would find great happiness and be blessed with a long-lasting relationship. The cherry blossom path is romantic and impressive enough to ingrain into people’s memory. And so, couples who walk under the flower path together would never forget about it and keep wanting to see it together again.
Well, as I witnessed its beauty myself, though I was all alone, I could see why the legend exists. I have traveled to many places claiming to be a ‘must-visit cherry blossom destination’. Yet, I felt that this scenic road is by far the prettiest but rarely mentioned. If magic exists and the legend is true, I believe that this scenic road can create such an idyllic scene that couples who walk along it wish to live in romantic bliss together for one hundred years.
Other Things to do in Hadong
Hadong Tea Plantations
Hadong is famous for its tea plantation and tea culture. Located at the feet of Jirisan, you can find a cluster of tea fields and some of the best teahouses in the world. Hadong has a thousand years of history related to the cultivation of green tea. In fact, Hadong’s green tea is so world-famous that the World Expo for tea was held there. Plus, you can visit the rather extensive Tea Museum.
Hadong Tea Museum
The tea museum is small and has no entrance fee, however, each exhibit is in Korean so it could be hard to understand for visitors without a high degree of Korean comprehension. The most interesting feature in this museum for me was the interactive screen. There, you can learn how to produce good tea from tea leaves. It was so hard to figure out how to do it properly, none of my friends were successful in making their tea.
Not far from the Hwagae Bus Terminal, you can find Hwagae Market. There you can find vendors selling Hadong’s famous tea products and local food. I went to this market last year and it was still bustling with visitors and sellers despite the pandemic restrictions. The market is small enough that you can stroll around it leisurely within one hour. As a bonus, the residents also planted a lot of cherry blossom trees surrounding the market.
Hadong Cafes with a View
Along the Hwagae Stream, you can see both the tea plantations and cherry blossom trees on either side, as well as some cafes and restaurants. I think every café and restaurant in Hadong has a beautiful view of cherry blossom. Since Hadong is famous for its tea, I’d suggest finding a good teahouse to sit at for a bit while marveling at the view!
Looking for more cherry blossom viewing locations? Click Here to read about the best places to view cherry blossoms in Seoul!