Cherry Blossoms Sakura 벚꽃
Now it is that time of year when the ornamental cherry trees bloom.
Cherry Blossoms are called bot-goat (벚꽃) in Korea or Sakura in Japan.
Actually this is from last year along some farm road
There are many famous places to look at cherry trees blossoming in Korea. The most famous place is the Jinhae Cherry Tree festival in Jinhae which is on the southeast coast. There is a famous tree-lined railroad track. It's so busy when the trees are blooming unless you are blooming mad, stay away. Maybe early morning mid-week is okay.
SKKU natural science campus is very nice and not busy
The other two very famous places are in Seoul. One of them is called Yeouido Park which is across from the Congress building. It's a huge park, but when the trees are blooming, it's very crowded and hardly romantic or relaxing. The other one is Seokchon-Lake which is near Jamsil Lotte World Mall. This place is crowded because it is just a narrow path around the lake and it can take hours to walk around something that should take 20 minutes.
With this in mind, I recommend you just go to nearly any park. The easiest way to check if they have cherry trees nearby just look at pictures of the place on the Internet taken during spring, or learn to identify a cherry tree that isn't blooming.
Even most of the streets are lined with cherry trees. It's either that or stinky gino trees pretty much. Unlike the ornamental cherry trees, you can eat the fruit from ginkgo trees. It is a unique and nice taste, but they do smell bad. The leaves look nice though. But that's for fall, now is spring!
I've even seen entire hillsides covered with cherry trees. They look great. This year I only stayed in the city and around my neighborhood. But I'm sure they will come back next year.
So now let me introduce you about the history of the cherry tree in Korea. Actually, Korea and Japan like to fight about many things. Cherry trees are no exception. Japan is probably the most famous place in the world to look at cherry trees. I've been there a few times and I will see hundreds of people staring at the same tree with cameras worth more than a cheap apartment. They will be looking for the perfect blossom and perfect tree shape, unlike Korea which likes the scenery.
Anyway, they used to fight over who got the cherry tree first. Korea has a native tree called a King Cherry and calls cherry blossoms bot-goat. Japan has a tree called a Yoshino Cherry and calls it Sakura. Actually, they were arguing about the origin of the Yoshino before it was determined to be from Japan.
It was known that Japan culture of cherry tree viewing spread during the time Japan colonized Korea. They planted cherry trees along city streets, in palaces and parks etc.
After Japan left, in the 1950s, Koreans chopped them all down. They said it was for revenge, but it was probably for firewood and because of the civil war.
In any case, Korea said the Yoshino originated from the King Cherry which Japan stole. The King Cherry is wild and isn't really common, and it's the Yoshino that is planted everywhere. Long story short, they did some DNA testing and put that argument to rest. The Yoshino has been separate from the King Cherry Tree long before Japan or Korea existed. At least today we can all enjoy a love of cherry trees.
Tastes like a normal can of Kirin
After looking at trees, I was tired. I bought a fancy kirin can to celebrate spring. They are sold this time every year. I just put it in front of my homemade alcohols for a photo. In case you are wondering from left to right is ginseng, bush clover, maesil (plum), omija (red berry).
People even eat cherry blossoms, too. Or try to put them into thigs for decoration. They don't really do much. A cherry blossom tastes like nothing. You would probably have to eat a lot for nutrition. Leave them for the bees I guess. Soon they will fall down and it will look like snow. By then most of the trees will have little leaves.