Korea's largest cherry blossom festival gets under way in Jinhae, South Gyeongsang Province this weekend.
The southern port city is one of the best places where visitors can enjoy the early bloom of pink petals, so the festival always draws a huge crowd of visitors from all over the country looking to capture some memorable moments under the cherry blossom trees.
The annual festival starts its 10-day run until April 10 with an opening celebration on Saturday, followed by a variety of performances and events.
A military band from the nearby naval base will hold parades each day from April 6-8 and the base will also be open to visitors during the festival.
One of the must-see spots in the town is Yeojwa Stream. Paths along the cherry-tree-lined stream offer a stunning view. A bridge over the stream is one of the best scenic spots. Couples taking pictures there are a common sight at this time of year.
A variety of nighttime events are scheduled, so staying a night there would be a great way to fully enjoy the festival and look around the city.
Another scenic spot is Gyeonghwa Station, a small, picturesque stop on the local railway where cherry blossom trees lining some 800 m of railroad track create a beautiful backdrop. Each time a train passes, pink petals swirl in the wind, offering a breathtaking sight.
Jinhae Tower is also not to be missed. Visitors can take a monorail to the tower and enjoy panoramic views of the city covered with cherry blossoms from the top floor.
A fireworks show will light up the night sky and an air show featuring the Air Force's Black Eagles will take place next week. The aerobatics show performed by a fleet of eight supersonic aircraft is expected to offer a thrilling spectacle.
On the sidelines of the festival, an international motorboat racing competition featuring some 200 racers runs until this weekend. A night flea market where visitors can buy food, local products and souvenirs opens for a week next week.
Meanwhile, the Changwon municipal government has set up kiosks at about a dozen spots and arranged additional parking spaces. It also operates shuttle buses for visitors during the festival.
The municipal government has been working on promoting the city to attract more visitors. As part of its efforts, the city will host the ISSF World Shooting Championships in late August. There will also be more events in the city throughout the year, such as a K-pop concert, the annual chrysanthemum festival and other international conferences and expos.