November 26, 2023

Hydrangeas and Culture: A Comprehensive Journey through 25 Hydrangea Hotspots across Korea with Google Maps Integration


Hydrangeas: A Symbol of Change and Enduring Love

Hydrangeas, with their changing colors and abundant blossoms, announce the arrival of monsoon season in Korea, earning them the name "water bearer" flowers. Due to their need for copious amounts of water, these flowers start to bloom with the advent of the early summer rains, heralding the end of spring. The sight of hydrangeas gracefully weathering the frequent showers and the fickleness of June weather is a gift to the beholder - a symbol of elegant resilience. 

The hydrangea's affinity for water extends beyond just its name. In Latin, it carries the meaning of a 'water vessel', and it's also referred to with the unique moniker of 'rain-following flower' in Japan. In literature and cinema, hydrangeas often serve as lyrical metaphors due to their poetic allure, adding a touch of serenity and melancholy to narratives.

Interestingly, the symbolic meaning of hydrangeas in Korea is somewhat contrasting. In Jeju Island, locals fondly refer to hydrangeas as 'goblin flowers'. This curious nickname springs from the flower's unpredictable color changes, which are reminiscent of the capricious nature of goblins from Korean folklore. Indeed, the soil composition determines the color of hydrangeas; they turn purple in strongly acidic soil and lean towards pink in alkaline conditions.

Just as its colors vary depending on the soil acidity, the symbolism of hydrangeas is associated with 'fickleness' or 'change of heart'. Despite this, hydrangeas remain a popular gift between lovers. The changing hues of the hydrangea mirror the fluctuations in our relationships - the quarrels and reconciliations, the cooling and rekindling of affections. Much like our love that melts at a heartfelt letter or a thoughtful gift, the hydrangea hides a 'true heart' beneath its changeable facade.

Hydrangeas, loved worldwide, have a distinct presence in Korea, where they thrive in the country's rich, fertile soil. While there are 30+ species of hydrangeas worldwide, the ones native to Korea have gained global acclaim. The fame of Korean hydrangeas dates back to the late 18th century. Even then, among the various hydrangea species, the ones native to Korea stood out with their vibrant and robust blossoms. The splendid harmony of beautiful blooms and luxuriant leaves captivated Westerners, and through propagation by British, French, and German horticulturists, these particular hydrangeas spread across America and Europe in the early 20th century.

With the captivating backstory of hydrangeas setting the stage, let us embark on a journey across Korea, exploring the most mesmerizing hydrangea hotspots in the country.

In our exploration of the 25 hydrangea hotspots across Korea, we've selected seven particular locations to visually showcase the stunning beauty of these blooms. It's worth noting that while we are spotlighting these seven spots, each location in our list boasts its own unique allure and charm. The selection here is due to the constraints of article length and does not imply that these are necessarily superior to the others.

As you embark on your hydrangea journey through Korea, we invite you to experience the captivating beauty of these flowers through the pictures we've included below. However, we strongly encourage you to explore all the locations we've mentioned in this guide for a truly immersive experience in the world of hydrangeas.

Please enjoy these picturesque glimpses into Korea's hydrangea landscapes. Keep in mind, though, that pictures can only convey so much—the real-life beauty of these floral paradises is something that words and images can merely hint at.

Yulbom Botanical Garden(율봄식물원) (Gwangju, Gyeonggi Province)

Following Hwadam Forest, the Yulbom Botanical Garden in Gwangju, Gyeonggi Province, is another unmissable destination for those seeking picture-perfect hydrangea shots. This botanical garden is so popular that open runs are organized just to secure a spot for a visit. 

While the hydrangea collection at Yulbom Botanical Garden may not be extensive, its well-arranged photo zones make it a worthwhile visit for those eager to capture stunning photographs with hydrangeas. So much so, visitors are often seen patiently lining up for their turn to snap pictures in the hydrangea-themed photo zones. 

After you've had your fill of hydrangea viewing, the garden offers an approximately 30-minute to 1-hour walking course, perfect for leisurely strolling and soaking in the beauty of various other plants. Additional activities like animal feeding experiences and a tomato harvesting program make Yulbom Botanical Garden an excellent choice for a family outing. Children will certainly enjoy interacting with nature in such a hands-on manner. 

Taejongsa Temple(태종사) (Taejongdae, Busan)

The hydrangeas at Taejongsa Temple in Busan offer a different vibe altogether. Nestled within the peaceful temple premises, the vibrant hydrangeas against the backdrop of the sea make for an enchanting sight. While you're in Busan, a trip to Haeundae Beach or the famous Jagalchi Fish Market could round off your visit perfectly.

Songlim Park(송림공원) (Haeundae, Busan)

Songlim Park is another haven for hydrangea enthusiasts in Busan. Its expansive hydrangea gardens are a sight to behold. Also, when in Haeundae, one can't miss the opportunity to try some local seafood delicacies or visit the Haeundae Sand Festival, which usually happens in the summer.

Sooksom Island (쑥섬)  (Goheung-gun, Jeollanam-do)

Tucked away in the Goheung County is the picturesque Sooksom Island. This beautiful island is not only home to a stunning display of hydrangeas but also offers a myriad of other plant species for visitors to marvel at. The island's tranquil beauty, combined with its lush flora, makes it a haven for nature enthusiasts. While on Sooksom Island, try exploring the walking trails that provide breathtaking views of the sea. The hydrangeas on Sooksom Island, with their vibrant colors, further enhance the serene beauty of this charming destination.

Honinji (혼인지) (Seogwipo, Jeju Island)

Honinji, a key hydrangea spot on the eastern part of Jeju Island, is an excellent detour if you're already planning a trip to Seongsan. Open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and with no admission fee, you can comfortably visit this charming spot at your leisure. For those seeking the perfect shot or those who prefer a tranquil environment to enjoy the blooms, it's advisable to arrive early as Honinji, like many hydrangea destinations in Jeju, often draws a significant number of visitors.

Honinji, designated as Jeju Monument No. 17, is a pond known to be the location where the founder of Tamna, Samsin, married Seo Gonghae, who had arrived on the shores of Onpyeong-ri in Seongsan-eup, inside a wooden box. According to the information board at Honinji, the location with the most hydrangea blossoms and the popular photo spot is the Three Princesses Memorial Tower (No. 6 on the map).

Dapdani Hydrangea Field (답다니수국밭) (Seogwipo, Jeju Island)

The field, featuring a captivating blend of tangerine trees and hydrangeas, also includes specially designed spots for capturing great photos.The vista of a farm building nestled among tangerine trees and hydrangeas creates a uniquely beautiful scene, allowing you to feel as if you've stepped into a dreamy painting. The farm is surrounded by an expansive path of hydrangeas that, due to their abundant blossoms, stimulate the senses with beautiful views.

The farm is also densely filled with tangerine trees. Tangerine trees, hydrangeas, a warehouse, and palm trees together create a scenery that is quintessentially Jeju. The Dapdani Hydrangea Field, carefully cultivated and maintained over many years, thanks to the persistent and meticulous efforts of the caretakers, offers an extremely picturesque scene for which one can only feel grateful.

Manore Blanc (마노르블랑) (Seogwipo, Jeju Island)

Manore Blanc, located in Seogwipo City, is a beautiful botanical garden. Being located at the southernmost point of Korea, Manore Blanc's outdoor hydrangeas are among the first to bloom in the country. Here, you can find over 7,000 hydrangeas of around 30 different species, including Jeju hydrangeas – a unique collection only to be found in Manore Blanc. The variety and quantity of hydrangeas have increased compared to the previous year, demonstrating the love and care put into cultivating them. Visitors can spot these enchanting hydrangeas all around Manore Blanc.

In addition to the magnificent view, Manore Blanc has prepared various trails and photo zones where visitors can capture their hydrangea-themed pictures. Enjoy an outdoor piano busking performance in the grass garden, adding another layer of charm to your visit. All these make Manore Blanc a place of joy and a feast for the senses.

These hydrangea spots across South Korea each offer unique appeal. Their combination of natural beauty, cultural depth, and local delicacies provide a rounded travel experience. Remember, though, a trip to these destinations would be most memorable during the hydrangea bloom season. If you're someone who appreciates photography, nature, or unique experiences, consider adding these hydrangea locations to your South Korean visit. But, be mindful of the brief bloom season—plan your trip accordingly to witness the hydrangeas at their best.

These wonderful places offer more than just sights—they give you a chance to delve into South Korea's vibrant culture and rich heritage. So, get ready, take your camera, and embark on an enchanting journey through the country's hydrangea-filled landscapes!

To help you embark on this mesmerizing journey, we've integrated Google Maps into our guide. Below you'll find the location pins for each of these 25 hydrangea hotspots. Whether you're in the heart of Seoul, exploring the southern and eastern coasts, or wandering on the charming Jeju Island, these maps will help you navigate through the most awe-inspiring hydrangea landscapes in Korea.

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