February in Jeju: Prepare for spring, together with Jeju gods


Jeju Island is the southernmost region of Korea. So by the month of February we’re already bidding winter farewell. There are plenty of fantastic places on the island where you can greet spring in style.

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    Recommended sightseeing spots for February

    <Prepare for spring together with Jeju gods>

    Jeju Island is the southernmost region of Korea. So by the month of February we’re already bidding winter farewell. There are plenty of fantastic places on the island where you can greet spring in style.

    Rituals in the hometowns of the gods

    1. Songdang · Waheuldangje, Tamnaguk Ipchungut

    February in Jeju (January according to the lunar calendar) is busy with shamanistic rituals, or gut, which are held in each village. There are some 18,000 Jeju gods according to the island’s rich shamanistic tradition. The village shrine, or dang, is where the local gods reside. It is a sacred place where villagers go to honor the deity or deities and pray for the well-being and safety of the community. 

    During the Ipchungut spring ritual, which is held on January 13th of the lunar calendar (February 9th on the solar calendar), islanders pray for good luck and honor the memory of their ancestors. This dates back to when the island was the Tamna Kingdom before it became part of Korea in the early 1400s.

    Viewing the apricot flowers of late winter

    2. Hueree, Norimae, Hallim Park

    The apricot tree is prized for its fruit, flowers and fragrance. The timing of its full splendor is particularly cherished — and has been for centuries — as it is a welcome sight after the sparse, cold winter months. The flowers are sometimes referred to as “snow flowers” because they blossom while there is still snow on the ground. 

    This is the favorite subject of artists and poets, who capture the flowers’ beauty at this time of year in their work. As you walk around Jeju in February, you’ll spot the small, white apricot blossoms on trees which appear much like pieces of popped popcorn suspended from their branches. And, of course, there are plenty of apricot flower-related viewing events and festivals held around the island at this time — notably at Hueree, Norimae and Hallim Park. 

    Beauty in light: Media facade art

    3. Jeju Herb Garden, Ilchul Land

    A luminaire is a festival of light that makes the cold, dark winter nights beautiful and meaningful. At Jeju Herb Garden, some 3 million LED lights are strung up around the expansive grounds. Though the night may be cold, thousands of visitors come to marvel at the spectacle and walk around the garden late into the evening. An animated projection on the side of one of the garden buildings is mesmerizing, especially for kids. 

    Another such display is found at Ilchul Land. There the Media Art Exhibition at Micheon Cave brings nature and art together. For example, there is a unique art exhibit deep in the cave with a beautiful LED-lit field of white flowers. Colored lights also illuminate the cave’s walls in aesthetic patterns. The exhibition has been growing and changing over the last 10 years, so there’s always something new to experience there. 

    A walk among snow-covered stone fences

    4. Gimnyeong·Woljeong Geotrail

    Those who have been lucky enough to walk among the black basalt stone fences of Jeju while the snow falls silently will truly cherish this memory. The contrast of the black stone and white snow is harmonious, and the snow effectively absorbs ambient sound, adding to one’s sense of peacefulness. The fields of Gimnyeong and Woljeong are famous for their expansive, flat areas delineated by the Jeju stone fences, or doldam. After months of cold winter winds blowing across these fields from the north shore, residents can marvel at this spectacular sight. A geotrail passes through this region, so anyone can now experience and appreciate this unique Jeju scene for themselves. 

    Black and orange: Jeju winter colors

    5. Malmi Volcanic Cone

    In the winter, when the earth appears dead, the tops of Jeju carrots pop out of the dark soil in dramatic fashion. If you climb to the top of Malmi volcanic cone in Gujwa-eup, you see them spread out below you in a rich symphony of orange and black. Olle walking trail No. 1 passes through this area from which you can see Udo Island and Jimi Oreum. Getting to the top of Malmi is an easy 30-minute hike.  

    Winter forest adorned with icicles 

    6. Saryeoni Forest 

    Saryeoni has a path which winds through a thick cedar forest. Many people associate this forest scene with Jeju, and in winter it is a favorite walk for its shelter from the cold winter wind. In February small, beautiful yellow “ice flowers” bloom here and there. Saryeoni means “sacred forest” or “wrapped threads so as not to scatter”...  the trail is relatively flat and mild — so it’s a walk suitable for all ages. The scent and sight of the cedars — a beloved and protected area of Jeju — is truly a public treasure you need to see for yourself.

    Seogwipo seaviews and Hallasan vistas at a glance

    7. Gunsan Volcanic Cone

    Hallasan Mountain hidden in the winter. With snow covering its peak and slopes, the stark contrast of white and black brings its profile into sharp definition. From each direction, Hallasan Mountain takes on a slightly different shape and character. From the southwest, at Gunsan Oreum, you can take in a 360-degree panorama with Jungmun, Sanbangsan Mountain, the southern ocean and, of course, the dominant feature of Hallasan Mountain tying it all together. Gunsan is a very popular vantagepoint from which to enjoy the sunrise and sunset, as well as paragliding and photography. It’s good reputation for scenic splendor is well deserved.

    Where spring begins along the sea

    8. Oedolgae, Dombenanggol (Olle Walking Course 7)

    A place along the southern coast of Jeju Island which is famous for its light winds and warmer-than-average temperature. So in February, as you walk along this shore path amid the pine trees and beautiful ocean views to the south, you can get the impression that spring has come just a little bit earlier here than other spots around the island. The name Dombenanggol refers to the flat rock formation that resembles a chopping board, or dombe in the Jeju language. Due to the shape of the coastline and geology of the area, this was an important source of fresh water for villagers in centuries past.

    Light, refreshing, nutritious

    9. Sea Bream Radish Soup, Sea Bream Village Taeheung 2-ri

    One representative fish of Jeju Island is undoubtedly the okdom, or sea bream. It is a small, lean and tender fish that is known for being good for the appetite in the cold winter months. The charming, quiet village of Taeheung is known for its sea bream catch, which is sold at auction everyday at noon. This fish is best served fresh, not frozen, so the early morning catch is sold live and consumed as soon as possible to ensure its excellent quality and taste in Jeju dishes.

    Nature's vitamin drink

    10. Hallabong Juice

    It’s the winter season when Jeju Island’s natural vitamin drink is at its more needed and most delicious. Hallabong orange juice needs no artificially added sweetener or coloring. It’s known to help boost the immune system and improve one’s skin tone, as well as being an antioxidant. You can find Hallabong juice served in cafes around the island, as well as at traditional markets like the Seogwipo Maeil Olle Market. It’s nice to know that something so fresh, healthy and delicious is locally made and readily available during the winter months.  

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※ The above information was written on 2017-01-19. Please confirm the information prior to your trip.
※ Unauthorized use of the content above (text, photos and videos) is prohibited and subject to copyright by the Jeju Tourism Organization.