Walking a flower-lined path
Travel among Jeju's autumn flowers
The autumn flowers of Jeju are somewhat less colorful than summer flowers, but they are no less beautiful. From the white of the buckwheat blossoms, the browns of the pampas grass, and the pink and purple cosmos, let’s explore these natural hues together as we walk through Jeju during the autumn season.
Buckwheat fields galore
Ora-dong buckwheat field
You might be inclined to save your Jeju trip for the spring, but despite the rural environment that the island is famous for — with its stony, windy and mountainous terrain that makes farming difficult — it is still a beautiful and bountiful home. The Jeju people have adapted over the centuries, finding crops that would grow well here. This includes buckwheat, one of the five grains which are said to have been provided to the Jeju people by the island’s goddess of farming.
It’s no surprise, then, that buckwheat can be found all over the island. These fields tend to be very large and very picturesque. This particular field in Ora-dong is 250,000 pyeong (826,000m2) in size and from 2016 now opens for everyone to enjoy over the course of two weeks from mid-September. This field is located on the mid-mountainous area, and with its white blossoms, can at a glance resemble a bank of fluffy clouds that are at eye-level. Combine this with the expansive greens of the other crops and Jeju City center to the north, and you have a marvelous destination for locals and tourists.
In early autumn it tends to rain quite a bit on Jeju, perfect for helping the buckwheat thrive. These hearty and healthy plants grow quickly into what looks like fields of popped popcorn. If it happens to be foggy, the expanse takes on a distinctly mysterious air. The entire world seems like it’s enveloped in the clouds.
Ora-dong buckwheat field
Address San 76 Ora 2-dong, Jeju City Hours AM09:30 ~ PM07:00, Weekend AM09:30 ~ PM10:00 Parking Free parking available
Endless waves of pampas grass
With the autumn colors come the distinctive sounds of falling leaves and the melancholy smell of decaying plant matter — a natural step in the circle of life. Close your eyes for a moment and take in scent and sounds of Jeju’s mountains and volcanic cones.
Traveling along the Pyeonghwa-ro Highway, you’ll spot to the north a volcanic cone that is named after a rising star. Saebyeol Oreum is a large oreum covered in the silver, gray and brown stocks of wild grass and somewhat taller pampas grass — called eoksae — which sway in the ever-present wind. If you’re not familiar with pampas grass or if it doesn’t grow naturally where you live, then this might be your first, dramatic introduction to this magnificent plant.
And what a great location, too. This is where the annual Jeju Fire Festival is held in March. At that time, part of Saebyeol Oreum is ceremonially set alight as thousands of people come to celebrate the coming of the new agricultural year.
If you want to climb Saebyeol, it’s not that far — though the path itself is somewhat steep. It’s fine to stop halfway up and catch your breath and perhaps stretch your legs. You definitely need to wear comfortable shoes and take care about the steep slope… young children and the elderly especially need to watch their step. If you take these precautions, though, the journey itself is very rewarding and you are sure to make many beautiful memories here.
At the summit of Saebyeol Oreum, there’s a remarkable, panoramic view from the sea to the northwest and Hallasan Mountain to the east. Here you can experience the essential beauty of Jeju as you are serenaded by the swaying grass.
Address San 59-3 Bongseong-ri, Aewol-eup, Jeju City Hours Open daily Parking Free parking available
A splendid road lined with pampas grass
Autumn on Jeju means you’re going to encounter a lot of buckwheat and pampas grass. This is especially true on a 6-kilometer stretch of road from Songdang to Susan called Geumbaekjo-ro. When the sun moves across the sky from about 3 p.m. to dusk, every blade of grass and twitching leaf seems to glow on its own with a golden hue. The road itself does not have a shoulder to stop on, so be sure not to block traffic by getting out of your car. Instead, drive slowly and safely with the traffic and take in the romantic scenery. If you do want to stop and take some photographs among the foliage, then make your way to the large area near the observatory.
Address 2234-3 Songdang-ri, Gujwa-eup, Jeju City Hours Open daily Parking No parking available along the road. Please use caution.
Maidens of autumn
If you come from a country closer to the north or south pole, this might sound strange but autumn on Jeju brings with it many blossoming flowers. If you were to ask a local about what might be a typical flower for this time of year, eight out of ten might answer “the cosmos.” When the wind blows, this dainty, pastel colored flower with its pink, purple and white petals looks much like a young girl shyly turning her head. And since the cosmos is very commonly found all around the island at this time of year, it’s a truly beautiful and seasonal image. If you’re hunting for the best spots for cosmos viewing, try Noksan Road near the Jeongseok Airport Hanger in Gasi-ri, Seogwipo.
However, if you want to experience the smell of the cosmos in a more relaxed setting, not so close to the traffic and crowds of that popular spot, then try the folk village at Seongeup-ri. Here the cosmos grows all over, nestled in patches all through the village and its surrounding grasslands. Here you can take as much time as you need to fully enjoy the autumn foliage. That shy young girl is waiting for you!
Seongeup Folk Village
Address 7-1, 22 beon-gil Seongeup Jeongeuihyeon-ro, Pyoseon-myeon, Seogwipo Parking Free parking available Phone 064-787-1179
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