Namsan is our favourite mountain in Seoul. It’s reasonably small (can be confused for a hill) and is easily accessible from Myeongdong Station (opposite UNIQLO). The mountain has multiple access points (Itaewon, Noksapyeong, & Hannam) and trails. We’ve walked along most of them, but there could be many routes that we’ve not explored.

Namsan (NSeoul Tower) is a ‘tourist attraction’ that we like to show visiting family and friends. We’ve seen it in summer, autumn, and winter. We’ve never visited during cherry blossoms because it’s hard to predict the exact peak. My brother, sister-in-law, and nephew visited us last April and it was the perfect opportunity to double as tour guides and tourists. They live in Europe and were excited to discover South Korea — especially after seeing the ton of pictures that I’ve sent them.

There’s also a cable car that leads to the top. The only time we have taken it was in 2015, when I accompanied Basil on a work trip. We decided to split into two groups. By brother, nephew, and Basil would take the stairs. My sister-in-law and I would take the cable car to get a different view and pictures.

There were hardly any people on a Friday afternoon. It’s a very different story on weekends. The cherry blossoms looked spectacular from the cable car and the mountain was covered with azaleas and forsythia.

The walking trail has multiple routes and can lead you to a different destination if you skip the boards. We’ve found some investing shrines and memorials along the way. It’s best to not lose sight of the tower.

Viewing spots and photo-ops are the highlight of the walking trail. You can get a panoramic view of Seoul City and the mountains behind. If you’ve visited often you might even spot some popular buildings.

The cable car and stairs eventually join at the viewing platform. My thirteen-year-old nephew reached the designated meeting spot — a few minutes after us. We were taken by surprise because he had climbed very fast. He’s into sports and this must have been quite easy for him. My brother and Basil reached a couple of minutes later.

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve gone to the observation point of N Seoul Tower. But I also like being a tourist in the city we live in. It helps me break the monotony of every day life.

The cherry blossom trail was clearly visible from the observation tower. I tried to find the starting point of this route from above.

We made it in time for a martial arts’ performance. There are many performances and festivals during spring. This year, to contain the spread of COVID-19, the government has cancelled all festivals and has urged people to practice enhanced social distancing until the first week of April.

I was happy to find the route that lead towards Namsan’s cherry blossom path. It’s also one of the the routes taken by buses to reach the N Seoul Tower entrance.

Basil and I had walked along this trail in summer. Back then, the trees were filled with green leaves and it was pleasantly cool. There were few people walking down this trail.

Cherry blossoms are magical. I don’t think you can truly capture their beauty in a photograph. It’s nature’s treat for those who’ve survived the Korean winter. These days, we’re far from tourist spots. But, we’re still fortunate to take in the beauty of blossoms around our neighbourhood.

There are so many interesting trails that meander from the main trail. Basil wanted to explore them. I wanted to get us back home without getting lost.

Forsythia grows abundantly during cherry blossoms. Like pink blossoms, yellow flowers can be found popping out of every corner in Seoul.

“Not just beautiful, though–the stars are like the trees in the forest, alive and breathing. And they’re watching me.” 

― Haruki Murakami

“Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.” 

― John Muir

Wonderland can be found on earth. Spring is the perfect time to find such magical places.

I didn’t want to leave. But we had reached the end of the trail. The view looked even better as we looked back. Love was in the air. Happy couples were laughing under the pink sky. Things were so different back then.

We reached the end of the walking path and the main entrance to this side of Namsan.

It’s bittersweet remembering this day because a year has passed so fast. My nephew is probably taller than Basil and I wonder how different he will look when I meet him next.

Posted by:twobrownfeet

Writer-Photographer Duo. Now in Seoul.

47 replies on “Namsan’s Cherry Blossom Trail

  1. I don’t think there’s anything as beautiful as cherry blossom season! There are a few places where you could easily see them in Ireland too, but no more than a handful of trees. Seoul looks like an amazing city to explore, absolutely love the views from the top. Thanks so much for sharing, I hope all is well 😊 Aiva

    1. Hi Aiva. Cherry blossoms are quite stunning. We completed four years this month. So this season is all the more special. Seoul is an amazing city to explore. Hope you get to visit it someday. Take care and stay safe! 🙂

  2. What a treat it is to see Seoul’s incredible cherry blossoms and to remember the good old days of gathering with others! It’s been three years now since we left Washington, DC, the only place I’ve ever stood among cherry blossoms in all their profuse pinkness. Thanks for sharing this happy day with family and blooms!

    1. I’ve forgotten what it feels like to go out without a mask. I haven’t met friends in months. Things were so different last year. We completed four years in Seoul this month. Can you believe it? Time has passed so fast. You completed three years! That’s amazing. How are things there? I’ve stopped reading the news because it’s so depressing. Take care and stay safe!

    1. Namsan is reasonably big. Most tourists visit on the weekend or evening. We visited on a Friday afternoon and that could explain the empty trail. It’s one of the most popular tourist sites in Seoul and is quite packed in the evening.
      How are you? Stay safe and take care!

      1. So good to hear you are safe and well! So far, I’ve managed to keep to a daily indoor schedule and stay sane thanks to some unused nature nearby. Hang in there yourself! Sending lots of hugs and happy thoughts your way. 🤗

      2. We’re all trying our own ways to stay sane. 🙂 Thank you for your positive vibes, hugs, and words of encouragement. It made my day! Take care and stay safe my friend. xo

  3. What a bitter-sweet memory, Cheryl. Time passes so quickly. Enjoy those beautiful cherry blossoms, even if this year is different in so many ways. Hope your and Basil’s families are well and safe.

    1. I had many plans for this year! 🙂 I wanted to visit the famous cherry blossoms spots in Korea. These days, I’m happy to walk around our neighbourhood and enjoy blossoms. It’s nearly over in Seoul.
      We’re generally fine. There’s a general uncertainty, but we’re just taking each day as it comes. Our families and friends are spread across the globe. So it’s this endless cycle of worry and helplessness. 😦
      How are you holding up?

      1. Taking each day as it comes is most probably the best way to approach life these days, when one can’t even imagine what tomorrow will bring. I find it a bit unsettling not knowing what new restrictions or rules are waiting for us each day. I try my best not to worry too much, but I think it is the feeling of helplessness or any kind of control over my physical environment that is the most unsettling. So some days are better than others. Mostly I’m fine, though.

      2. I hear you! It must be hard because each country has it’s own way with dealing with this situation. Some are more free and some are in tight lockdowns. 😦 I know that cycle of worry that is more clingy than glue. 🙂 I hope you find something to get you through this. Distraction is always the best way to get away from it all. Take care and strong. Bear hugs!

  4. This has been such a joy to see. I have always wanted to see something of the cherry blossoms in full bloom, and your photographs help me imagine it. It would be magical to be walking that path under the canopy of flowers. I am going to show this to my son, who enjoys visiting Korea on a regular basis. (He just got back home from Korea, as Covid 19 was emerging). I look forward to following more of your adventures. Are you in Korea for long?

    1. Hi Amanda! Thanks for stopping by. South Korea looks magical in spring and autumn. They’re the best times to visit. We weren’t able to visit any tourist trail this year because of COVID-19.
      You should consider a visit to S Korea (when the situation is more pro-travel). I think you’d love it! We’ve been living in Seoul for the past 4 years. 🙂 It’s been a fantastic journey of discovery and exploration. There’s so much we still haven’t explored. Take care and stay safe!

      1. Four years? You sound settled then. My son is very keen to live/work long term in South Korea. He does enjoy visiting regularly, well until recently!

      2. Expat life has its highs and lows. There’s always an uncertainty about the future — more so because of the times we live in. But, you could say we are reasonably settled. If your son loves travelling in Korea, I’m sure he will enjoy living here. Learning Korean is an added advantage though. 🙂

      3. I am sure he would learn more of the language if he intends to stay there for any length of time. He does like the cooler climates. Where was home for you?

      4. That’s great! Korean winters are cold and summers quite hot. They say there’s a correlation between the two. Spring and autumn are my favourite seasons. 🙂
        India is our home country. But, we’ve also lived in Tokyo and Shanghai (shorter stints) before Seoul. Not sure where next from here. So home is just where we are now. 🙂

  5. Hi Cheryl, I found your blog from Jo’s walk. Beautiful trails and cherry blossoms. We have Japanese cherry blossoms in Toronto’s High Park and a few smaller parks in the city. It’s usually very crowded during cherry blossom peak time. Unfortunately this year the parks are closed due to COVID-19 pandemic so the city is providing virtual tour. Thanks for sharing your walk and photos.

    1. Hi Natalie! Cherry blossoms are really big in South Korea. This year has been very difficult because the government urged people to avoid crowded paths. We missed most of the popular trails (including this one) and were happy to just look at the isolated flowers next to our apartment. That’s so nice the city provided a virtual tour! Technology has come to our rescue in these uncertain times. It’s os good to hear from you. Take care and stay safe!

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