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[Travel bits] Festivals, sights across Korea

Tongyeong Hansan Battle Festival

Tongyeong Hansan Battle Festival commemorates the Great Battle of Hansan of 1592, one of the most intense naval battles in Korean history. Held from Aug. 12 to 21, the festival is sponsored by the city of Tongyeong, and managed by the Great Battle of Hansan Memorial Foundation. Visitors will be able to see a reenactment of the battle followed by other performances. A variety of hands-on experience programs will be available for visitors at Yi Sun-sin Park. Performance schedules will be updated at www.hansanf.org. 

Korea-Japan Festival in Seoul

The Korea-Japan Festival, started in 2005, celebrates and promotes cultural exchange between Korea and Japan. The large-scale event offers opportunities for all individuals and organizations to share knowledge for better cultural understanding of both countries. This year’s event is expected to be held online on Sept. 5, free of charge, to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The festival is currently looking for three groups of volunteers -- public relations, stage, and festival operations team. Applications are accepted until July 19 on the festival website, www.omatsuri.kr. 

Incheon Open Port Culture Night

The Incheon Open Port Culture Night is a four-day event that showcases the history and culture of Incheon, known as the first international city of Korea. Held from July 1 to 4 and managed by the Incheon Tourism Organization, the festival holds storytelling walking tours and performances which begin at 5 p.m. and run until 9 p.m. each night. The performances typically last for two hours and are open to visitors of all ages. More information can be found on their website, www.culturenight.co.kr.

Yangyang Salmon Festival

The festival celebrates all things salmon, a delicacy in Yangyang, Gangwon Province. This year’s festival will be held from Sept. 1 to Oct. 31, at Namdaecheon. Newly hatched salmon in Namdaecheon grow for three to five years in the North Pacific Ocean, and return to Namdaecheon in the fall through the East Sea to lay eggs.

The festival starts off with Yongwangje, a traditional rite, and offers a variety of hands-on experience programs, including their most famous event, catching salmon by hand. Seeing salmon drifting and darting between one’s hands is an experience that can only be had in very few places around the world. For more information, visit festival.yangyang.go.kr.

Yangyang Songi Festival

Yangyang Songi Festival is dedicated to one of Yangyang’s famed specialty, pine mushrooms.

Held from Sept. 1 through the end of October, Namdaecheon provides for fresh and delectable mushrooms. Yangyang’s pine mushrooms are renowned for their exquisite texture and fragrance, as they grow on pine roots that are 20 to 60 years old.

Mushroom hunt, a program where participants go through the mountains and forests in search of pine mushrooms, is always a popular mainstay. Farmers markets offer quality products to visitors, while the food truck zone and restaurants offer fresh pine mushroom dishes. The schedules can be found in detail at tour.yangyang.go.kr, or by calling 033-671-3803.
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