Yamaguchi Prefecture and Gyeongsangnam-do Province formed an official sister-city relationship on June 26, 1987. Gyeongsangnam-do Province has much to offer in terms of natural beauty and tourist attractions. It also includes Pusan, the second largest city after Seoul, as well as World Heritage Sights which draw a large number of tourists. Located only a short plane ride away from Japan, Gyeongsangnam-do offers a number of cultural events throughout the year, and April and May are no exception, providing ample excuse to enjoy a brief trip to the region.
Japan is not the only place to celebrate the yearly blossoming of the cherry trees. The Hwagae Fair Cherry Blossom Festival is held annually in early April when the cherry blossom trees are in full bloom. The blossoms can be seen along the Sumjingang River, which is said to be one of the cleanest rivers in Korea, and the 25km stream of Hwagae Dongcheon. This festival includes various cultural activities such as a cherry blossom singing contest, traditional wrestling matches known as Ssireum and a traditional food fair are just to name a few.
In early May, the Jirisan Medicinal Herbal Festival will take place in the Sancheong-gun Area. Sancheong is where the renowned Oriental medicine doctor Yu Euitae served his medical treatment in the Joseon Dynasty. Thanks to the quality and efficacy of the medicinal herbs growing here around Jirisan, Sancheong is known as the home of the medicinal herbs. The festival provides tourists with an opportunity to experience the wonderful efficacy of the medicinal herbs, to receive free Oriental medical diagnosis and to sample foods made from medicinal herbs.
In mid-May, the Hadong Wild Tea Cultural Festival takes place over a period of four days. Held in the historic town of Hadong, this festival offers a number of opportunities for visitors to experience the traditional process of tea cultivation. The town of Hadong lies near the beautiful Jirisan National Park and Hallyeo Maritime National Park. Visitors can pick their own tea, create their own tea bowls and learn about the traditional tea ceremony. In addition, in order to experience agricultural life and tea cultivation in Korea close up, visits to farm households that cultivate tea can also be arranged.