The Jinju Namgang Yudeung
Lantern Festival

Category : Arts/Performances / Community Events / Travel/Events
Period :   Oct 01, 2015 ~ Oct 11, 2015

Mark your calendars because on October 1st, we have an excuse to travel and leave the grey city behind and escape to the idyllic city of Jinju to celebrate history and experience the cultural event of the Autumn season, the Jinju Namgang Yudeung Lantern Festival.


Jinju is a city in the South Gyeongsang Province of South Korea, the scene of the first (1592) and second (1593) sieges of Jinju by Japanese forces during the Imjin War back during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). The origins of the festival can be traced back to 1592, the Jinjuseong battle, where lanterns were used as a military signal to prevent Japanese troops from wading the Namgang river. During the war floating lanterns were also used as a method for family members to communicate outside of the Jinjuseong Fortress. The tradition of floating lanterns down the Namgang river continued long after the war as a tribute to the 70,000 lives of civilians and soldiers lost during the battle. This tradition, over the decades have transformed and resulted in the Jinju Namgang Yudeung Festival we know today.




The festival boasts a unique variety of lantern related sights, attractions, and activities for visitors to enjoy during the 11 days of the festival, you’ll even see the trash cans are made from lanterns. Guaranteed to impress are the various exhibitions of themed lantern displays. Go back in time and experience Jinju city’s history at the lantern exhibit of Korea’s traditions. Where come dusk, colorfully lit lanterns fill the Jinjuseong Fortress illuminate the Namgang river, showcasing scenes from the Jinjuseong battle. In this exhibit, each lantern is representative of a Korean tradition. See Korean pride at its highest with lanterns in displays of tigers, the representative animal figure of Korea, traditional instruments, traditional Korean dances, and even lanterns designed as historical Korean leaders.






International landmarks, symbols and popular cartoon characters are recreated in super-sized lanterns at the World Lantern Exhibition. Where you can find recreations of the Statue of Liberty, the Sphinx, Napoleon, the Little Mermaid, Snow White, and Cinderella, a sure hit with the kids. There’s even a separate Exhibition that specifically caters to cartoon character lanterns with familiar faces like Donald duck, Spiderman, Superman, and the teletubbies.




With all the lanterns lighting up the Namgang river, you can get a closer look by getting on the water yourself. The ferry which operates from 13:00 to 24:00 every day during the festival, will get you away from the notorious crowds that make up the streets during the festival.




Watch street parades and performances, sample street food from vendors, and at night relax and watch the water fireworks show by the riverside (first opening night). But out of all what I find most special at the festival are its hands on activities. Awaken that creativity and make your own lantern at the Jogyesa temple. Have a wish? Purchase a lantern (10,000W cash only), write your wish, and hang it up in the tunnel of wish lanterns, a breathtaking display of 29,000 glowing lanterns that spans one entire side of the river.




Or join the Jinju tradition and float your wish lantern along the Namgang river (3,000W cash only). Write your wish inside and watch your lantern light up the dark waters and join the hundreds of other wishes floating along.




For foreigners who find themselves wary of attending with limited Korean, inside the festival grounds there will be five information booths with three of them offering interpreting services.


Known as the king of all Korean cultural festivals and a favorite for international tourists, this magical festival filled with light, culture, and dreams is not to be missed. With every lighting of every lantern at the Jinju Yudeung Festival the tradition manifests the festival’s hope to wish upon Jinju city and beyond “world peace and the happiness and comfort of mankind.”

While you're there:


The Jinjuseong Castle, holds spectacular views of the Namgang River. One of the three locations of the major battles of Imjinwaeran (Jinjuseong Castle battle of 1592), where about 70,000 soldiers and civilians lost their lives defending the castle from Japanese invaders. Known for offering one of the most stunning views in Korea includes Chokseongnu Pavilian located in the Jinjuseong Castle. Learn the full tale of the Jinjuseong battle at the Jinju National Museum located inside the Jinjuseong Castle.




The ideal sunset viewing area is the Jinyang Lake, Observation Platform and Rest Area, where the romantic lake flows from water from the Jirisan Mountain.




Korea’s first national park, Chirisan National Park, still being one of the best, offers great hiking for mountaineers. Some peaks reach over 1500m high, which includes South Korea’s second highest mountain, Ch’onwangbong, at 1915m.




The Bugok Hotsprings, found at the foot of Deokamsan Mountain, is one of the best hot springs in South Korea. A representative sulfur hot spring, the spa’s waters are healing for those who have difficulties with breathing, neuralgia, rheumatism, skin disease, chilblains, bruises, prickly heat, and leucorrhoea. The water additionally contains 20 kinds of inorganic matters such as silicon, chlorine, calcium, and iron. The spa resort also boasts outdoor and indoor swimming pools, a zoo, botanical garden, five tourist hotels, 23 accommodation and 21 shopping centers.



Local Dishes of Jinju:


Jinju Bibimbap, also known as kkotbap (flower rice). Regarded as Korea’s representative folk cuisine, this nutritional dish features vegetables, sliced raw meet (yukgaejang) seasoned with garlic, sesame seeds, and sesame oil over steamed rice.

Try it at these restaurants:

Jinju Heotjesabap (진주헛제사밥)

Address: 경남 진주시 금산면 갈전리 1121 , ☎ 055-743-3633

Jeil Restaurant, (제일 식당)

Address: 경상남도 진주시 대안동 8-291 , 055-741-5591




Jinju Grilled Eel

In jinju it is a custom to eat grilled eel wrapped in sesame leaves, which are high in levels of vitamin c, while enjoying the scenery of the Namgang river.

Try it here:

Ilmijangeo (일미장어)

Address: 경상남도 진주시 논개길 23 (본성동) 660-160, ☎ 055-742-1283




Jinju Heotjesabap, a traditional local specialty, comes from the custom of Confucian scholars who studied late in the night and became hungry. Rice was not of plenty and these scholars would perform a fake memorial service with food, incense, and a written prayer to eat the food. The food is served in brass bowls and represents the elegant refinement of ancient scholars of Jinju.

Try it here:

Jinju Heotjesabap (진주헛제사밥)

Address: 경남 진주시 금산면 갈전리 1121 , ☎ 055-743-3633




To read more on the personal experiences of tourists on the event, we recommend these reads:


To plan on staying the night in Jinju, behind the Intercity Terminal is a whole area packed with motels.


The motel with the greatest view is the Versace Motel (베르싸체 모텔) as it’s located on the bridge.
214-2 Dongseong-dong, Jinju-si, Gyeongsangnam-do, South Korea
660-150 경상남도 진주 동성동 214-2
+82 55-746-8080

If you’re on a larger budget Dongbang Tourist Hotel (동방관광호텔) is the city’s premier hotel and also sits on the river. Includes spa/sauna facilities, rooftop restaurants and bars and rooms either Western style or Ondol (Korean style when you sleep on the floor), and don’t worry they speak English.
☎ +82-55-743-0131

But you’re advised to book ahead of the festival for rooms as the city gets very busy during the festival rooms during the festival also go up in rate from around 30,000 to anything between 40,000 – 65,000.

For a more extensive list of accommodations Jinju city offers click here:

After the festival if you want to continue the party, head over to the bar and club district in the GNU area, Gyeongsang National University (경상대학교).


Address : 626, Namgang-ro, Jinju-si, Gyeongsangnam-do

Location : Gyeongsangnam-do > Jinju-si


If you’re travelling from another town to Jinju, you may want to plan a one-night, two-day stay. Nearby the festival venue are a number of accommodation options that are easily accessible via public transportation. The Jinju Express Bus Terminal is only 5 minutes away from the festival and the Jinju Intercity Bus Terminal only 10 minutes away by foot.

The easiest and most recommended way of reaching Jinju is by bus. From Seoul, take the direct bus to Jinju from the express bus terminal (고속터미널)

194, Sinbanpo-ro, Seocho-gu, Seoul
서울특별시 서초구 신반포로 194 (반포동)
1330 Travel Hotline: +82-2-1330 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
For more info: +82-1688-4700,
Homepage: (Korean, English)

which departs every 30 minutes and you will arrive at Jinju Express Bus Terminal (진주고속버스터미널).

Jinju Express Bus Terminal (진주고속버스터미널)
Gyeongsangnam-do Jinju-si Chiram-dong 489-2
경상남도 진주시 동진로 16 (칠암동)

It will only cost you 20,000W and take a total of 3 hours and 20 minutes. The bus will make one designated stop on the way which will last about 10 minutes for a bathroom break and refreshments. Make sure you remember where your bus is parked or it can leave without you. When you get off the bus, most of those getting off with you will be walking the 5 minute walk to the festival. Follow them and you’re there!

There is also a direct bus from Incheon Airport to Jinju. Departing at 10:30am and 1:20pm, this bus will take 4 hours and cost 36,000W.

From Busan
Daily departures every ten minutes from Busan’s Seobu (Sa-sang) terminal take 1 and a half hours and will cost you 6,900W.
Buses from Busan Nopodong Bus Terminal to Jinju depart roughly every 50 minutes.

From Masan
Daily departures every ten minutes from Masan which will take 1 hour and cost you 4,000W.

By Plane
Jinju has its own airport 20km (12 miles) away from the city, Saecheon Airport. The airport that only serves domestic routes supports seven flights daily to and from Seoul’s Gimpo Airport.
Address: 1720-1 Guam-li, Sacheon-eup, Sacheon-si
Tel: 055/831-9300

While in Jinju, if you find yourself needing help you can contact the Jinju Tourism Information Office, which opens daily from 8am-6pm (tel, 055/749-2485) located in front of the fortress’s North gate. There is another located at the east gate which opens on weekdays 8am-6pm.

Read more:
Namgang is flowing in Jinju, a region of loyalty. Namgang flowing eloquently with the joys and sorrows of millennium history has the beautiful landscape and is the vegetable garden for holy national >> Read more
Namgang is flowing in Jinju, a region of loyalty.
Namgang flowing eloquently with the joys and sorrows of millennium history has the beautiful landscape and is the vegetable garden for holy national soul who elevated the pride of our nation by fighting with enemy regardless of civilians, officials, and soldiers during the national crisis.

Lighting the fire of lantern festival of Jinju Namgang on the edge of this historical river means we continue the traditional culture of our region and celebrate righteous souls who sacrificed their life for nation in Limjinyeon and Gyesinyeon. It also means to develop it as the global culture tourism product.

We hope you to enjoy the festival together and pray for the nation’s prosperity and peace.
- Mayor of Jinju, Lee Chang-Hee >> Less more
Company Contact Information
Tel: 055)761-9111


Address: 7, Namgang-ro 673beon-gil, Jinju-si, Gyeongsangnam-do, Korea