Jan. every year
Sancheoneo Ice Festival
Unfreezing warm-heartedness, unmelting memories
- Location: Hwacheoncheon, Hwacheon-gun, Gangwon-do, and five other municipalities
- homepage: www.narafestival.com/01_icenara
- About the Festival: The festival will be held with the theme of “Unfreezing warm-heartedness, unmelting memories” in January, when everything is covered with ice and snow in Hwacheon, Gangwon province, famous for its clean sea where sancheoneo and otters live.
The festival is being held with the theme of “Never Freezing Warm-heartedness, Never Melting Memories” every January, when everything is covered with ice and snow in Hwacheon, Gangwon Province, famous for its clean sea where sancheoneo and otters live.
The Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival is recognized as one of the world’s four major winter festivals and was selected as Korea's representative festival in 2014. In January, at the depths of winter, the cold valley wind and clean water meet, making the earliest and thickest ice in the nation, a winter festival is held in Hwacheon, where more than a million people have visited 6 years in a row.
It is a winter festival with unique theme, with over 30 kinds of various experience programs and things to see, which features Sancheoneo experience programs, emblematic of Hwacheon-gun, possessing clean natural environment thanks to the 1st grade water quality at the upper stream of Bukhangang River, including breaking the thick ice in Hwacheoncheon Stream, where the thickness is over 40cm, for the young and old alike to participate in “sancheoneo ice fishing,” catching sancheoneo swimming in the clean water where the river bed can clearly be seen, or trying “Catching Sancheoneo with Bare Hands” by jumping into the cold ice water and catching them bare handed. In addition, programs, such as ice and snow sledding, snow sculpture, and ice football are offered.
Enter the following address into
the navigation system: 186-5, Jung-ri,
Take a bus to Hwacheon from
Chuncheon Bus Terminal
(running every 30 minutes)
By Gyeongchun Line
- General Subway: The general line
departs from Sangbong Station, running
every 20 minutes. Get off at Namchuncheon
Station, and then take an intercity bus
to reach Hwacheon.
- For ITX-Cheongchun: depart from
Yongsan or Cheongnyangni. Get off at
Namchuncheon Station and take an
intercity bus to reach Hwacheon.
- General Subway: The general line
The Festival Scene: The Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival
The 2013 Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival was held in Hwacheon for 23 days from January 5 to January 27. The festival offered a variety of activities, including Sancheoneo experience (ice fishing for sancheoneo, lure fishing, and catching sancheonoe with your bare hands), snow/ice activities, such as bobsleigh, ice sledding, ice football, Eolgomi Ice Bikes, a snowmobile zone, an Eolgomi Zone, a cable 2.0 zone, an adventure, sledding slope, winter trekking, an Eolgomi Castle, zipline riding, and cart rail car as well as cultural events, snacks and food.
The road to the Sancheoneo Ice Festival is resplendent with the austere beauty of winter. The entrance to the Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival
is already bustling with people. Living up to its reputation as world-renowned festival, there are many attractions to see around. After parking, as
the town is famous for having lots of snow, the entrance to the Sancheoneo festival is piled up with snow on the railroad tracks.
Finally, people start ice fishing, which is the signature activity of Sancheoneo Festival. While ice fishing, people often get so focused on the fishing so that they forget the cold. There are so many to catch that it won’t be long before you’ve got your fill. Sancheoneo, of the family Salmoniformes, is a cold-water freshwater fish that lives in cold mountain valleys, which can only live in 1st grade clean water. You definitely don’t want to miss out on tasting the sancheoneo. If you go to the roasting area, you can get a taste of roasted sancheoneo for KRW 20,000 each. Sancheoneo is grilled in a barrel, like sweet potato grill. It is difficult to express the taste of freshly prepared fish on the spot. The taste is out of this world.
After having roasted sancheoneo, head over to Eolgomi Castle, where you can take wonderful pictures. It’s a popular photo spot, filled with families, children, and couples all capturing pleasant memories. Everyone is wearing big smiles on their faces. Must be making some joyful memories. The castle has a crystalline square made of ice, which shines in the light. No detail has been left out, as it is adorned with ice sleds and the Forbidden City inside.
Hwacheon's weather is below zero! However, even on the coldest days, many people try catching sancheoneo with their bare hands. Afterward, you can run warm water over your hands to thaw out. People delight in watching the bare handed fishers who, in their enthusiasm, forget the cold for a time. This is the driving force to warm the Festival venue.
After enjoying the festival, it is already evening. In the evenings, the Sancheoneo Festival has a food square where you can buy roasted
sancheoneo, fried food, raw dishes, and spicy fish stew, made with sancheoneo. People eat raw sancheoneo and hot and spicy sancheoneo stew.
Time vanishes when people dig in to these dishes, consumed by the smells and tastes that overwhelm the senses.
It is a festival where you can bring back cold, but happy memories. Let's promise to meet again for the next Sancheoneo Ice Festival.