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Festivals to illuminate Seoul’s winter nights

Dec. 3, 2023 - 14:33 By Lee Si-jin
The 2022 Seoul Lantern Festival (Korea Tourism Organization)

The Seoul Metropolitan Government announced it will hold the first-ever light festival at Songhyeon Green Plaza in Jongno-gu, central Seoul from Dec. 15. The 37,117 square-meter park opened to the public in October 2022 for the first time in 110 years since the Japanese colonial era (1910-1945).

Under the theme of “Experiencing Nature in Mysterious Light Garden,” the 2023 Light Festa in Songhyeon will feature six different exhibition spaces, including "Shadow Forest," "Hill of Light, "Road of Light" and more.

Unique photo zones for families, friends and couples have also been set up for those who wish to curate colorful social media posts with Instagrammable backgrounds.

A sample image of the 2023 Light Festa's "Shadow Forest" (Seoul Metropolitan Government)

The upcoming festival seeks to entertain visitors with interactive activities, stores selling unique merchandise and food venues offering irresistible Korean winter snacks like bungeoppang -- a fish-shaped pastry filled with sweet red bean paste -- and hobbang-- a steamed bun filled with sweet red bean paste.

This newest park in Seoul is considered as an ideal place to take refuge from the bustling city life.

Though Songhyeon Green Plaza is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., the lights are switched on from 6 p.m.

The festival is free of charge and will run through Jan. 21, 2024.

More information can be found at the festival’s official Instagram and website,

The 2022 Seoul Lantern Festival (Korea Tourism Organization)

Meanwhile, another light festival, the Seoul Lantern Festival, beckons tourists and citizens alike with stunning light installations across the areas nearby Gwanghwamun Square and the Cheonggyecheon in central Seoul.

The annual light event features a Christmas tree, markets, food trucks offering delightful treats and creative lighting fixtures, including a blue dragon, marking Year of the Dragon in 2024.

A visitor takes a photo of a lighting installation at the 2022 Seoul Lantern Festival. (Korea Tourism Organization)

The festival area is accessible via Exit No. 4, 5 or 9 of Gwanghwamun Station on Subway Line No. 5.

The Seoul Lantern Festival is scheduled to begin on Dec. 15 and runs through Jan. 21.

The lights are turned on at 6 p.m. and stay on until 10 p.m.

For more information in Korean, English, Japanese or Chinese, visit The official website for the Seoul Lantern Festival is available starting from Dec. 11.