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Yu Garden, also known as Yuyuan Garden (豫园), is the most celebrated classical Chinese Garden in Shanghai downtown area. It also enjoys the reputation of “the crown of beauty in Southeast China”, offering charming and pleasant views. Visiting Yu Garden is just like visiting the exquisite Humble Administrator’s Garden in Suzhou which listed as the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Besides the exquisite scenery, Yu Garden is rich in culture. It is also one of the Four National Cultural Markets, along with Panjiayuan Garden (潘家园) and Liulichang Street (琉璃厂大街) in Beijing, as well as the Confucius Temple in Nanjing. Our previous chairman Jiang Zemin (江泽民) wrote “Famous Garden above the Sea” for Yu Garden. Also, many heads of state including Queen Elizabeth II of Britain, Peng Liyuan (彭丽媛) and her guests from many countries have visited Yu Garden to appreciate the natural beauty and cultural display.
Yu Garden is located at the northeast of the old city in South Shanghai. It is close to Shanghai City God Temple, Yuyuan Tourist Mart and with close distance to Shanghai Bund and other famous attractions in Shanghai.
Distance from other main Shanghai attractions:
For the geographic location, it is recommended to cover Yu Garden and nearby attraction Nanjing Road, the Bund and Jinmao Tower/Oriental Pearl TV Tower in one day.
Yu Garden was first established in 1559 as the private garden of Pan Yunduan (潘允端), a government official in the Ming Dynasty (A.D. 1368-1644). Yu means pleasing and satisfying and Pan Yunduan built this garden for his parents to enjoy a happy and peaceful life at their old age.
Pan Yunduan himself lived a very leisure and happy life in this garden. Later, the garden was inherited by Zhang Zhaolin (张肇林), the husband of Pan Yunduan’s granddaughter, and then passed to different owners.
In 1982, Yu Garden was listed as an important national relic protection unit.
Yu Garden, covering an area of 20,000 square meters, is a virtual maze of gardens, pavilions, lake, rockeries, bridges, dragon walls, gardens and traditional buildings, etc. Once you enter into the garden, surprises are hidden every corner you move with different views. Yu Garden is divided into six main scenic parts: Sansui Hall, Wanhua Hall, Dianchun Hall, Huijing Hall, Yuhua Hall and the Inner Garden. Each part has its own features and unique sights. And each area is separated from others by “dragon walls” with undulating gray tiled ridges, each terminating in a dragon’s head.
Travelers can follow a clockwise path from the main entrance and visit the six main scenic parts and final exit.
Sansui Hall (三穗堂, "Three Tassels Hall"): It includes Grand Rockeries, Iron Lion, Cuixiu Hall. The highlights here are the fine window and wood-beam carvings of rice, millet, wheat, fruit and other emblems of a plentiful harvest. This place was used for a meeting place for local officials and for proclaiming imperial announcements. You won’t miss Grand Rockery which consists of 2,000 tons of rare yellow stones fused together. Also, Yangshan Hall is the place for viewing the Grand Rockery.
Wanhua Chamber (万花楼, "Chamber of the Ten Thousand Flowers"): It includes Wanhua Chamber, Yule Pavilion, Double Lane Corridor and Gingko Tree of 400 years old staking out the front courtyard.
Dianchun Hall (点春堂, "Heralding Spring Hall"): Located in the northeast of Yu Garden, it includes Treasury Hall which is the most famous historical building in the garden, Kuailou Hall, and the Hall of Harmony.
Huijing Hall (会景楼, Huì Jǐng Lóu): It includes Jade Water Corridor, Three-Turn Bridge, Nine Lion Study.
Yuhua Hall (玉华堂, "Jade Magnificence Hall"): Don’t miss the essence - Yu Linglong (Exquisite Jade Rock) with the most celebrated stone sculpture in the garden.
Inner Garden (内园, Nèi Yuán): The quietest part of Yu Garden. After visiting Yuhua Hall, you’ll enter into Inner Garden which was constructed in 1709 and made of a part of Yu Yuan only in 1956. It includes the Hall of Serenity, the Towers for Watching Waves, and the Acting and Singing Stage.
Out of Yu Garden is the Huxinting Pavilion and Nine-turning Bridge. Nine-turning Pavilion is 18 meters long and 2 meters wide, totally composed of granites and jade stones. Huxinting Pavilion is sitting in the middle of the lake and travelers can enjoy a cup of tea in the tea house.
Yuyuan Bazaar is located next to Yu Garden, with beautiful Chinese architecture and design coupled with hundreds of shops selling jewelries, silk, antiques, arts, crafts, souvenirs and local snacks.
It offers a good opportunity to see real Chinese life. The famous restaurant is the Nanxiang Steamed Bun Restaurant selling Xiaolongbao (small steamed buns). You can taste some local snacks here and buy some souvenirs for your families and friends. The market is also fun to explore at night with all the eaves of the building lit up and travelers can get some amazing night photos.
City God Temple of Shanghai (Chenghuang Miao)
City God Temple (城隍庙) is a Taoist temple located in Yuyuan Tourist Mart, connecting to the Yu Garden. It was first built during the Yongle (永乐皇帝) era of the Ming Dynasty, with a history of 600 years old. If you have free time, you can have a look at what immortals are being worshipped at the temple. No admission fee is charged.
Technically speaking, both Suzhou Gardens and Shanghai Gardens belong to Jiangnan-Style Traditional Gardens(江南园林). Suzhou Gardens represent the highest achievements of Jiangnan-Style Traditional Gardens. Their brilliant gardening skills and varieties of garden types have made the UNESCO list the Classical Gardens of Suzhou as World Cultural Heritage Sites. While Yu Garden generally has the same features of some of Suzhou gardens. So if you are keen on Gardening Art, you are suggested to visit Suzhou for seeing more gardens. If you just want to take a glimpse of Chinese garden culture, Yu Garden will also meets your purpose. Learn more about Classical Gardens of Suzhou.
The following travel route covers all the essences of Yu Garden & Bazaar tour. You can follow it and stroll around the area. It takes about 2 hours for exploration.
Visiting Route: Entrance of Yu Garden – Sansui Hall – Wanhua Chamber – Dianchun Hall – Huijing Hall – Yuhua Hall – Inner Garden – Exit Yu Garden – Nine-turning Bridge – Huxinting Pavilion – Yuyuan Bazaar
Shanghai is a city with both modern and traditional sides. It will take at least 2 days to well explore Shanghai. On the first day of your arrival, you can go to Shanghai Museum to have a basic understanding of the history of Shanghai. Then go to Yu Garden, where you can not only appreciate the traditional Chinese garden landscape, but also savor tasteful local snacks. At night, taking a relaxing Huangpu River Cruise to fully enjoy the beautiful night scene will be a good choice. The next day, go have a panoramic view of Shanghai at the 100th floor of Shanghai World Financial Center. If you are a shopping lover, then the busy Nanjing Road is a must. It is also a perfect spot to feel the vitality of Shanghai. At last, taking a walk at the Bund in the gentle breeze is quite mind-refreshing. You can check 2 Days Classic Shanghai City Tour for detailed itinerary. But if you have other ideas or questions about Shanghai tour, please feel free to contact us. Tailor-made tours according to your own interests, travel time, budget are also available.
Other Recommended Shanghai Tour Packages:
By Subway: Take Subway Line 10 and get off at Yuyuan Station. It is just one stop from Nanjing Road to Yu Garden. And Line 10 can also take you from Yu Garden to Xintiandi and Hongqiao Railway Station.
By Bus: Take bus No. 11, 26, 64, 66, 736, 920, 926, 930 and get off at Xinbeimen Station. Then walk along Anren Street to reach Yu Garden. Also, Shanghai sightseeing bus line 1 can reach Yu Garden.
In Spring, travelers can enjoy various kinds of flowers blooming in the garden, pine sprouting wistfully from rockeries, glittering pools churning with carps, etc. In Summer, travelers can appreciate water lilies near Hutingxin Pavilion and Nine-turning Bridge. In Autumn, the garden is filled with cultural charm and artistic flavor, so travelers can enjoy Yu Garden Autumn Folk Custom Temple Fair. In Winter, a lot of traditional festivals take place here, like Yu Garden New Year Folk Custom Lantern Party, Spring Folk Custom Temple Fair. If you are interested, please contact our travel consultants for more detailed seasonal advice and festival information.
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[Important] Travel News for Expats: China travel is reopening now! Travel with China Discovery and learn about where to visit & requirements for each destination! Read Details >