China | Shanghai | The Yuyuan Garden
The Yuyuan garden is rated as one of the best things to do in Shanghai, and with the garden being in close proximity to The Bund, Nanjing Road and the City God Temple it’s one of the most convenient attractions. The historic Yuyuan garden belongs to the Jiangnan-Style Traditional Gardens offering an exquisite 20,000 square meter garden with stone carvings created with precision, especially the dragons located on the walls of the gardens separating the six areas. The traditional architecture and surreal design of the buildings all have incredible detail consistent throughout the entire garden. With winding bridges over a lake of koi fish all around the garden surrounded by beautiful trees and flowers, the corridors and nooks in the rocks are able to be explored as you adventure through the gardens for up to 2 hours. The beautiful scenery makes it simply impossible to take a bad photo, as the garden is so unbelievably photogenic. The garden has a roomy environment and with such a large area to be navigated it feels quite spacious given the number of people within the garden. The combination of the flora, architecture and rich culture that leaves you feeling captivated by the atmosphere. The Yuyuan Bazaar is located adjacent to the gardens and provides hundreds of shops selling a selection of souvenirs, antiques, jewelry, fabric, art and numerous food stalls. The Yuyuan Bazar is excellent to visit whilst in the area to see the Yuyuan Gardens as it too demonstrates the Chinese lifestyle.
History of the Yuyuan Gardens
China’s Yuyuan garden is over 400 years old, being completed in 1577 during the Ming Dynasty. The Chinese translation of ‘Yuyuan’ means ‘Happiness Garden’ with ‘Yu’ translating to pleased and satisfied. The garden consists of divine ancient Chinese architecture and detailed carved sculptures that had been used throughout the garden. Originally the Yu garden was designed for the elder parents of Pan Yunduan, a government official, as a way to encourage relaxation and tranquility as they continued to age. As Pan’s parents aged, so too did the gardens becoming neglected and deteriorated. It wasn’t until 1760 that the garden was bought and reconstructed over a period of 20 years, only to be severely damaged during the Opium War. A second restoration was commenced in 1956 and was a 5-year project, the completion of this in 1961 saw the Yuyuan garden open up to the public in September of that same year. Since then the Yuyuan garden has been included on the list of the protection of national relics, this was done in 1982, acknowledging the preciousness of the garden.
Yuyuan Garden areas
The Yuyuan Garden comprises 6 areas, varying between halls, chambers and gardens. All including traditional furniture and well-written descriptions to provide insight into the type of lifestyle that was expected traditionally. This explains how the areas were expected to be used and how they were arranged.
The 6 areas situated within the Yuyuan gardens, these areas are listed as:
Sansui Hall translates to Three Tassels Hall, it was used as a meeting place and included the Cuixiu Hall, the grand rockeries, and the Iron Lion. The Grand Rockery is made up of 2,000 tons of yellow stone that are specified to be quite rare, the stones are then fused together creating the Grand Rockery.
The Wanhua Chamber is also known as the “Chamber of the Ten Thousand Flowers”. There Gingko Tree in the front courtyard that has been there untouched through the duration of the gardens, resulting in it being over 400 years old. Also in this area of the garden, the Yule Pavilion, and Double Lane Corridor can be seen.
The Huijing Hall includes the Three- Turn Bridge, the Nine Lion Study and the Jade Water Corridor.
The Dianchun Hall, also known as the “Heralding Spring Hall” includes the Hall of Harmony and the Kuailou Hall in addition to the most famously historic building within the Yuyuan Gardens, the Treasury Hall.
The English translation for the Yuhua Hall is the “Jade Magnificence Hall”. This is one of the most proclaimed areas of the gardens as it’s where the magnificent Jade rock sculpture can be seen.
The inner garden is one of the more serene areas of the Yuyuan Garden, constructed in 1709 and made as part of the garden in 1956. Among the Inner Garden, the Acting and Singing Stage can be seen hosting performances. While the Hall of Serenity and Towers for Watching Waves take more of a calming approach to absorbing the atmosphere.
A map is offered at the entry of the garden, this map offers a route to conveniently view everything within the Yuyuan Garden, but how the garden is explored can be completely personalized and with its accessibility, it’s easy to return to favored areas to take a seat and absorb the serenity.
Details of the Yuyuan Garden
The Yuyuan Garden is located at No. 137 on Anren Street in the Huangpu District in Shanghai, easily accessible by bus and subway. With a Yuyuan Station on Line 10 of the subway, and the bus numbers; 11, 26, 54, 55, 736, 920, 926, 930 all reaching locations within the vicinity of the garden.
Depending on the time of year tickets vary in price, during November to March the opening hours are 8:30 am – 5:30 pm costing 30 yuan per person and during April to October the opening hours are 8:30 am to 5:00 pm costing 40 yuan. Timing is important because it can make a huge difference regarding the number of visitors, so early or later times throughout the weekdays being recommended with the weekend being noticeably busier.
It’s with this that the experience of the Yuyuan Garden cannot be more highly recommended if you’re searching for a serene and beautiful experience to witness and observe the art and tradition that is part of the Chinese culture whilst gaining insights to past ways and gaining knowledge regarding the Chinese lifestyle that was expected within the Yuyuan Gardens. Definitely making this an attraction that shouldn’t be missed whilst visiting Shanghai.