Lion Grove Garden – Ticket Price, Opening Hours, Location, and Highlights

lion grove garden

Lion Grove Garden (狮子林), situated in the northeastern part of Suzhou city, is a masterpiece of classical Chinese private garden architecture. Its origin dates back to the second year of the Yuan Dynasty’s Zhizheng era (1342 AD), initially serving as the backyard garden of a Zen Buddhist temple before being transformed into a private residence. Renowned as one of the “Four Great Gardens of Suzhou,” alongside Humble Administrator’s Garden, Lingering Garden, and Canglang Pavilion, Lion Grove Garden showcases the artistry and cultural richness of ancient Chinese garden design.

The garden gets its name from the abundance of rock formations resembling lions scattered throughout the landscape. Visitors can delight in counting stone lions and navigating a maze constructed of carved stone, adding an element of playful mystery to the experience. Lion Grove Garden holds a special place in history, as it was a favored retreat for Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty, who visited the garden six times during his trips to southern China. Legend has it that the garden is home to five hundred stone lions within its rockeries. Such was the emperor’s fondness for Lion Grove Garden that he replicated it in both Yuanming Yuan and Chengde Mountain Resort.

At the heart of the garden lies a pond and artificial hills, with a vantage point provided by the Jianshan Tower, offering panoramic views of the garden’s natural and architectural elements. The garden is adorned with a continuous corridor featuring calligraphic masterpieces by four prominent Song Dynasty literati – Su Shi, Mi Fu, Huang Tingjian, and Cai Xiang – alongside inscriptions of the Southern Song poet Wen Tianxiang‘s “Plum Blossom Poem.”

Table of Contents

Basic Information

Estimated Length of TourAbout 1 – 2 hours
Ticket Price40 RMB (April, May, July, August, September, and October)
30 RMB (January, February, March, June, November, and December)
Opening Hours7.30 – 17.30; Last admission: 17.00 (1st March – 15th October)
7.30 – 17.00; Last admission: 16.30 (16th October – 28th February the next year)
Telephone Number0086-0512-962015

Location and Transportation

Lion Grove Garden, also known as Shi Zi Lin in Chinese, is a renowned classical garden located in the city of Suzhou, Jiangsu province, China. Suzhou, often referred to as the “Venice of the East,” is renowned for its exquisite traditional gardens, and Lion Grove Garden stands as one of its most cherished gems. Its exact address is

Bus: Take bus 5, 9009, 9016, 9025, 9029, or Tourist Line 4, get off at Suzhou Museum Station, and the Lion Grove Garden will be to your east.

Metro: The nearest metro station to the Lion Grove Garden is North Temple Pagoda (北寺塔) on line 4. After getting out of the station, walk about 1 kilometer to the east to reach the garden.

Highlights of Lion Grove Garden

Unique Rock Formations

unique rock formation in lion grove garden

The rockeries in Lion Grove Garden, dating back to the late Yuan and early Ming dynasties, incorporate numerous remnants from the Northern Song Dynasty’s “Hua Shi Gang” (precious stones). These ancient stones, combined with the ingenious ideas of rockery artists, form a landscape that simulates human figures, lions, and other animals related to Buddhist stories. Ancient trees and pine trees grow in the gaps between the rocks, and vines hang from the cliffs. The rockeries are divided into three parts – upper, middle, and lower – with a total of nine mountain paths and 21 cave openings. At the summit of the rockeries stand five prominent peaks, including the central Lion Peak, the Hanyue Peak to the east, and the Tuyue Peak to the west, creating a stunning visual spectacle.

Yanyu Tang

exquisite architecture in lion grove garden

Yan Yu Tang, meaning “enjoyment of the swallows,” derives its name from the Book of Songs, suggesting joy and ceaseless entertainment. Functioning as the primary venue for entertaining guests, Yan Yu Tang is renowned as one of Suzhou’s most famous halls. The hall’s ceiling features three immortals and a child, symbolizing auspiciousness. The hall’s pillars are adorned with elaborate carvings depicting flower baskets and pillars shaped like baskets of flowers and plum, orchid, bamboo, and chrysanthemum motifs.

Wenmei Pavilion

labyrinthine paths in lion grove garden

The Wumei Pavilion, the main building in the western part of the garden, is situated on a hill and surrounded by plum trees. The pavilion is decorated with a small grove of red and green plum trees, creating a picturesque scene. The double-eaved and towering Wumei Pavilion displays a plaque reading “Spring News through the Elegant Window,” inspired by a poem from the Tang Dynasty poet Wang Wei. Inside the pavilion, the furniture is shaped like plum blossoms, with exquisite plum blossom carvings under the tables, plum blossom patterns on the windows and floors, and paintings and calligraphy on eight screens featuring plum blossom themes, reflecting the aesthetic taste of literati.

Stone Boat

stone boat in lion grove garden

The Stone Boat, also known as the Dry Boat or “Bu Xi Zhou,” is situated northwest of the water pond and was built in the early years of the Republic of China. This structure, constructed by the last owner of the garden in the 20th century, is a two-story boat with 86 windows adorned with colored glass. The boat seems to float on the water, connected to the shore by a small stone bridge resembling a diving board. The intricately crafted stone and woodwork, along with the incorporation of Western elements, make the Stone Boat a unique and exquisite feature of Lion Grove Garden.

Vlog about Lion Grove Garden

Useful Information Summarized from Reviews

Avoid Peak Hours for a Better Experience: It’s not recommended to visit during peak hours as the garden can be crowded, reducing the overall experience. Consider going in the early morning when there are fewer visitors for a more enjoyable exploration.

Utilize Visitor Services Center: Take advantage of the Visitor Services Center inside the garden. It offers free storage facilities for your belongings and provides complimentary stamps. Additionally, there are charging stations available for your convenience.

Wear Appropriate Attire: Lion Grove Garden is predominantly made up of rocks and artificial hills, involving a lot of climbing. It’s advisable for women to avoid wearing skirts as navigating through the garden involves going up and down various levels.

Explore the Visitor Center Near the Parking Lot: Next to the parking lot, there is a Visitor Center. Here, you can find a large screen TV playing a 13-minute documentary about Lion Grove Garden, providing insights into its history and current condition. It’s a great way to gain a general understanding before exploring the garden.

Attractions near Lion Grove Garden

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *