Yuyuan Garden – Tickets, Opening Hours, Highlights, and Tips

yuyuan garden

Yuyuan Garden (豫园), located in the heart of Shanghai, China, boasts a rich history spanning over four and a half centuries. Established during the Ming Dynasty, specifically in the Jiajing and Wanli eras, the garden was conceived by its founder, Pan Yunduan, a former political official in Sichuan province. Pan Yunduan embarked on the ambitious project with the noble intention of providing a tranquil and secure environment for his aging father to enjoy his twilight years.

The name “Yuyuan” carries the auspicious meanings of “peace” and “security,” reflecting Pan Yunduan’s heartfelt wish for his father’s well-being. The garden’s initial construction began in the year 1559, with Pan Yunduan transforming his own vegetable field into a meticulously designed landscape. Over the course of more than two decades, through painstaking efforts, Yuyuan Garden took shape as a testament to the dedication and artistry of its creator.

In its early years, Yuyuan Garden covered an expansive area of over 70 acres, showcasing the meticulous craftsmanship of Zhang Nanyang, a renowned garden designer from the Ming Dynasty. Zhang not only conceptualized the garden but also actively participated in its construction, resulting in a grand and picturesque landscape. Today, Yuyuan Garden occupies a more modest 2 hectares but continues to captivate visitors with its diverse architectural elements, including intricately designed pavilions, unevenly spaced buildings, rugged rocks, and lush greenery.

The garden exudes a sense of tranquility and elegance, embodying the artistic style of Jiangnan garden architecture from the Ming and Qing dynasties. Yuyuan Garden is a harmonious blend of serenity and sophistication, with its delicate and transparent beauty showcasing the distinctive characteristics of traditional Chinese garden design.

As a historical treasure, Yuyuan Garden preserves significant landmarks within its premises, such as the “Cangshu Lou” (藏书楼), considered the birthplace of the “Haipai” school of painting and calligraphy. Additionally, the “Dianchun Tang” (点春堂) served as the command center during the Shanghai Small Sword Society Uprising. These historical sites add layers of cultural and revolutionary significance to the garden, making it not only a natural retreat but also a living testament to China’s rich heritage. Throughout the ages, Yuyuan Garden has garnered praise as a gem of the southeast, a testament to its enduring beauty and historical significance.

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Basic Information

Estimated Length of Tour1-3 hours
Ticket Price40 RMB (April 1st – June 30th; September 1st – November 30th)
30 RMB (July 1st – August 31st; December 1st – March 31st)
Opening hours09.00 – 16.30; Last entry: 16.00
Closed on Monday
Telephone number0086-021-63260830*0

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Location and Transportation

Yuyuan Garden is located to the east of the city center, about 500 meters to the south of the Bund, and to the west of the Huangpu River. You can get there by bus, subway, or private car.

Subway: Take subway line 10 or 14, get off at Yuyuan Sation, and walk south about 400 meters

Bus: Take No. 64, 736, 911, or 930, get off at Xinbeimen Stop, and walk south about 100 meters

Self-drive: Although Yuyuan Garden does not have its own parking lot, there are many shopping malls nearby. You can leave your car there. It is pretty convenient.

Highlights of Yuyuan Garden

South-China-Style Garden

secenery in Yuyuan Garden

Yuyuan Garden is distinguished from the imperial gardens in Beijing. Compared to their vast areas (for example, the Summer Palace occupies an area of 300 hectares), it is pretty compact. As a result, the buildings, bridges, and rockeries are more sophisticated and delicate.

Moreover, the design philosophies of the north and the south are also different. While the north school prefers open scenery, the south designers attach great importance to the diversity of the view. They use hollow windows, walls, arches, winding paths, and rockeries to create spatial segmentation and thus enable people to see completely different things with several steps.

In Yuyuan Garden, you will be amazed by the genius arrangements.

Statues and Decorations

Statues and Decorations in Yuyuan Garden

There is a wide range of stone statues on the eaves, at the corners, and in front of the buildings in Yuyuan Garden. They are either in the shape of animals in Chinese mythologies or based on folk stories. But all are lifelike and delicate. If you have time, I strongly recommend you rent an audio guide and listen to the stories. They will serve as the perfect media for you to gain a better understanding of Chinese culture.

Huxinting Teahouse

Huxinting Teahouse

In the center of the artificial lake in Yuyuan Garden is the Huxinting Teahouse. The wooden pavilion was built nearly 200 years ago and is the oldest teahouse in Shanghai. Unlike other historical buildings that have gone through several renovations or are completely rebuilt, this one has remained intact in the last two centuries. And it is still open to the public nowadays.

The first floor caters to ordinary citizens, while the second floor provides high-end tea and cakes. The average cost is about 100 RMB. You should definitely pay a visit to experience the life of wealthy businessmen and gentries in ancient times.

City God Temple

City God Temple in Shanghai

Next to Yuyuan Garden (out of it) is the City God Temple. It is said to be built over 600 years ago and enshrines Huoguang, a general in Han Dynasty (202 B.C. – 8 A.D.).

The city gods are quite a unique existence in China. Instead of being born as gods, they are often famous local individuals who had obtained marvelous achievements or demonstrated high-standard morality when they were alive and are therefore enshrined after they died. They are responsible for the everyday affairs and the afterlife of residents nearby.

If you are interested in Chinese folk culture and myth, you should not miss this place.

Yuyuan Bazaar

Yuyuan Bazaar

As the old city center of Shanghai, the area where Yuyuan Garden is located has gathered many shops. In fact, it is still one of the three most famous commercial centers in Shanghai. Some of the stores’ history can be traced back to 100 years ago, and the buildings are all in traditional style. Yuyuan Bazaar is a good place to buy souvenirs, try local food, and take photographs.

Vlog about Yuyuan Garden

Find the Best Hotel near Yuyuan Garden

Useful Tips Summarized from Reviews

Explore Nearby Wholesale Shops and Souvenir Stores: After visiting Yuyuan Garden, take some time to explore the nearby area, which is filled with wholesale shops and souvenir stores. Here, you can find a variety of items at reasonable prices, making it a great place to pick up souvenirs.

Convenient Transportation: Yuyuan Garden is easily accessible by public transportation. If you’re taking the subway, it’s recommended to use Exit 1 of Yuyuan Station (Line 10) or Exit 7 (Line 14) for added convenience.

Visit Chenghuang Miao (City God Temple) at Night: Chenghuang Miao, or City God Temple, is a must-visit attraction in the area, especially at night. The beautiful lighting illuminates the entire architecture, creating a stunning and ethereal atmosphere. It’s a perfect opportunity for memorable photos.

Explore the Food Street: After exploring Yuyuan Garden, don’t miss the nearby food street, where you can find a wide variety of culinary delights. The architecture of the food street mirrors that of Yuyuan Garden, adding to the ambiance. Keep in mind that while the food options are plentiful, prices tend to be on the higher side compared to other areas.

Plan Your Visit: Yuyuan Garden can get crowded, especially during peak tourist seasons. To avoid long lines and crowds, consider visiting during weekdays or early in the morning. This allows you to explore the garden and surrounding attractions at a more leisurely pace.


Attractions near Yuyuan Garden

Other Classical Gardens in Shanghai

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