Top 10 Famous Temples in Shanghai

As early as in the Three Kingdoms period (238-280), Buddhism had already spread in Shanghai. And it is in this period that the Longhua Temple and Jing'an Temple were established. According to the statistics of the Shanghai Buddhist Association, the number of Shanghai temples has up to 122 now. Here is the list of the top 10 famous temples in Shanghai.

Speaking of the famous temples in Shanghai, Jade Buddha Temple located in the bustling urban area immediately comes to mind. It was built in 1882 because of its two spectacular jade Buddha statues imported from Myanmar. The two statues are a 1.95 meters (6.40 ft.) high sitting Buddha from a whole piece of jade and a smaller reclining Buddha which represents the death of the Buddha. What’s more, the temple keeps anther reclining marbled Buddha donated from Singapore. Through over a hundred years, the temple draws numerous visitors for its historical beauty and exquisite statues. From 2014, a large repair project was launched and the most magnificent Grand Hall along with its statues was moved to the north synchronously for 30.66 meters (100.6 ft.). Also, visitors can see several new halls constructed during this period and the present temple has a more reasonable layout. And the delicious vegetarian dishes of the Vegetarian Restaurant inside should not be missed.

Location: No. 170, Anyuan Road, Putuo District
Opening Hours: 8:00 – 16:30 (Except for Major Festivals)
Entrance Fee: CNY 20; Jade Buddha Statues: CNY 10
The Jing’an Temple dated back to 247 years ago is one of the oldest Shanghai temples. It is mainly composed of the Mahavira Hall, the Hall of Heavenly Kings, and the Three Sage Hall. The architectural style is integrated with Tibetan style. Buildings that enshrine Buddha statues are topped with golden glazed tiles. The roof ridges and cornices are decorated with ornaments like immortals and animals to pray for good luck and spread blessings. The highlight of the temple is the Mahavira Hall where a 15-ton pure silver statue of Sakyamuni is worshipped. The liveliest scenes of the temple occur on the eighth day of April of the lunar calendar when the temple fair is held for three days.
Location: No.1686, Nanjing West Road, Jing'an District
Opening Hours: 07:30 -17:00
Entrance Fee: CNY50; CNY 2 per small bunch of incense.
For tourists visiting Shanghai for the first time, the Old City God Temple is the first window to fully appreciate Shanghai's history, culture and customs. There are nine magnificent halls with a total area of about 2,000 square meters (4.94 acres). Three city gods who make great contributions to the city are enshrined. During major traditional Chinese festivals such as the Chinese New Year, you can see the boisterous temple fairs which bring various performances and custom activities. It is recommended to visit the Yu Garden and taste snacks like Nanxiang Small Steamed Buns and Shepherd's-Purse Wonton on the snack street nearby after touring the temple.

Location: No. 249, Fangbang Middle Road, Huangpu District
Opening Hours: 8:00 - 16:30
Entrance Fee: CNY10
The eldest and largest Shanghai temple is the Longhua Temple said to have been built by Sun Quan, the King of Wu during the Three Kingdoms (220-280). Covering an area of more than 20,000 square meters (49.4 acres), the temple consists of five magnificent halls standing along the central axis. The temple retains the architectural style of the Song Dynasty monastery of the Buddhist Chan sect. The highlight is the Longhua Pagoda, a seven-story octal pagoda with a height of 40.4 meters (132.5 feet) in front of the temple. It was first built in 247 and keeps the same architectural style of the temple. On March 3rd of the lunar calendar, Longhua Temple will hold a lively temple fair. There will be dragon and lion dance performances, old Shanghai street crafts, and local specialties for sale.

Location: No. 2853, Longhua Road, Xuhui District
Opening Hours: 7:10 to 16:30
Entrance Fee: CNY10

Shanghai Confucius Temple & Jiading Confucius Temple

Both the Shanghai Confucius Temple and the Jiading Confucius Temple are ancient building complexes dedicated to Confucius, the great Chinese thinker and the founder of Confucianism. The Shanghai Temple also once served as the highest institution of learning in ancient Shanghai. Built in 1294, the Shanghai Confucius Temple has a well-planned layout and grand momentum. Some exhibitions such as the teapot exhibition, root carving exhibition and inscriptions with analects and couplets help visitors to better understand Chinese traditional culture. The Jiading Confucius Temple with a long history of nearly 800 years showcases the history of the imperial examinations and examinee's papers. From the gate to the main hall, 3 exquisite archways and 72 stone carving columns are eye-catching.

Location (Shanghai Confucius Temple): No. 215, Wenmiao Road, Huangpu District
Opening Hours: 9:00 - 17:00
Entrance Fee: CNY10

Donglin Temple

Different from those simple and quaint famous temples in shanghai, Donglin Temple is very high profile and splendid. When visiting, the San Gate you see at first sight is quite shocking. The gate is 20 meters (66 feet) long and 15 meters (49 feet) high. Above the gate are 48 solemn Amitabha statues carved in white marble and five golden lotus flowers. The main buildings lie against a huge and high artificial hill. From a distance, the hill looks like a giant Buddha lying on the ground, with its giant arms in the air and its hands facing the east. Here you can also see the world's highest bronze gate engraved with 999 bronze Avalokitesvara statues, Thousand Buddha Gate, the highest indoor thousand-handed Avalokitesvara statues and the unique outdoor Mount of 500 Arhats.

 Zhenru Temple

Among all the famous Shanghai temples, the Zhenru Temple built in the Yuan Dynasty (1271 - 1368) is much quieter. The large-scale temple complex features white walls and black tiles. The main buildings include the Heavenly King, the Main Hall and the Kwan-yin Dian Hall. The Heavenly King is the highlight and very precious as the main structure and most of the components are preserved from the Yuan Dynasty (1271 - 1368). There is a nine-story pagoda where visitors can have a panoramic view of the temple. It is very relaxing and enjoyable to stroll around the temple because the scenery is very beautiful. In addition, the dishes served by the Vegetarian Room taste good and the price is moderate.

Location: No. 399, Nanxi Road, Zhenru Town, Putuo District
Opening Hours: 6:00 – 16:00
Entrance Fee: CNY 10

Xiahai Temple

It is a famous Shanghai temple for fishermen to worship the sea god and pray for peace at sea since ancient times. Today, there are still devout citizens praying and burning incense. Now, the building area of Xiahai Temple is more than 1,800 square meters (0.4 acres). The color of the temple walls is bright yellow and the animal carvings on the top of the buildings are exquisite and lifelike. The temple is divided into the Front Hall, the Back Hall and the East Hall. Different Buddha statues, local gods and goddesses are enshrined. A small and elegant release pool full of colorful Koi is in the east of the temple. You can release or feed the fish. Also, the vegetarian restaurants next to the temple serve delicious vegetarian dishes.

Location: No.73 Kunming Road, Hongkou District
Opening Hours: 7:00 – 16:00
Entrance Fee: CNY5

Fashan Nunnery

With a history of more than 100 years, the Fashan Nunnery is the only nunnery in Yangpu District. The nunnery was destroyed from 1966 to 1976 and it was not restored until 1996. The Mahavira Hall, the Kalan Hall, the Buddhist Chanting Hall, the Sutra Pavilion, the Memorial Hall, the Vegetarian Restaurant and the restrooms of nunneries are the main parts of the temple. Every New Year's Eve, a large number of pilgrims will flock into the temple to worship Buddha to burn incense and worship the gods. And on the first and fifteenth day of every lunar month, fabulous vegetarian dishes are offered. Not available for pilgrims at other times.

Location: No.338, Zhengben Road, Yangpu District
Opening Hours: 8:00 – 17:00
Entrance Fee: CNY10

Ten-Thousand-Buddha Pavilion

The Ten-Thousand-Buddha Pavilion is a large-scale Bhikshuni Ashram in Shanghai firstly constructed in the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644). The temple features a whole wood structure which was inlaid and integrated by tenon - mortise. And what visitors can experience here is grand ancient halls and towers. Elevators are available in the pavilion, which is rarely seen in Chinese temples. Besides, visitors can buy religious articles and souvenirs and have vegetarian food at the inside Vegetarian Restaurant.

Location: No.189, North Street, Fengcheng Town, Fengxian District
Opening Hours: 8:00 – 18:00
Entrance Fee: CNY5
- Last updated on Jan. 04, 2021 -
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