Ancient Yi Garden (Guyi Garden)

Located in Nanxiang, a town in the Jiading District of Shanghai, Ancient Yi Garden is 21 kilometers (about 13 mi) from the city center. Built originally during the reign of Emperor Jiajing of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), it had been named simply 'Yi Garden'. It was subsequently renamed during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) when it was massively restored.

Ancient Yi Garden, also known as Guyi Garden, ranks the first among the five classical gardens of Shanghai. The four others are the Drunk Pool Garden, Autumn Sightseeing Garden (Qiupu Garden), Zigzag Water Garden and Yuyuan Garden. Covering over 1.5 ha (17,940 sq yd), Ancient Yi Garden is divided into four main scenic areas: Yi Garden, Flower Fragrance Park, Crane in Stream Pond and Moonlit Bamboo Park. Its main features are Ming Style Architectures, Paths with Motifs, Green Bamboos, Couplets Scrolls and Poems and Tranquil Streams.

Yi Garden

The name of "Yi", which means a beautiful sight of bamboo, was inspired by poems in the Book of Songs and Odes to Qin, a kind of musical instrument. "Yi" reflects an artistic conception of green bamboos. Bamboos are a traditional feature of the garden. As is recorded in the Yi Garden Annals, the most graceful scenery in the garden is the mountain which is fully covered with bamboos. Green, elegant and graceful, bamboos present an evergreen landscape.

The Angle Missing Pavilion, Tranquil Pavilion, White Crane Pavilion, Moon Painting Corridor and Small Cloud Rockery are the main scenic spots in the garden. The Pavilions and buildings here are virtually featured in typical Jiangnan residences. The buildings are mainly constructed around water, presenting the artistic conception of "pavilions are all surrounded by water, and mountains to show their elegance despite their number."

Decorated with small tiles and pantiles, the buildings are designed with hollowed out patterns on the roof ridges. The eaves, gates and windows are painted with plain but elegant colors. All the designs and patterns of these buildings are of a typical Ming Dynasty style.

The Angle Missing Pavilion is located on the top of Bamboo Hill. It is a patriotic symbolization which was built to record the anger of the Chinese people when the three provinces in northeastern China were invaded. The pavilion features three angles, not four, the lost angle representing the loss of the three provinces in northeastern China at that time.

Flower Fragrance Park

The Nanxiang Screen Hall, Fragrance Veranda and Nine Zigzag Bridge are the main scenic spots in the Flower Fragrance Park. Flowers in this area are greatest in number and varieties and include peony, lotus, cherry blossom, plum blossom etc. Flower exhibitions are held in different seasons to add a lively atmosphere. The nine zigzags on the bridge are there to confuse evil spirits and stop them from crossing the bridge. Another such famous bridge in Shanghai can be seen at the Huxinting Tea House.

Crane in Stream Pond

Crane Longevity Pavilion, Twin Crane Residence and Willow Shadow Bridge are the main scenic spots in Crane in Stream Pond Area. The eaves of Twin Crane Pavilion are in the shape of cranes. The aim of the natural construction is to help visitors relax and escape the stresses of daily life.

The layout of the garden has focused on Teasing Goose Pond since the Ming Dynasty. As this is a large garden, the streams within it flow for quite long distances between pools that vary in size and shape. After several restorations, some water sceneries such as the Teasing Goose Pond, Mandarin Duck Lake, Pond of Lotus and Lake of Turtle Mound have been connected to form a coherent water landscape. As the visitors walks along the paths that wind through the carefully created landscape, fresh vistas and scenic spots come into view. The ponds act as mirrors clearly reflecting the pavilions.

Moonlit Bamboo Garden

The Stone Playing House, Gentleman's Hall, Residence with Bamboo, Bamboo Garden and Lean Shadow and Broken Moon Veranda are the main scenic spots in Moonlit Bamboo Garden. Of all the scenic spots, the Bamboo Garden presents the most distinctive feature.

Paths with motifs are another feature of the garden. These paths are made not only for walking, but also for appreciating as art works. The materials and shapes of these featured paths vary from one scenic spot to another. The common paths are made of ordinary sand and little stones. Paths around the pavilions are made of scree and tile fragments forming mosaics of animals and plants. Paths around the rockery are shaped like a dragon. These special paths serve as guides for the visitors leading them to each of the different scenic spots. 

The visitor appeal of Ancient Yi Garden is enriched by special seasonal events. For example, the Bamboo Culture Art Festival, Lotus Exhibition, Peony Club and New Year Lantern Riddles Competitions all form part of these special events.

How to Get to Ancient Yi Garden Shanghai

1. Take Metro Line 11 and get off at Nanxiang Station. Take the exit 1 and walk west for about 1 km (1,100 yards).
2. Take bus 62, 821, 828, Hutang Special Line, Jiading 52, Jiading 110, Jiading 111, Jiading 115, Jiading 119, or Shangjia Line and get off at Guyiyuan (Ancient Yi Garden) Station.
  Shanghai Bus / Metro Search

Admission Fee CNY 12
Free for children under 1.3 meters (4.3 feet) in height
Opening Hours South Gate: 7:00-18:00
North Gate: 6:00-17:00

Additionally, after enjoying the admirable garden, you may be hungry. Don't worry! The delicious local snack - Nanxiang Steamed Stuffed Bun will add more interest to your trip.

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