Zhujiajiao Water Town is one of the four ancient towns in Shanghai, popularly known as Shanghai’s Venice. It is more than 1,700 years old, with archaeological findings dating back to even 5,000 years ago.
The little fan-shaped town, nestled amidst lakes and mountains, is also known as Pearl Stream because of its many glistening streams. It is located in Qingpu District on the outskirts of Shanghai, 50km away from the Bund.
The charming and tranquil town is marked by unique bridges spanning numerous waterways lined by willow trees; stone-cobbled pathways; several historical sites; and traditional Chinese style ancient houses with courtyards and private gardens dating back to the Ming and Qing dynasties.
In the period of the Three Kingdoms, Zhujiajiao prospered as a trading and business zone with regular country fairs due to its many canals which were used to transport goods like rice and cloth. Historical rice shops, banks, spice stores are still found today.
Zhujiajiao has many sights of historic interest including Y-Art Gallery, Tongtianhe Medicine Shop, Qing Dynasty Post Office, City God Temple, Shanghai Handwork Exhibition Hall, Imperial Academy Stele Museum, Shanghai Quanhua Art Hall, Yuanjin Meditation Room and Buddhist Temple, Kezhi Garden, Fangsheng Bridge.
Recently there has been an influx of overdevelopment, tourism, and a number of artsy bars, cafes, and shops opened up by millennials who have started settling here.
Admission Fee: No fee for the village itself. Combo Tickets are for the attractions inside the town.
RMB 120 for a cruise boat and nine scenic spots
RMB 60.00 for eight scenic spots
RMB 30.00 for four scenic spots
Free for children below 1.3 meters
Opening Hours: 08:30 – 16:30
Time required: 5 hours
Popular activities: Boating, walking, seeing the ancient buildings and bridges, and photography
Transport: Because of its numerous waterways, most of Zhujiajiao’s internal transport is by boat.
9 Things to Do in Zhujiajiao Water Town
- Try some of the famous cuisine including green soybeans, Zarou, and lotus roots, besides checking out the local cafes, teahouses, coffeehouses, and restaurants.
- Zhujiajiao is famous for its 36 distinctive bridges built during the Ming and Qing Dynasties, in different shapes, sizes, styles, and materials ranging from wood to stone to marble. Fangsheng Bridge is the most iconic one, built in 1571. It is the longest, tallest, and largest stone bridge in Shanghai, 70m long and 5.8m tall, with five symmetric arches. The central arch has a stone tablet named Dragon Gate Stone with eight dragons coiled around a pearl, and the end pillars have four stone sculpted lions.
- Stroll along Zhujiajiao’s nine ancient streets, with North Street being the most popular one, lined with old buildings, restaurants, and coffee shops. line both sides of the narrow street.
- Kezhi Yuan is a garden built in 1912. It features a five-storey building with a pavilion on its roof, a green space, and a man-made hill.
- Enjoy Zhujiajiao’s waters via a boat ride. Canal gondolas will take you up and down the main canal, or around town, while the larger cruise boats are for lake trips.
- See the history and culture of Zhujiajiao in the Culture and Art Museum through various paintings and statues.
- Go inside the old Post Office, built in 1903, to see the development of China’s postal service. Exhibits include ancient letters written on bamboo, stamps, envelopes, paintings, and antique postcards of old Shanghai.
- Visit the Handicraft Exhibition Hall, in a 200-year-old house, which hosts hundreds of artists from all over China.
- There are countless little shops in Zhujiajiao selling unique hand-made traditional wares including textiles, jewelry, antique carved wood sculptures, furniture, hand-woven traditional local cloth, Chinese instruments from the ancient Qin era, traditional teapots and teacups, Chinese porcelain wares, and dragons and monsters made out of twine and pearls. Another specialty is wooden puzzles with interlocking parts originally invented by the wood-puzzle maker Luban from 500BC.
Tips for Zhujiajiao Water Town
- The town is crowded with local and foreign visitors on weekends and public holidays, so it is better to visit on weekdays.
- Since many areas have become touristy, go to the smaller alleys where the older local residents live to get the original flavor of the town.
- Zhujiajiao Water Village is a good trip to make if you have a one-day layover in Shanghai.
Recommended Hotels in Zhujiajiao Water Town
- The Tile Guesthouse in Zhujiajiao ancient town Shanghai (0.4 Km from center)
- Old Studio (0.5 Km from center)
- Ahn Luh Zhujiajiao (0.4 Km from center)
- Zhujiajiao Jiao Li Xiao Zhu Boutique Inn (0.6 Km from center)
- Dazhaiyuan Inn (0.7 Km from center)
Getting to Zhujiajiao Water Town
By Metro Line 17 – get off at Zhujiajiao Station, then walk 15 mins to the town;
The Huzhu Express Line or Huzhu Special Line to Zhujiajiao Bus Station, then walk 15 mins; By the Tourism Bus at Shanghai Stadium or Hongkou Soccer Stadium to Zhujiajiao; By the Pink Bus from Pu’an Road Bus Station or Shanghai Ti Yu Guan Station.