6 Best places in Beijing Suburbs for the Golden Ginkgoes
Traditionally, the best time to view the gingko trees in Beijing is from October 20th until November 15th every year. At this time of year, the yellow and green ginkgo leaves dance with each other like clusters of butterflies, and the contrast with the ancient grey buildings is a distinctive sight.
1. Dajue Temple (大觉寺)
There is a thousand-year-old ginkgo tree at Dajue Temple in the Western Hills area of Beijing. Every autumn, the ginkgo leaves turn gold, and the harmonious match with the secluded, ancient temple forms a view that you will not easily forget. The best time to view the trees at Dajue Temple is from October 22nd until November 11th. During this time, the temple will hold the Dajue Temple Culture Festival, with the theme of appreciating gingko trees and promoting ginkgo culture.
There are four ancient gingko trees at Dajue Temple. The Ginkgo King on the left side of Amitayus Hall has a history of more than 1,000 years. It is over 30 meters in height and about 7 to 8 meters in diameter. It would take seven or eight people to encircle it. More than half of the yard is covered by shade from the great Ginkgo King tree.
Ticket Price: 10 yuan (offseason), 20 yuan (peak s eason)
Hours: 8 a.m. – 5: p.m.
Bus Route: Take Bus No. 346 or No. 330 at the Summer Palace Station, get off at Wenquan Station to transfer to Bus No. 633, and then get off at Dajue Temple Station.
Car Route: Beijing-Tibet Expressway (Get off at the Beianhe Exit)—Beiqing Road - Beianhe River - Dajue Temple. Or northwestern Sixth Ring Road (Get off at the Junwenlu Exit) - Dajue Temple
2. Tanzhe Temple (潭柘寺)
Standing majestically on the east side in front of the Vairocana Buddha hall, the ancient ginkgo of Tanzhe Temple has a leafy green crown and is over 30 meters tall. The large and straight trunk has a circumference of about nine meters. It was planted in the Tang Dynasty, over 1,300 years ago.
Ticket Price: 55 yuan
Hours: Summer 8:00 a.m. ac– 5:00 p.m., winter 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Delicious Food: Jiafu Restaurant in the scenic area specializes in the elaborately prepared Tanzhe vegetarian cuisine. You will surely have your appetite satisfied and appreciate the delicate vegetarian food.
Bus Route: Take Bus No. 326 to Hetan Station and then transfer to taxi to reach the temple, or take the Tourism Bus No. 7 or the subway to Pingguoyuan Station and then transfer to Bus No. 931.
3. Hongluo Temple （红螺寺）
The largest temple in northern Beijing, Hongluo Temple has many famous gardens - the "Three Wonders". One of the wonders is the pair of ginkgo trees from the Tang Dynasty that are in front of the Main Hall, one male and the other female.
Ticket Price : 54 yuan
Hours: Summer 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., winter 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Bus Route：Take Bus No. 916 to Huairou district and then catch a taxi (about 10 yuan) to reach Hongluo Temple.
Car Route: Starting from the Sanyuanqiao viaduct in Beijing, take the airport expressway, get off at Bei Ao Toll Station, drive along Jingmi Road and go down the Huairou overpass into Huairou district. Drive to the north to reach Hongluo Temple (about 10 minutes).
4. Stone Buddha Temple (石佛寺)
Inside the Stone Buddha Temple in Siqiaozi Village outside Juyong Pass, Changping district, there stands a large, ancient ginkgo, which is over 30 meters tall and has a circumference of 7.6 meters. The ginkgo was planted in the Tang Dynasty, over 1,200 years ago, and it is known as the “Great Holy Wood of Guangou," one of the “72 Guangou Attractions." Now it has become one of the attractions around the Badaling Great Wall. This ginkgo is a female, with branches full of rich fruit every autumn.
Bus Route: Take Bus No. 919 to Badaling Station and then catch a minibus to reach Stone Buddha Temple.
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5. Xifeng Temple (西峰寺)
Xifeng Temple is on the east side of Tanzhe Temple. The temple is divided into an upper and a lower part. Inside the upper part there stands a giant, towering ancient ginkgo. It is over 30 meters tall, and has a circumference of 7.5 meters, a relic from the Song Dynasty. This gingko is also female, and it is the most productive ancient ginkgo in the Beijing area.
Bus Route: Take Bus No. 931 from Pingguoyuan Subway Station and get off at Xifeng Temple Station.
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6. Xiangyan Temple (香岩寺)
Inside the Xiangtangzi Primary School (the site of Xiangyan Temple during the Tang Dynasty) in Juge Village, Miyun county, there is a great, ancient gingko tree, with a height of 25 meters and a circumference of 9.1 meters. It was planted before the Tang Dynasty, over 1,300 years ago. It is known as the “Oldest Ancient Ginkgo” in the Beijing area (identified by experts from the Beijing Bureau of Parks and Woods in the autumn of 1990). According to the Old Stories of Beijing City: "There is a ginkgo in the Xiangyan Temple, so the temple is also known as Gingko Temp le.” This ginkgo is regarded as a “divine tree” by the villagers nearby. In the past, people hung various banners with words of prayer and blessings on the ginkgo, in the hope that they would bring good luck and prosperity.
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I updated this article on February 28, 2014
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