Home China Guide Yangzhou Attractions He Garden (Hé Yuán) — a Historic Mansion

He Garden (Hé Yuán) — a Historic Mansion

Expansive, traditional He Garden has also won multiple national/international recognitions, both for its excellently preserved cultural architecture and natural beauty. Overall, the state-protected heritage site is definitely worth the time taken to leisurely stroll its grounds, admire the tasteful fusion of late 1800s Chinese and Western architecture, and unwind.

Quick Facts

  • Chinese Name: Hé Yuán (何园 /her/ywen/ 'He [family name] Garden')
  • Area: 14,000 square meters (17,000 square yards)
  • Age: built in 1883
  • Must-see areas: East garden “Peony” and “Boat” halls, the northern “Butterfly” male feasting hall and the western “Rockery built with Pieces of Stones”
  • Suited to: Natural beauty lovers, history enthusiasts, romantic tours and families seeking to get away from the city bustle.

Highlights of He Yuan

He Garden brings the charm of a cloister structure into full play, featuring a 1,500-meter (4,921 feet) long, scenic double-path cloister. The garden consists of distinct four areas: the East Garden, the West Garden, the Residential Area and Pianshi Garden, all of which are well-connected by the heavily decorated cloisters.

heyuan gardenHeyuan Garden

East Garden (Dōng Yuán 东园)

The East Garden is centered upon "Boat Hall" (Chuán Tīng 船厅), which, as its name suggests, has been artfully constructed to resemble its namesake. This ship-shaped hall boasts a gable, a hip roof and a corridor with single eaves. The hall is 15.65 meters (51.35 feet) long and 9.5 meters (31.2 feet) wide, around which the ground is delicately paved with pebble stones and tiles.

To the north of the hall stands the "Rockery closely sticking to the Wall" (Tiē Bì Jiǎshān 贴壁假山), the naturally-beautiful display being well worth a visit.

To the east of the hall, a hexangular pavilion is erected, which backs onto the pink wall. In the west are weathered stone steps leading to the main hall corridor. Moving to the south of the hall, you can find a line of five rooms, interconnected with corridors on three sides.

The Half-Moon Platform (Bànyuè Xíng Píngtái 半月形平台) stands in the middle of the corridors, designed as an ideal platform for star/moon gazing, historically used during the Mid-Autumn Festival. To add to the atmosphere, mayflower and plum trees are laced thoughtfully around the platform.

West Garden (Xī Yuán 西园)

Centered on the large decorative pond, the West Garden is spacious and scenic, the halls and corridors built around the pond in picturesque disorder.

To the north of the pond stands "Butterfly Hall" (Húdié Tīng 蝴蝶厅), the historic feasting site for male guests. To the eastern side of the pond lies a stone bridge that connects to the "Water Heart Pavilion" (Shuǐxīn Tíng 水心亭) in the center of the pond.

To the west of the pond lies the famous “Rockery built with Pieces of Stones” (Piàn Shíshānfáng 片石山房), dramatic, with steep overlapping peaks and rustic charm. Of note, a number of famous national TV drama programs, such as "The Dream of the Red Chamber" and the sequel of "Princess Pearl", have been filmed in the Water Heart Pavilion. Finally, walking southwards, you will arrive at the Residential Area.

Pianshi Garden (Piàn Shì Shān Fáng 片仕山房)

Pianshi Garden is the renowned masterpiece of Shi Tao (Shí Tāo 石涛), a famous early Qing Dynasty painter (1644-1911). This structure is believed to be his sole remaining work of art to date and the beautiful preserved site makes great use of water features, rockery art and architecture in a cosy space.

The focus of the garden lies on the rockery's decorative moon and echoes the artist's ambition that "small as the garden is, it contains the whole world". Crossing the water via a delicate stone bridge leads to a traditional room, believed to of historically served as a sanctuary from the summer heat.

History

Also known as Jixiao Mountain Villa, Yangzhou He Garden was originally built as a tranquil private garden by He Zangdao (the wealthy Chinese delegate to France), during Emperor Tongzhi's reign. Named jointly after its owner (He) and a favoured poet (Tao Yuanming), the garden was established directly on top of the historic Double Pagoda Tree Garden (of which, one original pagoda trees remains to date).

The garden was later expanded to incorporate Pianshi Garden (Piàn Shì Shān Fáng 片仕山房) in the 9th year of Emperor Guangxu's reign in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). It's awarded as being the "First Garden of the late Qing dynasty" (1644-1911), where celebrities such as Huang Binhong (a great master of traditional Chinese painting) and Zhu Qianhua (a famous writer) once lived.

Transport

  • Location: 66 Xuningmen Main Street, Guangling District, Yangzhou, 225001
  • Bus routes: Local buses 209, 19 and 61
  • Open: 7:30 am to 5:15 pm each day
  • Admission fee: RMB 40 (on season), RMB 30 (off season

Other Local Attractions

Daming Buddhist Temple is a beautiful and important cultural site boasting artistic gardens and architecture dating from the Southern Dynasty (457-464).

Ge Garden is a gorgeous private garden built in the Qing Dynasty (1818). Ge Garden is famous for its bamboo forest and rockeries and is definitely worth a visit.

Slender West Lake (Shòu Xīhú 瘦西湖): The national park of Yangzhou is centred around the scenic Slender West Lake. The area is abundant in weeping willows and historic pagodas making it an ideal place to slowly unwind after a day of travel. Located on Dahongqiao Road, Hanjiang District, Yangzhou. Admission Fee: CNY 150 (Mar. 1 - Nov. 30); CNY 120 (Dec. 1 - Feb. 28/29).

Exploring the Yangtze Delta with Us

Our 5-Day Suzhou, Nanjing, and Wuxi tour includes scenic touring along the waterways of Suzhou, Nanjing and Wuxi. This package includes access to renowned heritage sites and could be tailored to include visits to the beautiful Yangzhou gardens, historic city and religious temples at your discretion. 

Alternatively, you can tailor your own tour to include your preferred destinations, including exactly the attractions that interest you most and the areas of China you're most curious to explore.