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Master of the Nets Garden — Suzhou's Smallest Garden

Master of the Nets Garden — Suzhou's Smallest Garden

Written by Chris QuanUpdated Nov. 22, 2023

Master of the Nets Garden is the smallest yet the most delicate landscape garden in Suzhou City.

  • Chinese: 网师园 Wǎngshī Yuán / wung-shrr ywen/ 'Master of the Nets Garden'
  • Area: 0.6 hectares (1.5 acres)
  • Age: more than 800 years
  • Popular activities: walking, photography
  • Suited to: the people who love traditional Chinese architecture and garden
  • Time needed: 1–1½ hours

The History and Feature of the Garden

Master of the Nets GardenMaster of the Nets Garden

Also called Fisherman's Garden, the 0.6-hectare garden is an elegant structure of a typical official's residence in the Qing Dynasty (1636-1911).

The present garden was founded on the former site of a Song dynasty official's mansion. Its owner, an early Qing-dynasty official Song Zongyuan, gave its present name based on the earlier one, "Fisherman's Retreat".

Master of the Nets Garden consists of a residential quarter and the garden proper. Inside the refined residential quarter, the halls are linked closely by a corridor. The garden, petite but substantial, is focused on a pond and decorated with plants, rocks, pavilions, and stone bridges.

The garden is especially fancied by overseas visitors and is praised as the most ornate and intact private gardens in Suzhou. Some tourists even offer a huge amount of money to buy it.

The Garden at Night

Master of the Nets Garden presents another scene at night. Lanterns light up in the garden, highlighting the contours of the pavilions, terraces and corridors of the garden.

Performers dressed in local ancient costumes stage various shows, such as Kunqu Opera (Suzhou Opera), folk singing and dancing and instrumental playing. Interesting thing is these performances are staged in different halls, pavilions or chambers, so that when you walk into another room, it will be a different show.

Evening performances at the garden are available at 19:30 till 22:00 every night from mid March to mid November. Visitors can buy evening tickets to visit the garden and enjoy evening performances.

Travel Essentials for Planning a Trip

Master of the Nets GardenMaster of the Nets Garden
  • Location: 11 Kuo Jia Tou Xiang, Dai Cheng Qiao Road, Gusu District
  • Transport: Take tourism bus 55, 202, 529 to Wang Shi Yuan (Master of the Nets Garden) Station
  • Open: 7:30am–5:30pm
  • Entrance fee: 40 yuan (Apr–May, Jul–Oct); 30 yuan (Jan–Mar, Jun, Nov–Dec)

Nearby Attractions

  • Humble Administrator's Garden: It the largest and most renowned classical landscape garden in Suzhou.
  • Lingering Garden: It is a classic example of the Qing Dynasty's garden landscaping.
  • Tiger Hill: It is an amazing place with a great pagoda on top of the hill and a nice view.

Tour Master of the Nets Garden Garden with China Highlights

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