The 2023 Yuyuan Garden Lantern Festival officially opened in December, and has already welcomed huge crowds of excited tourists and locals alike.
This is the 28th edition of this dazzling and colorful celebration of a thousand lanterns, and it’s eagerly awaited each year.
It has become one of the very best options for Shanghai residents to visit and spend time with friends and relatives, always offering a magical night to all visitors!
Visiting Yuyuan Garden has become an incredibly popular pastime during Chinese New Year for many years now, and is an important part of many Shanghainese’s celebrations.
This is your chance to come and experience the magic and see why it’s become such a meaningful event for all who visit.
The theme of this year’s Yuyuan Garden Lantern Festival is based around a celebrated classic of Chinese mythology, the famous Shan Hai Jing.
The aim was to create an incredible lantern show centered on this celebrated myth, from which many traditional Chinese cultures draw inspiration from up until today.
The central square provides guests with scenery from the Chinese Zodiac.
Here, the focal point representing The Year of the Rabbit, the Jade Rabbit rises to the east, with a classic Dunhuang shape, fluttering and dancing in the breeze alongside traditional Chinese dance performances.
At this special time of year, the rare beasts of Shan Hai Jing all visit Yuyuan Garden to join the celebrations. Alongside the Jade Rabbit is the sacred beast Kun, also from Shan Hai Jing mythology!
Additional Sites to Visit Around Yuyuan Garden
This year Jiuqu Bridge is decorated with a dragon spreading its wings and soaring to the heavens. Walk across the Jiuqu Bridge with your family and friends and pray for great fortune in the coming year.
Strolling through the lake pavilion, you may see the sprint of the white deer. It’s enchanted antlers are especially eye-catching.
Jiangnan Silk Bamboo Band
This year, the Five Happinesses – rabbits, magpies, dogs, turtles and bats – have formed the dynamic Jiangnan Silk Bamboo Band to represent the most auspicious of animals.
As you wander the delightful old streets of Yuyuan Garden, you can take in scenery from both Yuyuan Garden and Shanghai Museum.
Look up and you'll see a koi fish from the Shanghai Museum's collection, wishing you the best of luck and good fortune in the New Year!
Lantern Displays and Lights
Amazing scenes await you throughout your entire visit to Yuyuan Garden.
At the Golden Square, Yuyuan Old Street and Ninghui Road, you will be able to enjoy different artistic lantern displays, collaboratively created by Disney and Shanghai Museum for an extra special treat!
At 4pm every evening a special event will occur. Thousands of spectacular lights appear instantly, magically transforming the whole environment into a fantasy wonderland!
This breath-taking moment is something you must see yourself to believe.
Inside the Tianyu Building, a mini light show of the “Little People” is held to provide you with a ‘divine perspective!’
Wandering around the Lantern Festival, there will also be incredible surprise encounters!
The Jade Rabbit Fairy, the Flower Fairy, the Scholar, the Goodsman and the General have come to join us from ancient times.
They will stop at different locations, interacting with the public enthusiastically, giving traditional gifts and conveying the joy of this special time!
Guessing lantern riddles is one of the most popular traditional folklore activities of Chinese people during Spring Festival and Lantern Festival.
This year, Yuyuan Garden has set up several interactive lantern riddle areas to customize lantern riddles with regional themes to provide the crowds with the fun and challenge of solving riddles!
Chinese New Year Scroll Writing
Yuyuan Garden is also offering Chinese New Year classes on intangible cultural heritage... for free!
Practice handwriting Chinese New Year scrolls and partake in making incense pouches to add to the festive atmosphere.
This is an exciting opportunity that you won’t easily find elsewhere!
Since the late Qing Dynasty, it has been a unique folkloric activity for Shanghai people to go to Lake Pavilion during the Chinese New Year to drink Yuanbao tea for good luck.
Drinking Yuanbao, or ‘ingots tea,’ is very important for Shanghaiese people and worth experiencing for yourself.
It is named so because the shape is similar to that of an ingot, and in Chinese, the symbolism of ingots is something beautiful that can bring one wealth and happiness each year.
Sitting in a lake pavilion with your family and friends and drinking Yuanbao tea in the New Year is a great way to pray for good fortune and a bright future!
Shanghai Classical Restaurant
Founded in 1875, the Shanghai Classical Restaurant, formerly known as Rongshun Restaurant, has a history of 148 years and is often seen as the ‘ceiling’ for Shanghainese cuisine.
Many Shanghai locals have the habit of coming to the Shanghai Classical Restaurant for their New Year's Eve dinners, which is always full of joyous reunions of family and close friends.
Celebrated chef Luo Yulin, the chef of Shanghai Classical Restaurant, is the fifth generation of masters cooking dishes and recipes accurately reflecting China’s intangible cultural heritage.
It was he who first recommended the 12 Intangible Cultural Heritage Courses, which include such luxurious and traditional dishes as Eight Treasure Duck and Shrimp and Large Black Ginseng, among many others.
These treasured and flavorsome dishes are a genuine taste of Chinese New Year, and offer a fascinating insight into the best that Chinese cuisine has to offer.
January 22-28, 10am-10pm
February 1-5, 10am-10pm
*Please note that on February 5, tickets will be RMB80 for adults and RMB50 for children.
There are four ticket points available:
Fang Bang Zhong Lu (near Jiujiaochang Lu)
Or simply scan the QR code:
Note: In case of adverse weather conditions, on-site circumstances or other unavoidable factors, entry times, entry conditions or ticket sales locations may be subject to change. Please refer to the information published by the organizer for further guidance.
[All images courtesy of Yuyaun Garden]