Very few people may have heard of Jiashan County in China, but definitely millions had seen this location on the silver screen. This was where Tom Cruise filmed one of the iconic scenes in the popular movie Mission Impossible III. This Chinese cultural town is over thousands of years old and is a charming county that is under the administration of Jiaxing City, China. It is a quiet, picturesque countryside that has retained its ancient Chinese style of housing and is a natural cultural attraction for adventure seekers. Do you want to know what the best things to do in Jiashan County, China are? Aside from fishing and boating on the lake, you could explore the historic monuments, temples and landmarks in the area.
1. Jiaxing Xitang Wine Museum
The Jiaxing Xitang Wine Museum is a tiny gallery where the town features a small display of the ancient vessels and utensils they use in making and storing their local wine. These vessels include brass, copper and pottery. There is a small section of the museum where photos show the techniques they use in making rice wine.
Jiaxing Xitang Wine Museum
Address: Xitang Town, Jiashan County 314102, China
Operating Hours: Everyday, 7:55 am – 5:31 pm
Price: Free admission if you buy the ticket for the tour package for the water rides
Website: Xitang Wine Museum
2. Zuiyan Gallery
Zuiyan Gallery is an art gallery that is located in the ancient ruins. It features the quaint Drunk Garden. It is a small but exquisitely landscaped garden found in Xitang Old Town. It is one of the free attractions you get once you buy the 300 Yuan ticket to be able to tour the town in a group. It is a small museum that showcases stone alcoves, rocks, exotic plants like bonsai, and a small bridge and stream. It is testimonial to Chinese art represented by the creative arrangement of stones, rocks and plants.
Address: No. 31 Tawan Street, Xitang Town, Jiashan County 314100, China
Price: Free admission if you buy the ticket to tour the Xitang Old Town
Website: Tour of Xitang Old Town
3. Xitang Ancient Town
Xitang Water Town is one of the 6 ancient towns in China protected by the World Heritage Foundation. It is a town that has preserved its ancient structures that dates back to the Ming and Qing Dynasties. You will see cobbled streets, waterways intertwining within the city, old bridges arching like rainbows over the water and old fashioned Chinese houses.
What makes this water town really special is that it features 9 canals that divide the town into 8 areas, the 104 bridges that connect them together and the long covered walkways. These walkways are covered with tiled roofs and are actually narrow roads that span long distances. You can enjoy a leisurely stroll along the longest lane which is Sixianci Lane, which measures 236 meters (774 feet). You don’t need to bring sunblock because you won’t get exposed to the sun or rain while strolling the covered walkways.
Xitang Ancient Town walking tours
Prices: Xitang Combo Ticket: covers 11 sights in Xitang - 100 CNY (16.50 USD), Xitang Night Travel ticket: 50 CNY (8 USD)
Operating hours: all day and 3pm onwards
Website: Xitang Water Town Guide
4. Boat rides through the water town
Aside from their well-preserved ancient Chinese architecture, which is one of the crowd drawers during holidays and long weekends, Jiashan County also takes pride in the various scenic lakes and rivers that intertwine within the topography of the province. Their most famous tourist attraction are the boat rides that takes you through the 9 river canals that are connected by old fashioned stone bridges and surrounded by the traditionally designed houses. The scenery is exceptionally pretty at night when the residents light up their red lanterns that illuminate the waterways.
Operating Hours: all day for a minimum of 15 to 20 minutes. Night Boating operates for 25 minutes at 6pm, 6:30pm, 7pm, 7:30pm, and 8pm
Price: 34.85 USD for 8 people per boat including children and babies
Website: East Village Scenic Area Tour
5. Memorial Hall of Wu Zhen
Wu Zhen, also known as the Plum Blossom Taoist, was one of 4 famous painters during the Yuan Dynasty. He was also a master of paintings, poetry and calligraphy. The Memorial Hall is both the tomb and residence of Wu Zhen. It contains over 10 attractions like the Bazhu Stele Corridor, Plum Blossom Gloriette, Qianhon Cabinet and a pool for washing inkstone. Its architecture emulates the Ming and Qing Dynasty style. Its pavilions, bridges with flowing waters, open gardens with flying birds and fish swimming in ponds, the Wu Zhen relics and his collection of paintings, has made the Memorial Hall a delightful place to be down south of the Yangtze River.
Memorial Hall of Wu Zhen
Address: 178 Huayuan Road, Weitang Town, Jiashan County, 314100, China
Price: Free admission if you buy the Tour ticket to Xitang Old Town
Phone: +86 57384033247
Operating Hours: Sunday to Saturday 8:00 pm to 6:00 am
Website: More info about the Wu Zhen Memorial
6. Guyaoshi Temple
One of the hidden gems of the Jiashan County that is not usually included in the trip itinerary of tour groups is the Guyaoshi Temple. It is a resplendent temple complex that serves as living quarters for the monks and also features a stunning 9-story pagoda. The temple also contains several colorful deities and golden Buddhas of China.
Address: 188 Hongfu Rd, Jiashan Xian, Jiaxing Shi, Zhejiang Sheng, China
Price: free admission if you buy the ticket to Tour of Xitang Old Town
Phone: +86 57384566425
7. Huanxiu Bridge
Though there are numerous bridges that connect the canals all over the town, there is one that stands out among the rest. The historic Huanxiu Bridge is one of the most visited bridges because of its structural beauty. It is one of the bridges built during the Ming Dynasty. You will marvel at this majestic work of ancient Chinese architecture creating a perfect arch over the waterway. Its picturesque features makes it a crowd favorite for souvenir photo shoots.
Address: Huanxiu Bridge, Jiashan Xian, Jiaxing Shi, Zhejiang Sheng, China
Operating Hours: all day
Price: included in the town walking tour ticket of 100 CNY (16.50 USD)
8. Button Museum
Xitang is also known as the town of buttons in China because they produce the majority of the buttons in the country. The museum features amazing displays of the popular Chinese garment called the Cheongsam and how its unique buttons are made. Chinese buttons are made manually from clam shells called Mother of Pearl. These shells are punched, shear polished, shaped, whitened, then drilled by hand without the use of electricity. Other materials they use in making the buttons are bamboo, horn, ivory, silver, silk and brass. The museum has 6 exhibition halls where all kinds of buttons, from the ancient to contemporary designs, are on display. There is even a production line, application of buttons and Chinese knots display area.
Address: West Street, Xitang, China
Phone: +86 57185278076
Operating Hours: Monday to Friday 9:00 am – 5:30 pm
Price: included in the city walk tour when you purchase a ticket for 16.50 USD
9. Exotic street food
Tourists also visit Xitang not just for its beautiful scenery, but also to try the savory local cuisine. There are several restaurants lined up along the waterway, where they offer delicious traditional Chinese food with a good view of the canal. However, what intrigues visitors the most are the offerings of the local street food markets. Here, you will get to taste some exotic local delicacies, dishes and seafood at very reasonable prices. The gastronomical experience itself is priceless.
Street Food Market
Address: There are several you can go to. Shiban Road No. 92 for Grammy Guan’s Stinky Tofu. Yanyuchanglang and Yongning Bridge intersection for The Qian’s beancurd jelly. Below the Songzilaifeng Bridge for the baked roll with dried vegetable. The Main Street has a line-up of a variety of food stalls.
Prices: varied depending on the stall and location
Escape from the concrete jungle
If you want a temporary escape from the concrete jungle, Jaishan County offers a quiet and tranquil sanctuary with its beautiful ancient landscape. It is a place rich with culture and uniqueness that takes you back to a time when life in China was simple and traditional. A trip to this water town is truly unforgettable. From its delicious cuisine and the long walks in centuries old corridors and bridges, to exciting waterways and intriguing temples and landmarks, it’s no wonder Jaishan County is a destination that is sought after by many travelers.
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