Nanjing, with a history of more than 2,000 years, is the place where the emperors of a staggering 10 dynasties built their capital in Chinese history. Strolling through Nanjing is just like wandering in antique stores because the historic underpinnings of the city are tangible.
Visit the quaint Confucian Temple to experience the imperial examinations at that time, cruise along the Qinhuai River and discover its beauty, taste the snacks around Confucius Temple to explore its savory flavors, and pay a visit to the Memorial Hall to the Victims in the Nanjing Massacre to appreciate the importance of what took place here roughly 80 years ago.
Thinking of visiting China? Take a look at our tour packages below, or give us a call to create your own tailor-made China tour!
Visit Dr. Sun Yat-sen’s Mausoleum
Dr. Sun Yat-sen’s Mausoleum is the mausoleum built for memorializing the Father of Republic of China
Location: Southern Slope of Gold Purple Temple How to get there: Take bus of No.9, Tourist 1, Tourist 2 and Tourist 3 to get there.
Visit the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall
Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall is built to commemorate the victims of the Nanjing Massacre committed by Japanese
Location: 418, Jiangdongmen Street, Nanjing How to get there: Take the bus No7, 37, 61, 63, and get off at Cha Nan (Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall)
Cruise Along Qinhuai River
Qinhuai River is the mother river of Nanjing. Cruise along the Qinhuai River to explore Nanjing’s history while appreciating the varied landscape
Location: in downtown of Nanjing, in front of Confucius Temple How to get there: Take the bus of No. 4, 7, 40, 44, 49, 62, 304, 2, 14, 16, 23, Tourist2, Tourist4, 26, 33, 43, 46, 63, 81, 87, 101, 102, 103, 106, 305 and get off at Confucius Temple.
Visit the Confucius Temple
Confucius Temple is built to honor Confucius, the founder of the philosophy of Confucianism which was such a significant belief system in ancient Chinese history.
How to get there: Take the bus of No. 4, 7, 40, 44, 49, 62, 304, 2, 14, 16, 23, Tourist2, Tourist4, 26, 33, 43, 46, 63, 81, 87, 101, 102, 103, 106, 305 and get off at Confucius Temple.
Eat Snack on the Street around Confucius Temple
Around the Confucius Temple, there is a food street, where many tasty local snacks are available,
Location: On Confucius Temple, Downtown of Nanjing
Watch Nanjing Baiju
Baiju is an old folk singing art in Nanjing, which is full of Nanjing local flavor. Watch it and discover Nanjign culture further.
Walk on the Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge
Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge is the first double-decked road-rail truss designed and built with Chinese technology in China, which is an impressive sight.
The climate of Nanjing varies from season to season. The best time to visit Nanjing is in spring and autumn. In spring, all the plums are in full blossom, which rewards Nanjing with a mesmerizing landscape. In autumn, red leaves in the Xixiakou Scenic Area are available and visitors would be rewarded with an amazing red sea of leaves.
Nanjing’s climate is technically classified as subtropical, meaning June and July are the rainy season. In summer, Nanjing is rather hot, and the nickname “Furnace City” is given, along with Chongqing, Xian, and other Chinese cities. In July and August, the temperature of Nanjing could soar to 104 degrees (40℃). In December, on the other hand, if it snows, Nanjing appears even more enchanting as the whole city is enveloped with white snow.
Folk Culture of Nanjing
As one of the four ancient cities in China, Najing boasts an impressive history and profound culture. Nanjing is also one of the educational and cultural centers in China, where traditional Chinese festivals are celebrated. During the Spring Festival, Nanjing people will post couplets and Door gods, and some professionals even post a picture of a rooster on their door. During the Lantern Festival, lantern shows are a common sight. Tomb-sweeping day, spring outing, and Double Ninth Festival, are other festive holidays to enjoy in Nanjing.
Nanjing Baiju Tune
Baiju is a prevalent storytelling and ballad singing folk tune in Nanjing, which evolved from songs sung by workers when producing cloud brocades. With a history of more than 600 years, Baiju is the oldest folk tune in Nanjing. The actor performing Nanjing Baiju is generally one or two persons, with a maximum of 5 people. All the dialogue in Baiju is spoken in the Nanjing dialect, easy to understand but full of humor.
Cruise the Qinghuai River on Dragon Boat Festival
During the Dragon Boat Festival, Nanjing people eat rice dumplings and Green Bean Cake. Also people will use the sunshine-exposed water to wash eyes to avoid eye disease. Moreover, people will hang folium artemisiae argyi (“silvery wormwood”) onto the door to drive away bad luck. At night, houses flanked on both sides of Qinhuai River are decorated with colorful lanterns, and people will cruise on dragon boats to appreciate the enchanting nightscape of the Qinhuai River.
Autumn on Mid-autumn Day
The Mid-autumn Day is also referred as the August Festival in southern China. On this day, people living far away will try their best to return home to be with their families. Nanjing people enjoy sitting together and appreciating the moon with family members. Hanging out on this night is called “Walking under Moonlight”. On this special night, people will worship the moon: display various fruits and moon-cakes and then burn incense and firecrackers as a way of praying health and good luck.
Welcome Wealth God on Little Year
According to the custom of Nanjing, the fifth day of January in the lunar calendar is called “Little Year”, which is an important day for the Nanjing people. On this day, all the trash stored would be cleared thoroughly. People will stay up and wait for the coming of midnight on the next day. When it comes, different kinds of firecrackers are traditionally lit simultaneously to welcome the god of wealth into their homes. On this day, according to the tradition of Nanjing, various lanterns of different shapes are hung on the Confucian Temple.
Among the numerous types of food offered in Nanjing, Salted Pressed Duck, Salted Soup Boiled Duck, Soft Fire Boiled Noodles, Shijin Beancurd Jelly and Duck Blood Soup are what cannot be missed along your Nanjing trip. No tour of Nanjing is complete without tasting the following dishes.
What to Eat in Nanjing
Salted Pressed Duck (ban ya)
The Pressed Duck (ban ya) of Nanjing is famous in China and abroad. Divided into cured and spring ones, the duck is salted and air dried. Due to its tender and tight flesh just like a board, the named of Salted Pressed Duck is given.
Where to buy: Available in specialty shops, shops around the Confucius Temple
Salted Soup Boiled Duck
The Salted Soup Boiled Duck is a famous specialty in Nanjing, which has a history of more than 1,000 years. It features an appetizing flavor, tender flesh and crisp taste. The ducks prepared around Mid-autumn Day are the most savory. Since it is usually prepared during the blossoming time of the sweet-scented osmanthus, the dish is sometimes referred to by the nick name of “Sweet-scented Osmanthus Duck”.
Where to buy: Available in specialty shops, shops around the Confucius Temple
Soft Fire Boiled Noodles
When preparing Soft Fire Boiled Noodle, a famous specialty in Nanjing, no soy sauce, salt and oil would be added to ensure its mild taste. Thus, seasonings in this soup plays an crucial role for the taste of this noodles. When cooking, Salt Pressed Duck would be boiled and its soup would be the main seasons of the noodle. Besides this, other ingredients like vegetables would be added into the noodles for special flavor.
Where to eat: Mingwalang Street, Nanjing
Shijin Beancurd Jelly (Dou fu nao)
Beancurd Jelly is a famous snack in China, and the type made in Nanjing is different from others, particularly because of the ingredients used. The main ingredient is bean-curd, and other auxiliaries like small shrimp, hot pickled mustard tuber, agaric, chopped green oinion, chili oil and sesame oil are also needed. The Shijin Beancurd Jelly is famous for its delicate color, tender flavor and savory taste.
Where to eat: Mingwalang Street, Nanjing
Duck Blood Soup
People living in Nanjing enjoy eating duck, among which Salted Soup Duck is the most common, whose head, neck, gizzard, wing and claw are all edible. This is no exception when it comes to the duck’s blood, which could be boiled to make the tasty duck blood soup. The blood for preparing soup should fresh to ensure its flavor. Boiled with vermicelli, livers, duck intestines and caraway, the Duck Blood Soup appears much fresh, tender and appetizing.
Where to eat: Huiwei Duck Blood Soup Restaurant, behind Laidi Square, Nanjing Confucius Temple Street
What to Buy in Nanjing
Nanjing boasts diverse handicrafts, such as cloud brocades, rain flower stones, gold foil-made products, velvet, imitation ancient ivory carvings and wooden carvings.
Rain Flower Stone
The rain flower stone is quite famous, which is an ideal souvenir for your Nanjing trip. To see some authentic rain flower stones, Chaotiangong Antique Market, Nanjing Museum, cultural relics shops around Confucius Temple and Art and Handicraft Building are all good places to look. Rain Flower Stone with Chinese paintings can be priced at thousands of dollars, while ordinary coin-size ones cost only 20RMB or so.
Cloud Brocade is a traditional jacquard-weaved silk-made handcraft in Nanjing. The history of Nanjing Cloud Brocade could be traced back to the Three Kingdom period (220 – 280 CE). During the Ming Dynasty, the skills of producing brocade developed and created its own features. Nanjing Cloud Brocade features neat stitches, elegant colors, and sophisticated workmanship. It is just as gorgeous as the cloud in the sky, hence, the name “Cloud Brocade”. Cloud Brocade is one of the three brocades in China, together with Song brocade in Suzhou and Shu brocade in Sichuan.
Jinling Gold Foil
Jinling Gold Foil boasts unique craftsmanship, which is quite particular about the skills of craftsmen. Hand-pounded since ancient times, Jinling Gold Foil is a special traditional technique in China. Gold Foil in Nanjing is less than 0.1-micrometer-thick pounded from a golden piece, which is mainly used to decorate architecture, utensils, and Buddhist statues. During the Yuan Dynasty, massive amounts of gold foil was produced, and it prospered during the Ming and Qing dynasties.
Where to buy: Longtan Town, East District, Nanjing; Huayuan Town, Jiangning District
Antique Imitated Ivory Carvings
Antique ivory carvings in Nanjing are quite famous, which boasts diversified models from figures and animals to utensils. The famous ivory carving “Princess Wencheng Entering to Tibet” produced in Nanjing was once honored as one of the nine excellent traditional handicrafts newly created in China. Besides, other works like “Dragon Boat” and “Raiment of Rainbows and Feathers Dance” are all highly praised by experts in China and abroad.
Where to Shop in Nanjing
Hunan Road is a bustling street in Nanjing, where exclusive shops of different brands are everywhere. Pacific Shopping Store is highly recommended, where many deluxe brands are available. Hunan Road is a good place for both shopping and dining.
Xinjiekou Street is located in the downtown of Nanjing, where shops of different sizes are densely distributed. Among them, Xinjigkou Department Store and Central Plaza are mainly focused on middle-class clothes, while Golden Eagle Shopping Mall, Jinling Department Store and Oriental Shops focus on brand deluxe clothes.
Confucius Temple Market
Confucius Temple is home to different gadgets, diverse souvenirs and tasty snacks. This market is particularly busy from the first to the eighteenth day of Chinese New Year. Confucius Temple Market is mainly focused on wholesale, while individual buyers would never be refused.