Qingdao’s Zhongshan Park has offered green respite from the urban jungle for over a century. According to the Zhongshan Park Association in China, there are 75 Zhongshan Parks in the world: 51 in mainland China, 16 in Taiwan, 2 in Hong Kong, 1 in Macao, 2 each in Hawaii and Canada and 1 in Japan.
All images by Qingdao photographer Michael Zhu.
Zhongshan Park and The Sakura Road
Qingdao’s Zhongshan Park has a history of more than 110 years. I was kind of surprised when I heard this figure, as Qingdao itself was only settled in 1898. The park’s long history and deep culture makes it a special place in the city, and qualifies it as one of the best recreational options in Qingdao for both visitors and locals.
The annual Cherry Blossom (Sakura) Festival lasts for about 20 days around May Day in Zhongshan Park. The Sakura Road is lined with cherry trees. In May this long lane becomes a pink world because of the cherry blossoms. If you walk along it, you may feel like you are walking in a storybook world. In order to make the park more colorful, there are other attractive flowers like tulip, forsythia, China’s indigenous wintersweet, and more. The bunches of flowers coming out during this period make it a good destination for a spring outing.
Gardens in Zhongshan Park
The top three most visited gardens in Zhongshan Park are Peach Garden, Peony Garden and Osmanthus Garden. In Peach Garden, there’s no doubt that the starring role belongs to the peach trees. There will be a peach flower in Spring and the mouthwatering peach in Fall. In the Osmanthus Garden, there is a curtain of purple wisterias. Branches intersects with each other, green leaves and purple flowers smile to each other. If you listen carefully, maybe you could hear that they are performing a spring duo. In Peony Garden, many kinds of peonies gather close to one another, with various colors and shapes. In China, the peony is an elegant flower, the king of flowers. Chinese people think of the peony as the symbol of peace, happiness, prosperity and affluence. The peony is often mentioned as China’s national flower.
In 1995, the chairman of the China-Japan Friendship Association came to Zhongshan Park and planted the ”Sun-Wen Lotus” seeds by himself to celebrate 15 years’ friendship between Xiaguan and Qingdao.
Sun-Wen Lotus Pond
Sun-Wen Lotus Pond symbolizes a friendly relationship between China and Japan. It is said that in the late Qing Dynasty, when Sun Zhongshan (孙中山) was in Japan, he was helped by a Japanese friend named Tian Zhonglong (田中隆). Sun gave Tian four lotus seeds as a gift to represent pure friendship. Tian Zhonglong asked a botanist friend to plant them and he later named their seeds “Sun-Wen Lotus”. In 1995, the chairman of the China-Japan Friendship Association came to Zhongshan Park and personally planted the ”Sun-Wen Lotus” seeds to celebrate 15 years’ of friendly city status between Xiaguan and Qingdao.
The Playground: Amusement Park
In this kid’s paradise you can hear the cheerful laughing and see the big smiles of children. Since 2009, there has been a theme park called Just High with some new games and amusement park rides, like the double layer merry-go-round and the deep sea monster. There is also a theme canteen called “Buddy Canteen” with an atmosphere of innocence and childhood.
The Qingdao Zoo and Cable Cars
It is located in the northwest part of Zhongshan Park, with a separate entrance on Yanan Yi Lu. There are almost 100 kinds of animals, including big pandas, little pandas, golden monkeys, lions, tigers, parrots, brown bears, and red-crowned cranes. Now you may ask, since Zhongshan Park must be a very large park with so many places (it is), what if I am in a hurry? How can I see it in a short time? Don’t worry. This problem has been solved since 1994. when two main cableways were built. One is from Zhongshan Park to Taiping Shan, the other is from Taiping Shan to the botanical garden. It only takes about 30 minutes for a round trip. You can go straight to Zhanshan Temple from Zhongshan Park.