This summer’s travels led Tadashi to the storied destination of Wuzhen, one of China’s ancient water villages rife with history and steeped in beauty. Quietly nestled in the northern Zhejiang Province just a couple of hours away from Shanghai, Wuzhen instantly became one of Tadashi’s favorite hidden gems. From the majestic stone bridges to the series of waterways, every detail of the historic water town was truly stunning. Inspiration awaited at every turn as Tadashi explored the enchanting Chinese dreamscape’s many beautiful attractions and historical landmarks – truly, a hidden gem of China.
Venice of the East
With the famous Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal and many waterways and rivers flowing through, it’s easy to see why Wuzhen was nicknamed the “Venice of the East.” Although Wuzhen’s waterways are nothing short of spectacular during the day, it’s at night when they really come to life. The moment the sun sets the colorful lights of the town begin to dance on the river’s surface and illuminate the waterways in the most beautiful way.
Tadashi was romanced by all of the lights while drifting down the canals on a river boat one evening. Floating under the moonlight, one can also admire Wuzhen’s many koi ponds, the remarkable wooden houses adorned with intricate carvings that line the waterways, as well as the glorious round stone bridges that traverse the entire town. No matter the occasion, Wuzhen’s shimmering canals always promise a magical evening.
The town’s serene waterways, however, are more than just a means of transportation. At dawn when the sun begins to rise, residents and merchants row in to the Market on the Water in Wuzhen’s West Scenic Zone and commence their day by shopping for vegetables or by sitting on the waterside pavilions enjoying a cup of tea.
The Emperor’s Silk
Wuzhen is noted as one of China’s largest silk production centers and is often referred to as the “land of silk.” For Tadashi, a visit to the 1875-founded Yida Silk Workshop was a must. Elegant Wuzhen brocade, known as the emperor’s silk, is created here with traditional Chinese weaving techniques. Here, visitors can immerse themselves in the entire silk production process, from admiring the mulberry trees rooted along the river, to watching silk worms spin their cocoons, to partaking in the silk reeling process on antique machinery.
When visiting Wuzhen, one cannot leave without enjoying a glass of wine. The river town has a history of alcohol brewing dating back to the 14th century. Tadashi visited the Gaogongsheng Distillery, Wuzhen’s only remaining alcohol manufacturing center. To this day, the distillery handcrafts its wines through traditional and environmentally conscious methods. The Sanbai Wine remains as the town’s most famous wine since it’s debut at the 1368 enthronement celebration for the Ming Dynasty’s first emperor. Made with locally grown rice, Sanbai is a veritable feast for the palate. The wine’s potent fragrance even wanders through the town luring visitors and locals alike.
Where to Stay
During his trip, Tadashi stayed at the luxurious Waterside Resort. As its name suggests, the resort is nestled between two rivers offering unparalleled views while the interiors of the hotel are undeniably decadent. The splendid chandelier hanging in the hotel’s lobby was especially inspiring for Tadashi. Between its lavish décor and its unrivaled location, the Waterside Resort truly evokes the feeling of a magnificent waterfront palace, and better yet, it promises an unforgettable experience—you may never want to leave.
Address: No. 118 Nvgong Street, Wuzhen West Scenic Zone, Wuzhen Town, Tongxiang City, Zhejiang Province, China
Phone: 86 (573) 8873-1088