JINSHAN often looks like a sea of blooming flowers in April as the district hosts a flower festival from late March to April 21, attracting urban dwellers seeking a getaway.
Visitors to the district can expect spring blossoms, flowering trees, plants and vegetables, including fresh strawberries and vegetables ripe for the picking. Every town and virtually every farm house will be showing off its best blossoms.
As one of the city's biggest agricultural centers, Jinshan boasts more than 2,000 hectares of orchards and over 1,333 hectares of rapeseed flowers. Peach, cherry, pear, camellia, bauhinia and magnolia flowers are either in bloom or about to blossom, making Jinshan like a "giant garden."
The festival will include Jinshan spring specialty snacks, a photography contest open to both professionals and amateurs, the debut of some new orchid species developed by experts at agricultural institutes in Shanghai, as well as in Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces.
"Jinshan will display dozens of blossoms at one time this year. It is also an attempt to combine and optimize our district's agricultural and tourism resources," says Zhang Yajun, director of the Jinshan Agricultural Committee.
The festival covers many towns including Langxia, Luxiang, Fengjing, Tinglin and Shanyang.
"If you travel around Jinshan, you'll see that almost every farm house is surrounded by flowers because our villagers traditionally plant flowering plants in their yards," Zhang says.
The suburban district has planted around 1,333 hectares of rapeseed, which blossom into golden fields at this time of year. The flowers are also blooming around farmers' houses, paths and riversides. Around 200 hectares of pear trees and 1,000 hectares of peach trees will be in bloom through mid April. Around 2,670 hectares of flowering milk vetch and golden cauliflower have been planted.
Golden rapeseed flowers are in the fields in Langxia Town, while pink peach and white pear blossoms are lining a stretch of Jinshi Road, occasionally separated by golden cauliflower and blooming milk vetch.
"When you walk into the town, you'll find a world of golden yellow," Zhang says.
In Fengjing, an ancient water town, there are large peach groves and rapeseed flowers near North Jinshan Railway Station. Officials say it might be the largest peach garden in Shanghai. Meanwhile, almost seven hectares of pomegranate trees are blossoming with red flowers.
The peak blossoming period will be from early to mid-April. The best times for different flowers are available on the Jinshan tourism website (www.jsly.gov.cn), and its Sina microblogs - Jinshan Chuan Bo (Jinshan Broadcasting) and Jinshan Luyou (Jinshan Travel), where flower information is updated regularly.
Tourists are invited to take pictures of flowers and post them on either of the Jinshan microblogs for a chance to win a prize.
Three recommended tourism routes
Agricultural Tools Museum - Donglin Buddhism Temple - Fengjing Ancient Town - Chinese Farmer Painting Village
The route includes Jinshan's signature cultural relics and the roads that link the sites are planted with either rapeseed flowers or cherry, peach and pear trees.)
Farming fun tour
Agricultural Tools Museum - Strawberry Research Center - Langxia Ecological Park - Zhonghua Village
Visitors can have a quick glimpse of ancient agricultural tools, pick fresh strawberries at the research center, have fun playing traditional village games in the ecological park, go fishing in the river and enjoy an authentic home-style dinner in Zhonghua Village.
Agricultural Tools Museum - City Beach - Jinshanzui Fishing Village
Day trippers can enjoy the salty sea air by City Beach, stroll around the small fishing village and chow down on some delicious seafood.
How to get there
Shanghai South Railway Station - Jinshan Railway - Jinshanwei Station - Zhuqianwei Bus Line - the festival's main scenic area (Jinshi Road N. and Zhulu Road)
Shanghai South Railway Station - Jinshan Railway - Jinshanwei Station - Jinshan Holiday Tourism Line (only operating on weekends) - Langxia Ecological Park - the festival's shuttle bus - the festival's main scenic area (Jinshi Road N. and Zhulu Road)
Metro Line 1 Lianhua Road Station - Lianlang Bus Line - the festival's main scenic area (Jinshi Road N. and Zhulu Road)