The Japanese capital of Manchukuo between 1933 and 1945, Chángchūn was also the centre of the Chinese film industry in the 1950s and ‘60s. Visitors expecting a Hollywood-like backdrop of palm trees and beautiful people will be disappointed, though. Chángchūn is now better known as China’s motor city, the largest automobile-manufacturing base in the country.
But for people on the trail of Puyi, China’s last emperor, it’s an essential stop. There are also a few historic buildings dating back to the early 20th century, mostly along and off Renmin Dajie.
Chángchūn sprawls from north to south. The long-distance bus station and the train station are at the north end of the city and surrounded by budget hotels. If you plan on more than an overnight in Chángchūn, however, the southern end is by far a more pleasant neighbourhood to stay in.