About 2km north of town on Lindao Lu is the peaceful Confucius Forest, a cemetery of pine and cypress covering 200 hectares bounded by a 10km-long wall. Confucius and more than 100,000 of his descendants have been buried here for the past 2000 years, a tradition still ongoing. Today the tomb is a simple grass mound enclosed by a low wall and faced with a Ming-dynasty stele. Pairs of stone guardians stand at the ready.
The sage’s son and grandson are buried nearby, and scattered through the forest are dozens of temples and pavilions.
When Confucius died in 479 BC, he was buried on the bank of the Si River beneath a simple marker. In the Western Han dynasty, Emperor Wudi deemed Confucianism the only worthy school of thought, and then the Tomb of Confucius (孔子墓; Kǒngzǐ Mù) became a place of pilgrimage.
A slow walk through the parklike cemetery can take a couple of hours, though Confucius’ tomb is just a 15-minute walk from the entrance (turn left after the carts). Open-air shuttles (one way/return ¥10/20) allow you to hop on and off in the forest.
Sightseeing carts depart for the forest from the corner of Houzuo Jie and Gulou Dajie. Otherwise, take a pedicab (¥10) or bus 1 (¥2) from Gulou Beijie. Walking takes about 30 minutes.