About 1km north of the walled town on Lindao Lu is the peaceful Confucius Forest, a cemetery of pine and cypress covering 200 hectares and bounded by a 10km-long wall, which was built on top of the foundations of the Zhou-dynasty wall that encircled the ancient capital city of the Lu State. Confucius and more than 100,000 of his descendants have been buried here for the past 2000 years, a tradition still ongoing.
The great sage's 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. His 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 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 10-minute walk from the entrance (turn left after the second gateway, called 'Supreme Sage Cemetery Gateway').
Electric sightseeing carts (¥20) are on hand to take passengers on a loop of the forest before dropping them back at Confucius' tomb, but you get much more freedom if you explore on foot.
The forest is a 15-minute walk from the old town, or take bus 1 (¥1) from Gulou Beijie, or a pedicab (¥10).