Shihu Yuan Museum


This Ming-dynasty courtyard home belonged to Ding Shanbao, a Jiangsu merchant who at one time owned half the town. In 1885 he restored the property as his private residence and put the focus on its garden, considered a masterpiece of Suzhou-style design with an unusually compact arrangement of the requisite pond, bridge, pavilion and surrounding rockery.

For kicks, Shanbao designed some structures in the living quarters smaller than the usual dimensions and then named the property 'Ten Tablet Garden', meaning pocket-sized. (Tablets used by officials to record edicts on were generally made of strips of bamboo – so even a stack of 10 was not so large.) The 67 well-preserved structures have since served as a backdrop for many a docudrama. The oldest structure is Yanxiang Lou (砚香楼, Yànxiāng Lóu), sleeping quarters built 400 years ago and converted into a library.

To get here from the train station, take bus 3 (¥2) four stops to Dōngfēng Jiē Xiàngyáng Lù Lùkǒu (东风街向阳路路口) bus stop, or it's a 2km walk; cross the square in front of the train station, turn left, then right along Xiangyang Jie (向阳路) for about 800m. Turn right onto Dongfeng Xijie (东风西街) and the museum is on your left behind the newly constructed old-style buildings.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Shandong attractions

1. Kite Museum

0.69 MILES

This riverside museum tells the story of kites – from the first one, a bamboo magpie fashioned in Weifang 2400 years ago by Lu Ban (he's the winged figure…