Lishui Overview

Basic Information

  • Chinese Name: 丽水
  • Location: In the southwest of Zhejiang province
  • Area: 17,298 square kilometers
  • Population: 2.18 million, Han Chinese is the vast majority nationality group
  • Language: Mandarin, Wu Chinese

Administrative Division

The prefecture-level city of Lishui administers one district, one county-level city, six counties and one autonomous county.

  • 1 District:Liandu District (莲都区)
  • 1 County-level city: Longquna City (龙泉市)
  • 6 Counties:Qingtian County (青田县), Jinyun County (缙云县), Suichang County (遂昌县), Songyang County (松阳县), Yunhe County (云和县), Qingyuan County (庆元县)
  • 1 Autonomous County: Jingning County (景宁县)


Lishui is situated in the southwest of Zhejiang province, People's Republic of China, with its administrative area covering latitude 27° 25' to 28° 57' N and longitude 118° 41' to 120° 26' E. It borders other cities in Zhejiang Province like Quzhou, Jinhua and Taizhou to the north, Wenzhou to the southeast, and Fujian province to the southwest. The name of the city literally means "Beautiful Water", but the pronunciation of its first character is "lí", not the usual "lì". The mountains of the area are part of the Wuyi Mountains. Elevations in the city's administration increase from northeast to southwest and there are 3,573 peaks that reach an altitude of 1,000 meters or more. The highest mountain in the province, Huangmaojian Peak, is 1,929 meters high and located near Lishui. 88.42% of Lishui is mountainous. The Ou River flows through the city before emptying into the East China Sea.


Lishui has a monsoon-influenced humid subtropical climate, with short, mild winters (with occasional frost), and long, very hot, humid summers. The average high temperature in July is 35.3 °C and the average low is 25.0 °C. The average January high is 11.8 °C and the average low in 3.4 °C. The highest temperature ever recorded is 43.2 °C on July 31, 2003. The coldest temperature ever recorded was −7.7 °C on January 16, 1967 and January 16, 1970. Autumn and early winter are the driest times of the year, while from March to June rains fall on more than half of the days. From midsummer on to autumn, typhoons occasionally strike the area.

The Best Time to Go

Summer is the best to visit Lishui. Lishui belongs to subtropical climate, and it stands close to rivers and mountains. Thus, it enjoys both maritime and mountain climate characteristics, so summer is cool and lovely for tourists. There are a lot of rivers and mountains so you could enjoy waterfall there. Also, it is good choice for summer resort.

Things to Do

The first interesting thing tourists are recommended to do is to taste local special food. There are some snacks and dishes that you can not eat in other places, such as Santouyizhang which means three heads and one leg, toast cake, fermented cake, rice stick’ etc. If you get up early and take a walk on the streets, you could find a lot of special snacks and dishes. Then, we advise you to take a walk from the southern part of city to the northern to enjoy the whole scenery of the city. Then, you could visit some cultural sites like Longyou Grotto, Genggongfoguo, etc. Also, sunrise and sunset are recommended because there are all kinds of mountainous scenic spots that you could enjoy them.


Infrastructure conditions in China can’t be problems now. You could choose different ways as your tools. Take highway as an example, Changchun-Shenzhen Expressway G25 and Longyou-Lishui Expressway S33 meet each other in Lishui, which brings a lot convenience there. Every county there is available for highway, and the connotation with areas by highway is quite convenient as well. The Jinhua–Wenzhou Railway railway runs across the north and south, and Lishui Railway Station is in the downtown area. Although there is no airport in Lishui yet, it just takes you one hour to Wenzhou Longwan Airport.

History & Culture

Lishui has a very long history with more than 4000 years. During the Liangzhu culture period 4000 years ago, there were tribes living in the area. In 589, a prefecture called Chuzhou was established by the Sui Dynasty with Kuocang, Songyang, Linhai, Yongjia, Angu and Lechen counties under its jurisdiction. Three years later, the prefecture's name was changed to Kuozhou and then to Yongjia County in 607. The name was changed back to Kuozhou in 621 during the Tang Dynasty, to Jinyun County in the first year of the Tianbao era (742) and back to Kuozhou in the first year of Qianyuan Era (758). During the Tang Dynasty, it was renamed Lishui County.

Except for the long history, Lishui enjoys profound culture. Local dialect is one of it. Liandu District, Jinyun County, Qingning County and Qingtian County all have their own dialects, of which Jinyun dialect has some connection with Japanese, Qingtian dialect is one of the most obscure dialects in China, and Jingning dialect is shaped by She Nationality which is an ethnic group there. Also, religion plays a key part in Lishui culture. Christianity, Catholicism, Buddhism, Taoism and Islamism all can be found there.


In recent years, Lishui has seen a rapid development in industry. An industry structure which carries the features of mountainous area is burgeoning. Its main industries are wood and bamboo production, ore smelting, textile, clothes making, construction materials, pharmaceutical chemistry, electronic machinery and food processing.

Over 180 brand name and high quality products of the prefecture sell well both within China and in about 100 foreign countries. Among them, wooden toys, mini electronic machinery, overedger, eider down products, gold pens and quality soaps are the most welcome. The three traditional handicrafts of the prefecture, Longquan celadon, Longquan swords, and Qingtian carved stones, enjoy high popularity both at home and abroad.

A comprehensive agricultural development program is beginning to take effect. The prefecture is now a commercial base for edible fungi, dried and fresh fruit, bamboo and bamboo shoots, tea, commercial forest, oil tea, sericulture, herb medicine, vegetable and nuts. Products like shiitake mushrooms, tree fungus, Huiming tea, white pond lily, day lily, sun-cured tobacco, and orange and oil tea are produced in large quantities and are well known throughout Zhejiang.


Lishui is well known in China for its long history and beautiful landscapes. It was ever named as "China Excellent Tourism City" and "Excellent Ecological TourismCity in China". Plentiful tourist destinations there make it popular choice for visitors. Lishui has opened 68 tourist spots including 12 national 4A level scenic spots, 7 3A level scenic sites, 5 provincial level tourist attractions. Besides, there are 83 nature reserves at all levels (including natural protection area). And 3 national forest parks and 11 provincial level forest parks are provided. Yan Yu Lou (misty rain tower) was built during the Northern Song Dynasty (AD 960-1127). Many famous ancient poets praised the tower’s beauty. Other recommendable scenic spots are Fengyangshan-Baishanzu National Natural Resort, Xiandu National Park, and Shishi Temple which is a wooden structure built during the Song and Yuan Dynasties (AD 960-1368). The most characteristic local dishes are Jade Mutton Roll, Shan Fen Ball, Anren Fish with Bean-curd and Xian Cai Hot Pot.


As a city with lots of mountainous areas, Lishui carries all sorts of activities and celebrate various festivals. In January, there are a series of food making activities like “Mantou ”(steamed bun)making, manual popcorn making, refined sugar making, etc in the scenic spots of Jinyun County. On the day of Lantern Festival, you could enjoy lantern show, lion dance, dragon dance, opera performance, gala and so on so forth. In March, you could take part in Peach Blossom Festival. At the same time, for tea lovers, you could see Yinhou Tea Festival in Songyang. Meanwhile, Pear Blossom Festival falls in March as well in Sandu, Songyang County. Visitors are able to appreciate pear blossom and peach blossom, take photos, eat some farm food, etc.


Lishui cuisine has a long history with lots of special dishes. It mainly develops the Ningbang flavor from the coastal Zhejiang province. There is one widely known dish named “Xiluyouyu”, which is an indispensable treat to guests on any kind of occasion. It is a must that you are recommended to try. As time goes by and people’s eating habits change, thus, the traditional dishes are added new elements forming new ones. There is one book named Chucaizhou. The book records more than 50 traditional Lishui dishes, over 30 creative dishes and beyond 30 kinds of snacks.

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