Master of the Nets Garden (Wangshi Yuan) in Suzhou

Why is Master of the Nets Garden So Special?

Sometimes the smallest package can contain the most magnificent gift. The Master of Nets Garden is a clear example of this. It is the smallest of the Suzhou residential gardens, yet it is the most impressive because of its use of space which creates the illusion of an area that is much greater than its actual size. Even more than the architectural achievement is the mood of tranquility and harmony that it embodies.

Where is Master of the Nets Garden

Located at No.11, kuojiatou lane, chengqiao road, southeast of Suzhou city, Jiangsu province, 120 kilometers from Shanghai Hongqiao airport. It is a representative work of Suzhou Garden’s medium-sized classical landscape garden.

History of Master of the Nets Garden

This exquisite tennis court was originally designed in the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279) and is a residence for government officials. At that time, the garden was named “Wan Shu Tang” because the owner collected many books in the three study areas in the garden. Later, it underwent changes in different dynasties until the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) around 1765 when an official named Song Zongyuan bought and restored the garden. It is said that when frustrated with bureaucracy, he announced that he would rather be a fisherman than a bureaucrat. Therefore, he changed the name of the garden to “Wang Shiyuan”, which in English means fishermen’s garden to express his wishes.

Main Attractions of Master of the Nets Garden

The Master of Nets Garden is divided into three sections: a residential section, the central main garden and an inner garden.

  • The main garden has a large pond surrounded by paths and various buildings, such as the silk washing pavilion (Zhuoying Shuige) and the moon and wind arrival pavilion (Fenglaiting on Moon Island). There are more buildings here, so there will be no feeling of crowding, but it is always spacious. As is common in Suzhou gardens, there is a small pavilion in the pond. The pavilion here can be accessed through a bridge less than one foot wide.
  • When you stroll on gardens and sidewalks, you can often see beautiful flowers or plants through delicate windows. These windows outline the scenery from a distance, attracting you to a single scene, a quiet moment of natural beauty. When you walk through these buildings, it is easy to imagine that the primitive residents lived in feudal society, and these gardens were entirely for their happiness and the happiness of the guests.
  • Only 660 square feet of the inner garden, Hall Spring 1, is a model of the Ming Hall Garden of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. It was also completely miniaturized when it was exhibited at the Pompidou Center in Paris in 1982. This garden is considered to be the best preserved in Suzhou and cannot be missed. Its volume is very small, but like a beautifully cut diamond, its beauty has eternal charm and fun.

Best Time to Travel Master of the Nets Garden

March-April and September-October are the best travel times in Master of the Nets Garden.

But in Hangzhou, there is no season or weather. No matter in spring, summer, autumn and winter, rain or shine, rain or snow, it can conjure up a beautiful appearance. September-November: The weather is crisp in autumn, and sweet osmanthus trees full of Longgui rain are fragrant for ten miles. Before and after the Mid-Autumn Festival, you can watch the spring tide in Qiantang during the day and enjoy the moon in the lake at night. March-May: The spring breeze is warm and the spring water is intoxicating. It is most suitable for strolling along the Suzhou Creek and enjoying the flowers.

How to Get There

  • Take bus no. 55, 202, 529, 811, or 931 and get off at Wangshiyuan Station.
  • Take bus no. 47, 204, 501, or 511 and get off at Wangshiyuan North Station.
  • Take tourist bus no. 2 and get off at Wangshiyuan West Station.

Useful Travel Tips

Admission Fee April, May, July, August, September and October: CNY 40
January, February, March, June, November and December: CNY 30
* Note:
1. Children below 3.9 feet (1.2 meters) can enter for free when accompanied by an adult.
2. Children between 3.9 and 4.9 feet (1.2 and 1.5 meters) can enjoy half price.
Opening Hours Apr. 21 – Oct. 20: 07:30 to 17:30
Oct. 21 – Apr. 20: 07:30 to 17:00
  • Note: A Night Garden Tour is arranged daily from April 1 to October 31. Visitor can not only admire the night view of the gorgeous Master of Nets Garden, but also enjoy entertainment activities of local color, such as Kun Opera, Ping Tan (ballad singing) and dance performances. The admission hours of the Night Garden Tour are from 19:30 to 22:00. The ticket is CNY 100 per person and not available after 21:10.

Nearby Attractions

Edited by Doreen/张洋