Viewing Fish at Flower Harbor in Hangzhou

Why is Viewing Fish at Flower Harbor in Hangzhou So Special?

Hua Gang Guan Yu ( Viewing Fish at Flower Pond ) is also one of top ten views of West Lake with three spotlights – the fish, the flower and the stream. In the Red Carp Pond , tourists will view  the red carps, which is considered as the chief attraction of the park. 

Brief Introduction of Viewing Fish at Flower Harbor

Flower Harbor (Huagang) Park is adjacent to Su Causeway consisting of Red Fish Pool, Peony Garden, Flower Garden, widespread lawns and woods, occupying an area of 21 hectares. The garden was located near the Flower Home Hill. Inside the park was a fishpond and a stream nearby was ushered into the pond for raising goldfish. Later the private garden began to gain a big fame in Hangzhou as Flower Harbor and became a recreation resort for viewing goldfishes.

Painters and poets vied each other for depicting the garden in their inspirational artworks. In the Qing Dynasty, the park was relocated in today´s place, much nearer to the West Lake.Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty visited the Park on one of his inspection trips to this part of China.

History of Viewing Fish at Flower Harbor

The history of Viewing Fish at Flower Harbor can be dated to the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279). Back then, the government official Lu Yunsheng built a private garden at the foot of Flower Hill (Huajia Hill). He dug a pond, and raised various fish in it. The garden was first called Lu Garden, and then became known as Flower Harbor. Later, Ma Yuan, a great painter of the Southern Song Dynasty, depicted the scene when he created the Ten Paintings of West Lake. From then on, the beautiful scene has been known as ‘Viewing Fish at Flower Harbor’.

Main Attractions of Viewing Fish at Flower Harbor

After entering the park, you will first see the Imperial Stele Pavilion. The stele was constructed in 1699, and renovated in 1869. On the front of the stele is the inscription ‘Viewing Fish at Flower Harbor’ handwritten by Emperor Kangxi of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). There is an interesting anecdote about the inscription. The traditional Chinese character ‘fish’ has four dots at the bottom. But Emperor Kangxi only wrote three. Four dots in Chinese mean fire, over which fish are cooked; while three dots mean water, in which fish can live happily. It shows the best wishes of the emperor for the fish as well as his people. The back of the stele is engraved with a poem which reads ‘At Flower Harbor at the foot of Flower Hill, petals fall down onto fish.’ It is a beautiful image, isn’t it?

Keep moving and you will reach Red Carp Pond, the highlight of the park at its very center. Leaning on the railings of the zigzag bridge, you can see thousands of red carp swimming in the pond. If you throw food into the water or clap your hands, a swarm of red carp will gather rapidly, and redden the pond in seconds. Some of the fish open their mouths wide to wait for food. Others catch the food immediately when it falls into water, and some will eagerly jump out of the water for food. That is very spectacular and interesting!

To the west of Red Carp Pond is the Peony Garden, which covers a total area of 1 hectare (2.5 acres). The crisscrossing pebble paths divide the garden into eighteen sections. More than one-hundred species of peony flowers are planted here, along with green pines, vibrant cypresses, red maples, and plum blossom trees. There is an octagonal double-eave Peony Pavilion in the garden. The tablet of the pavilion was written by the famous writer Mao Dun. The pavilion is a perfect spot to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the entire park. You can admire the exuberant lawn to the north, the lush trees to the east, green Nanping Hill to the south, and the clear West Inner Lake and South Lake.

Recommended Tour Packages

Best Seasons to Visit Hangzhou

  • Many people in China believe that spring and autumn are the two best seasons to visit Hangzhou, specially late March-May and September-mid November.
  • In these seasons, temperature is warm but not hot. Daytime temperature ranges from mid 10s to mid 20s centigrade, and night time temperature ranges from low 10s to low 20s.
  • Spring is the best season to visit the West Lake because all kinds of flowers are blossoming that time. In order: plum blossom, peach blossom, and cherry blossom.
  • Autumn is also very nice and my favorite because of the yellow and red leaves.
  • However, I suggest avoiding the last week of September and the first 2 weeks of October because that’s when the city becomes packed with tourists from the golden week holidays.

How to get to Viewing Fish at Flower Harbor in Hangzhou

Travel with ChinaDragonTours (top recommended)

If you want to get out of the traffic and hassle of navigation, you can book a private tour package that includes visiting, dining and transfer from us. Our local guide and driver will escort you to Viewing Fish at Flower Harbor in Hangzhou in the fastest and most convenient way and take care of all the details. You just have to focus on the visiting.

Independent Traveler

By bus:
1. Take bus 4, 31, 51, 52, 87, 314, 315, 334, 822, jy6, y2 or y10 and get off at Sudi (Su Causeway) Station. Then, enter the park through the south gate.
2. Take bus 51, 52, 194, 197, 318, or y2 to Yuhuwan Station, and enter the park through the west gate.
Hangzhou Bus / Metro Search

By boat:
Take the West Lake Cruise Boat. Get off at Su Causeway, and enter the park through the east gate.

Useful Travel Tips

  1. Avoid visiting during school holidays and Golden Week in October as there will be large numbers of local tourists.
  2. Accommodation
    If you need to stay near here, the following hotels can be used as a reference: Marco Polo Holiday Hotel, Marco Polo Binhai Hotel, Zhongshan International Hotel, Congcong Na’nian Boutique Inn, Orange Crystal West Lake Hotel, etc.

Nearby Attractions

Edited by Bella Ren/任新月