Takahiro Yoshioka / Marubeni Business Trainee
* In this column, Marubeni Group staff provide a glimpse of the cities in which they are living and working.
Dàjiā hǎo! (Hi everybody!) This edition of World Report features Shanghai, a vibrant city filled with the energy of continuing economic development.
The current hot spot in the skyscraper-studded Pudong area is the Shanghai Tower, the tallest building in China (632 m). The observation deck was opened to the public in early July. Other great views include the European-style buildings of The Bund that can be seen from the 492 meter tall Shanghai World Financial Center, as well as from the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, a symbol of Shanghai. Why not start your visit with a breathtaking view of the Shanghai skyline? Along the Huangpu River that flows through the city there are numerous restaurants where you can enjoy the evening views of The Bund as you dine. The Bund sightseeing tunnel is a convenient way to travel from Pudong to The Bund.
The great writer Lu Xun lived near the park that now bears his name, and Lu Xun Park has become an oasis in the city where residents gather early in the morning to practice Tai Chi and dancing. Inside the park there is the Lu Xun Memorial Hall, and in the neighborhood nearby you can visit his former residence as well as the site of the Uchiyama bookstore as you retrace the footsteps of one of China’s modern literary greats. A large number of old-fashioned buildings still stand in the Duolun Lu Culture Street area, and it is a well-known spot for taking wedding photos. If you are lucky, you may see newlyweds in their wedding attire.
If you are looking for more traditional Chinese landscapes, you should consider making a little trip to the city of Suzhou, about 90 minutes from Shanghai by bus, or just 30 minutes by bullet train. During the Spring and Autumn (Chūn Qiū) period in ancient Chinese history, Suzhou flourished as the capital of the Wu region. Throughout the Ming and Qing dynasties many gardens were constructed here, creating what was later called “The Classical Gardens of Suzhou,” nine of which have been designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites. One that is really worth visiting is Zhuōzhèng Yuán, the “Humble Administrator’s Garden.” Covering an area of about 50,000 m2, it is the largest garden in Suzhou, and regarded as one of the four major gardens in China. The intricate combinations of water and pavilions will certainly convey a sense of the elegance of the Ming dynasty. For lunch, you have to try Suzhou-men. This is a typical kind of Chinese ramen, and the thin noodles in light broth are a delicious combination.
Shanghai is only a three-hour flight from Tokyo, so it is relatively close to Japan. You can experience not only the history and traditional culture of China, but also ultra-modern buildings and the latest amusement parks. If you have a chance to visit, please enjoy both the new and old of Shanghai.
Marubeni Group communication site “MS+ (MS Plus)” (August 1, 2016)