Yichun (伊春;yīchūn) is the sixth largest city in Heilongjiang province, Dongbei (Northeast), China. As the city sits in a vast forest inside the Xiaoxinganling hills, it has the highest forest coverage rate (82.2%) in China, with the largest and best protected Korean pine forest in Asia. The Heilongjiang River marks the northern boundary of province, correspondent with the Chinese border with Russia.
Yichun is formed by the city district and 4 suburban districts, a county-levele city and a county.
- Yimei district (伊美区), the city itself.
- Jiayin County (嘉荫县), reputed as "the home to dinosaurs", and a major tourist attraction in the city area. Named after the Jiayin River in the south, and across the Heilongjiang River is Russian territory.
- Tieli City (铁力市), a county-level city managed by Yichun city with Riyuexia National Park inside, which is widely known by local visitors.
Yichun, as a city, is young in Chinese history (founded in 1945 as a town and 1957 as a city), however human beings have been here for ages (starting no later than the Zhou Dynasty, controlled by Sushen nation but not the central government) as a village-sized residental area. The city was founded by the Japanese in the Anti-Japanese war, as they built the Tanglin Railway from Nancha to Wuyun town in Jiayin, for transporting the iron and wood resources to bigger cities in the region, and then Japan. After the victory of the Chinese army, the town was soon named Yichun Town, and then controlled by the forestry bureau of Heilongjiang Province, and was divided into many smaller bureaus. However, in those times Nancha District under control of Yichun developed faster, with a nation operated wood proceeding factory, and more forests. This is the time when the town developed into the city, as more and more loggers moved in. Finally in 1964 the city government was founded, named "Yichun Prefecture", and was actually operated by the forestry bureau, and finally in 1979 the independent city government was founded. As locals say, the city was build in the forest, by the forest, and with the trees. Then those surrounding counties became districts of the city, and finally in 1988, Tieli city was merged into Yichun city and the now city was formed.
Mandarin is mostly used in Yichun, however visiters can feel the strong accent when talking with locals. The Northeastern variety can sometimes difficult to understand, with some words differ from those in Mandarin. Many words can't be pronounced correctly by locals, but usually can't lead to misunderstanding.
When to go
|Climate chart (explanation)|
Yichun, with the vast forest, is usually cool in summer, althouth it comes later than most places in China (usually June to early September), and the winter can be extremely cold with most days below -5, nights below -20 Celsus degree and the historic lowest -40. However the winter is when the city gets attractive, with snow everywhere and the local ice sculptures shown in different places. Forests and mountains are mostly visited in summer, but not always popular in winter.
- 1 Yichun Lindu Airport (LDS IATA 伊春林都机场, yīchūnlíndūjīchǎng). The only airport in the city. Due to its small size, there are only flights from major or nearby cities in China, like Harbin, Beijing (via Harbin), Shanghai (via Dalian) and Guangzhou (via Tianjin). Charter flights are also organised, but not often. There is a shuttle bus to the city ticketing office, which departs hourly from the city and the airport.
Another choice is Harbin Taiping International Airport, about 6 hours away from the city by coaches and trains, and it's the only international ariport with frequent flights in Heilongjiang province.
- 2 Yichun Railway Station. The main railway station of the city, in the east end of the built-up area, is actually not so popular. Most trains go to other cities inside the province, and the only train to Dalian can take you further south.
The alternative choice is Nancha Station, right in the middle of Nancha District, which is on the Suihua-Jiamusi main line and has more trains. Coaches depart hourly from the bus station to Yichun city, and the journey takes about 1.5h. Or you can also wait for a longer time and get a train into the Yichun city, but it might take a longer time but a much cheaper price than coaches. For more information ,see High-speed rail in China page.
As the province is in a valley surrounded by mountains, coaches are a quite popular way to travel here. The buses are usually air-conditioned. A ticket include a free checked luggage, however one can take as many carry-on luggages as they like in theory (however do not act like moving to a new house and bringing everything; a backpack is usually the largest item for one to take aboard). Fares are reasonable, however usually higher than train tickets. For some districts or nearby cities, this is the only choice, as the railway can be much longer than highways.
- 1 Yichun Central Coach Station. This is where most coaches from Yichun departs. Most of the services run to and from nearby cities and the faraway districts of the city. However, some of the coaches terminate at a road intersection 400 metres east to the station. The website is fully Chinese, but offers lots of information like destinations and timetables.
Another useful website when booking coach tickets is Bus 365, a trustable website when booking coach tickets in China. However it is entirely Chinese, it can be easier to book a ticket rather than buying one at the station. You have to assign a Chinese phone number and a wechat payment or an alipay account to pay for the ticket. Once the seat is locked, a message will be sent to your assigned phone number, and in Yichun you have to get your ticket at the service desk (which can be much easier than buying one from the ticket desks).
Yichun is not a big city and it's fairly easy to get around.
As a small city, buses can almost take you to everywhere, although the vehicles seems a bit smaller and older than most cities in China. Fares are usually ¥1 except line 1 which fares are from ¥1 to ¥3, with newer buses and a long route. The stops are dense in the city, so you are always not too far from a bus stop. When riding a bus in Yichun, you should remember that all stops are "request stops", which means that you should wave at the bus stop if you want to get on, and press the bell buttons at the rear door when the bus approaches the stop, so that the driver will stop for you.
Located right in the middle of a river valley, the city is a narrow but long area, and not too hilly to ride a bike. Also, riding is one of the best ways to discover in the amazing forest parks. However, getting a bike in the city can be difficult, and getting your bike into the city may also be a tough experience. Renting a bike, however, is not as cost-efficent as using public transport.
Most visitors who know the city well without an extremely tight budget, like those from other cities in the province, usually choose to travel by taxi. The fares in the city can be very cheap (from ¥5), and the drivers (if they understand what you are saying) are friendly and helpful. However, be ready of using a translation software like Google or Baidu during the whole trip, as most of them don't understand English., or any other languages except Chinese.
Yichun city, actually, is a friendly place for pedestrians, as cars move slowly in most of the time. With the tiny size and the freshest air in the region, it is surely a wise choice to walk, when you are not in a hurry nor so tired to walk.
1 Yichun Xing'an Forest Park (伊春兴安森林公园,yīchūn xīng'ān sēnlín gōngyǘan) (gate at the end of Huancheng Road (环城路)). A popular attraction for most of the visitors to Yichun. Located just a little south to the city, the park owns 6,093 acres of forest (however only a hill is open for visitors) , mostly covered by rare Korean pines. The spring on the way to the top is also popular for Yichun locals, who believe that the water is good for their health. (The spring water is safe to drink, as it's just normal mineral water) Free to visit.
2 China Lindu Wood Carving park (中国林都木雕园，zhōnggúo líndū mùdiāoyuán) (Main gate at West Xinxing Avenue(新兴西大街) and also Huayuan Road(花园路); take bus no. 7 from the Yichun Railway Station and get off at Xinxin Housing Estate (新欣小区)). A park in the west end of the urban area of Yichun City, next to a river, and is home to many famous wooden carvings. The long gallery, with a 160 meter long wood carvings in relief showing the history of Yichun area is one of the must-see sights in the city. Free to visit.
3 Xiaoxinganling Stone Carving Park (小兴安岭石苑, xiǎoxīng'ānlíng shíyüàn) (opposite the Wood Carving Park). A garden with some stone carvings and stone tablets. Not as famous as the Wood Carving Park, however it's one of the most popular places for locals to see and walk around. Free to visit.
4 Water Park (水上公园, shuǐshàng'gōngyüán) (next to Yichun Museum). 07:30-18:00. A park along the river in summer, and a ice carving park in winter. Not so popular in summer; in winter, it's the must-visit place. The ice carvings are made in different shapes by people of different races and ages, from primary school students to the senior citizens. Free to visit.
As a Chinese saying goes, one who visits a city brings souvenirs back, which are meant to be forgotten on the shelf for ages. Some visitors to Yichun buy wood carvings, which are usually not made in Yichun and not with the special Korean pine, and usually can't represent the city (those made with Korean pine can be expensive and large). Some visitors get their souvenirs by walking in the forest and collecting something meaningful (like a leaf or a nut). However, most domestic visitors bring back specialties like mushrooms, agaric (Jew's ear/wood ear/tree ear) or ginseng. Do not believe those selling things right inside a tourist spot as things may cost a lot more than they worth.
The city of Yichun has a few supermarkets, mostly located in the centre. Although there might not be a wide variety of goods, there is certainly enough for even a long stay. Most shops are in the residential areas or high streets, with many workers knowing no English, so always have your phone with you, or shopping can be a tough experience. Most malls and supermarkets accept Union Pay cards, but few of them accept cards from other countries like Visa or Mastercard. If you find it hard to pay in the city, try to use Wechat payment or Alipay, which is much more widely accepted (almost every shop accepts them).