Yuzhou is in Central Henan Province.
Yuzhou is a small city of 1.2 million people. It is a city of great historical significance, situated southwest of Zhengzhou along the Ying River, a tributary of the Huai. Famous for its Juci porcelain and herbs used in Chinese medicine, it is also home to the Jun Royal Kiln Museum, which is worth the trip from Zhengzhou or Xuchang alone. Apart from the museum there is absolutely no tourist infrastructure, and no English spoken. This makes it a great adventure for the Chinese language learner, but people with zero Chinese may struggle. Non-Asian travellers should also expect more staring and pointing than in most places in China due to the absolute absence of foreigners here. The locals are extremely open and friendly though, and are happy to talk about the long history of their city as one of China's ancient capitals.
Yuzhou is connected to China's high-speed rail network. Trains from Zhengzhou usually take about 30 to 40 minutes to reach Yuzhou, though one train takes about 70 minutes. If you're coming from Xuchang, you will need to change trains in Zhengzhou, as there are no direct trains from Xuchang to Yuzhou.
- 1 Yuzhou Railway Station (禹州站), Intersection of Zhanqian Avenue and Kaiyuan Avenue (站前大道与开元大道交叉口) (bus nos. 5, 9, 10 an 23). Yuzhou's only railway station
- 2 Yuzhou Bus Station (禹州汽车站), 63 Junzhou Avenue (钧州大街63) (local bus nos. 6, 16, 17, and 23).
- 3 Yuzhou No. 2 Bus Station (禹州第二汽车站), 243 Huasheng Road (画圣路243号) (local bus nos. 1, 6, 16, 18, 23, 28 and 29).
Direct buses leave from Zhengzhou's Long-distance Bus Center Station (Next to Zhengzhou Railway Station), South Bus Station (Longhaidong Road, Guancheng District) or Jingguang Bus Station (Longhaizhong Road). There are also frequent buses from Xuchang.
Taxis, small minibuses, three wheeled carts and tuk tuks are cheap and abundant. The old city center, the area within the old city moat, is very walkable and full of interesting alleys and small streets.
Take a walk around the old city moat, and see what remains of the old city walls in the Northeast, relax with the locals by the riverside, join a group dance in the evening, or watch an impromptu performance of Yuju, the Henan version of Chinese Opera near the Chaoyangmen Mosque. See the statue of Yu the Great, a local hero famous for taming the flooding Yellow River and known as The Father of the Xia for his role in the establishment of the Xia Dynasty, China's first.
- 1 Jun Royal Kiln Site Museum (禹州钧官窑址博物馆), 492 Junguanyao Road (钧官窑路492号) (bus nos. 2 and 29), ☏ +86 374 2070619 (enquiries), +86 374 2070618 (bookings). 09:00-17:00 (extended to 17:30 between May and September), closed on Mondays. The museum is made up of three floors, the first for local history dating back to neolithic times, the second and third for porcelain. The huge structure is spotless and largely empty on a weekday, and flawless highly detailed English captions make it well worth a visit for anyone interested in Chinese history and/or porcelain production. Free.
- 2 Yuzhou Forest Botanical Garden (禹州森林植物园), Provincial Highway 103 (103省道) (bus nos. 1, 3, 5 and 7), ☏ +86 374 8209518. 08:00-17:00. Free.
Take side trips to Wuliang Township to see the decrepit tombs of Ming Dynasty Vassals, to Shenhou Old Town for a largely preserved historical porcelain-making village, and to Juci Mountain to see the mysterious symbols carved into the rocks there by prehistoric cultures of Central Plains China.
There are no souvenir shops in Yuzhou, but its most famous product, Junci porcelain, can be bought from one of the many stores with huge purple vases displayed on the street outside, the greatest concentration being on Junguanyao Road 钧管窑路, which runs parallel to the inside of the Eastern channel of the old city moat.
There are no Western or International restaurants in Yuzhou, fast food or otherwise, with the closest being Dico's. The locals don't even eat steamed rice, so expect to eat plenty of noodles for every meal, although there is a hot pot street, plenty of street food, and many Muslim restaurants run by the Hui minority, selling well-known dishes such as Da Pan Ji 大盘鸡 with a local twist. Popular dishes at small restaurants include Mi Pir 米皮儿 (cold/lukewarm rice noodles served with some shredded cucumber, sesame paste and hot pepper paste, delicious and much better than it sounds), 豆面 (noodles made from mung beans, served in a thick soup with vegetables), and 烩面 (the local version of hand-pulled noodles served with meat and vegetables).
Drink beer while eating noodles and lamb skewers on the street in summer, or head to a KTV.
- 1 Kaiyuan Zhongzhou International Hotel (开元国际饭店), No.132 East Section of Yuwang Avenue (禹王大道东段132号) (bus nos. 6 and 23), ☏ +86 374 8369999. Check-in: 08:00, check-out: 12:00. A 4-star hotel. Room rates start from about ¥300 per night.
- 2 Li Yuan Hotel (禹州梨园大酒店), No. 109 Middle Section of Yuwang Avenue (禹王大道中段109号) (bus nos. 6, 12, 23, 106 Inner Circle and 106 Outer Circle), ☏ +86 374 8880888. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. A 4-star hotel. Room rates start from about ¥260 per night.
Buses run frequently to surrounding towns for less than 10 Yuan, and express buses reach Xuchang in 40 minutes and Zhengzhou in 1.5 hours.