Considering how close this reclusive park is to the Forbidden City, and how cheap it is, it’s astonishing how few people come here.
This was once the emperor’s main place of worship and it contains the magnificent Supreme Temple (Tai Miao) as well as other impressive buildings, which were built in the same style as ones in the Forbidden City, but which don’t attract tourists by the thousand. In fact, this place has the feel of a quiet, mini Forbidden City, with vast squares leading to beautiful halls standing raised on top of white-marble platforms and topped with golden-tiled double-eaved roofs.
So, if you find the Forbidden City either too colossal, too crowded or too expensive, this makes for an unusual alternative.
It’s worth paying the extra ¥10 to step inside the Supreme Temple and take a peek at the row upon row of enormous wooden pillars which support the structure. Don’t forget to look up at the painted, carved interior of the roof.
The northern edge of the park skirts part of the Forbidden City moat. Park yourself on one of the benches and admire the view.
Bizarrely, there’s also a tennis court (¥80 per hour, 6.30am-11.30pm) within the grounds here, so you can practise your forehand to a backdrop of imperial buildings. You’ll need to bring your own tennis stuff.
Access is easiest from the east gate on Nanchizi Dajie. Take the northwest gate to come out by the Forbidden City. Take the south gate for Tiananmen Square.
Tiananmen Dong (500m)