You probably do not know what osmanthus tree is. It doesn’t matter. But I can tell you it smells so wonderful when the tree is in blossom, producing a light, fresh and pleasing fragrance with its small yellow flowers.
To experience this very delightful smell, you must visit Hangzhou in September. For osmanthus is the city flower of Hangzhou, which is one of China’s five osmanthus producing areas. The Manjuelong Village to the south west of the West Lake is the spot for smelling the tree flowers. There, more than 7000 ostmanthus trees are planted, with some 200 years old.
“Manjue” means complete enlightenment, a very beautiful name, hinting at the area’s historic link with Buddhism and temples.
The Osmanthus Festival is held in the area every autumn, where some colorful tents are set to serve tea and cakes made from ostmanthus flowers, with some game (like mahjong) tools provided for entertainment.
Because of the increasing popularity of the area, a big park called Manlong Osmanthus Rain has stood there since 2000.
There is public transport to the area of Manjuelong. Bus No 308, 324 and 508 reach the area.
If you don’t want to travel a bit far, then look no further than the city itself. You can smell it at many corners of the city, or just walk along the West Lake.