Living in Jilin

Jingpohu River, Jilin

Jingpohu River, Jilin

Jilin City (Chinese: 吉林市; Pinyin: Jílín Shì), is located in China’s Jilin Province. Jilin is a small city by Chinese standards, with a population of about 4 million people. Jilin is unique in that a beautiful river (the Songhua) runs through the city center and it is surrounded by mountainous foothills. Jilin is a very popular destination for Japanese tourists who come each winter to view the spectacular ice-rimmed trees on displayalong the banks of the Songhua.

rime trees and street


Ice-rimmed trees are a natural phenomena that take place every year during January and February, and occur when warm air rises off the Songhua River’s water to meet the cold -20 degrees night air. When this happens, ice crystals, (rime) form on the beautiful willow trees, making for excellent winter scenery. Ice-rimmed trees in Jilin are one of the four natural wonders of China.

While Jilin is a Northeastern city, and it does get cold in the winters, it also has beautiful warm weather recreation too.

The Songhua river is fed by a huge dam. Behind the dam is the vast Songhua Lake. The lake has many islands and is surrounded by mountain peaks. It’s a great day trip.

Teachers on a trip to Songhua- 2013

Teachers on a trip to Songhua, 2013

The people of Jilin are friendly to and a bit curious about foreigners. Because there are few foreigners in Jilin, you will draw a bit of attention when you go about, but you’ll get used to it.

Unlike the several bigger, more Westernized cities in China like Beijing or Shanghai, living in Jilin provides a more authentic China experience.

sunset bridge Sunset on the Jilin Bridge, May 2014