Japan in Focus
241019 · By Georgia Shipley
With the Japanese Rugby World Cup and Joanna Lumley bursting onto our television screens recently, we’ve been lapping up all things Japan.Read more
One of the most exciting and contemporary cities in China, Shanghai has a population in excess of 23 million and is China's most developed city. During the early 20th century it was the dominant force in the emergence of the Far-East and has undergone a resurgence in the past 20 years.
The city is built either side of the wide, slow-flowing Huangpu River. The two sides of the river provide an 'old-meets-new' cultural division, with the Bund region reflecting the emergence of Shanghai in the 1920s and the Pudong region in the east representing the ultra-modern façade of the city, with a booming financial district.
Pudong was, until only the mid-1990s, just simple agricultural land. Within this ferociously developing city there remain pockets of ancient heritage. The Old City, located behind the main waterfront, is an area where old traditions and ancient customs survive and where the residents live as they have done for hundreds of years.
Among the many attractions in the city is the Urban Planning Museum, which showcases Shanghai old and new, and which is home to an extraordinary scale model of how Shanghai will look in the future. In contrast, the Shanghai Museum provides a look into the city's long history, with as many as 120,000 display pieces.
While in Shanghai, rail enthusiasts should ensure they experience a ride on the 'MAGLEV' train. China's 'MAGnetic LEVitation' rail system runs between Shanghai Airport and the city centre and reaches speeds of up to 431 kilometres per hour - the Shinkansen (Bullet train) in Japan, the TGV in France and the ICE in Germany only reach speeds of up to 320 kilometres per hour.