Changchun’s only truly notable attraction is the Puppet Emperor’s Palace, in the east of the city. Like its former occupant Puyi (see The last emperor), the palace is really just a shadow of Chinese imperial splendour; in its defence, it does boast a swimming pool and horse-racing track. This luxurious retreat was only meant to be temporary, until his grand abode proper was completed south of Changchun’s train station at Wenhua Square (the second-largest square in the world after Tian’anmen) – plans that led to nothing.
Inside the palace grounds, the Museum of North East China’s Occupation by Japan documents Japan’s brutal invasion and rule. On a lighter note, be sure to see the restored Japanese garden, one of Changchun’s most tranquil spots.