Junshan Island is the most famous island in Dongting Lake. It lies a 30 minute boat ride from Yueyang.
Once a Taoist retreat, the island covers an area of 1 sq km. The lush island was once described by Tang dynasty (618-907AD) poet Liu Yuxi as 'a sumptuous green conch in a silvery plate'. Today, the island is a mix of tea bushes, bamboo groves and wooded areas. Speckled bamboo, indigenous to the area, is said to have been stained by the tears of Emperor Shun's 2 widows upon his death while visiting the island in 2500BC. Unique golden tortoises also inhabit the island.
The island is most famous however, for its silver needle tea. Supposed to provide longevity, this tea was once paid as tribute to the emperor. Even today, the tea is very expensive and its production is the prime means of livelihood for the islands 200-odd inhabitants.