Jintan is located in Jiangsu province in southern China and is surrounded by Shanghai, Hangzhou and Nanjing. The name Jintan derives from the name of Jinshan county. On November 10, 1993 Jintan was reclassified from a county and officially became a city. In 1987, the county comprised 22 towns, with the county government located in Jincheng town. The county was part of Changzhou, Jiangsu province. Jintan has a total area of 976.7 square kilometres (377.1 sq mi). Among them land area covers 781.27 square kilometres (301.65 sq mi), and water covers an area of 194.22 square kilometres (74.99 sq mi). Because of such proportion, Jintan is commonly known as the "two mountain two water six points field". As of 2010[update], it has a permanent resident population of 552,047 people. Jintan is approximately 2–3 hours away from Shanghai by highway bus.
Wu Chinese is the vernacular language spoken here. Local words and northern Jiangsu words are two parts of it. For the reason of geographical position, it caused the fusion of languages. The language habits of the floating population also had influence on the local language. In a word, the dialect is always changing.
In the west of Jintan, there are some mountains, all these mountains belong to Maoshan, cover an area of about 223 square kilometres (86 sq mi). The highest peak of Maoshan is 372.5 metres (1,222 ft) above sea level. In the east of Jintan are flatlands, part of the Taihu Plain, with an area of about 752 square kilometres (290 sq mi).
There are 216 rivers in Jintan, in total 512 kilometres (318 mi) long. The southeast Tiao Lake (also named Changdang Lake), covers 8,200 hectares (32 sq mi). This lake is one of the ten largest freshwater lakes in Jiangsu province .
Jintan is in municipal Northern subtropical monsoon climate zone. Jintan City climate is characterized by four seasons, adequate heat, precipitation little rain hot with quarter disasters. Annual average temperature 15.3 °C (59.5 °F), average annual precipitation 1,063.5 millimetres (41.87 in). The frost-free period covers 228 days; average humidity is 78%.