BACKGROUND: The Chinese chestnut (Castanea mollissima) is widely cultivated in China for nut production. This plant also plays an important ecological role in afforestation and ecosystem services. To facilitate and expand the use of C. mollissima for breeding and its genetic improvement, we report here the whole-genome sequence of C. mollissima. FINDINGS: We produced a high-quality assembly of the C. mollissima genome using Pacific Biosciences single-molecule sequencing. The final draft genome is ∼785.53 Mb long, with a contig N50 size of 944 kb, and we further annotated 36,479 protein-coding genes in the genome. Phylogenetic analysis showed that C. mollissima diverged from Quercus robur, a member of the Fagaceae family, ∼13.62 million years ago. CONCLUSIONS: The high-quality whole-genome assembly of C. mollissima will be a valuable resource for further genetic improvement and breeding for disease resistance and nut quality.