Yueju confers antidepressant effects in a rapid and long-lasting manner, similar to ketamine. CREB (cAMP-response element binding protein) signaling is implicated in depression pathology and antidepressant responses. However, the role of CREB and associated brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) signaling in rapid and long-lasting antidepressant effects remains unclear. Here, we demonstrated that ICR and Kunming strain mice conferred antidepressant responses lasting for 1 and 5 days, respectively, following a single dose of Yueju. One day post Yueju in Kunming but not ICR strain mice, expression of total and phosphorylated CREB, as well as the CREB signaling activator, PKA (protein kinase A) was up-regulated in the hippocampus. Although BDNF gene expression increased at 3 hours in both strains, it remained up-regulated at 1 day only in Kunming mice. Ketamine showed similar strain-dependent behavioral effects. However, blockade of PKA/CREB signaling blunted the antidepressant effects and reversed the up-regulation of BDNF gene expression by Yueju, but not ketamine. Conversely, blockade of mammalian target of rapamycin signaling led to opposite effects. Taken altogether, prolonged transcriptional up-regulation of hippocampal BDNF may account for the stain-dependent enduring antidepressant responses to Yueju and ketamine, but it was mediated via PKA/CREB pathway only for Yueju.