Jiufen at Night or Day

One of the most populated tourist spots in Taiwan is undoubtedly Jiufen. I’m still trying to understand why so many people frequent it but I have a sneaking suspicion that most of the visitors flock to Jiufen because of its historical value. The entire place pays homage to the old history of Formosa. The tourist attraction that you will see is part market, part mining village, part remnants from the Japanese occupation that happened in Taiwan.
 
Jiufen is located in New Taipei City and accessible via the Ruifang train station or Golden Fulong tour bus, if you are taking public transport. 
 

a map of Jiufen with its surrounding area

According to my local friend, Jiufen is also a popular location for shootings. It also became popular when Studio Ghibli’s Miyazaki referred to it as his inspiration for creating the movie Spirited Away. Historically, Jiufen was a stark reminder of the goldrush era that spanned in Taiwan when this mountainous part of Ruifang found gold—literally. It also reminded the locals of the once-booming mining industry also known to Taiwan. It’s also popular among the Taiwanese since it was the location for the historical flick A City of Sadness.
 
I thought going to Jiufen would be easier on a weekday. Or when it’s raining. But you know what? The only time that I’ve ever been to Jiufen without people falling in line while walking was on a weeknight. And the stores are mostly closed. The thing about Jiufen is that you will love it in daytime for the stores and the bustling crowds (mostly Japanese and Korean) but you will fall head over heels for it at night time dup;e to its awesome nightscape.
 

 
The first time I actually went to Jiufen was on a Wednesday weeknight and we arrived there around 8PM. Without so many stores opened, Jiufen left a visually stunning impression on me. I remembered wanting to go back there, curious to see it in day time.
 

 
But my recent day trips revealed something else. Jiufen gets so much foot traffic, it’s impossible to take lots of great shots understand how it happens every single day, rain or shine. Blogged about it in this post.
 
Jiufen is pretty much like the night markets in Taiwan, but with stairs running up and down the entire area. During my most recent trip, we explored one of those alley stairs and ended up within the residential area, which consisted of more stairs and walkway edges. It made me wonder if the mining village in the olden days was actually preserved and were some of the houses we passed by.
 
The most notable thing about Jiufen is the preserved architecture and landscape. Since coming to Taiwan, I’ve always felt like it is a fusion of Chinese and Japanese influences. I’ve only seen that thought become a visible reality here in Jiufen. Sometimes, the lines between Japanese and Chinese traces are almost null. From souvenir items to old homes and Japanese lanterns, Jiufen gives you a feeling of how old Japan must be like on Taiwanese land. 
 

 

 
Japanese students on a field trip

Am I still in Taiwan?

Among the things you will find in Jiufen are stalls after stalls of souvenir shops. There are also a few food items that I haven’t seen much in Taipei night markets. The most popular is the peanut butter ice cream made to look like a spring roll.
 

 
lumpiang ice cream!

MOCHI! The strawberry-filled samples are really good.


 
weird fish buns :s

You will also find some quirky stalls and shops, offering visual treats, along the alleyways and market area of Jiufen.
 

 
calligraphy shop


 

 

 
ash tray

To get to Jiufen from Taipei, you can take the local train from the Taipei TRA station then buy a ticket to Ruifang. From Ruifang station, ride the buses that would show Jiufen on the top LED screens on the front or look for numbers 1062 or 788. From Jiufen, there’s a bus stop beyond the 7-11 station where you can ride back to Taipei.
 
If you plan to see it at night, you might also want to prepare for the taxi option if you stay beyond 8PM and still want to go back to Taipei. Better yet, just spend a night in one of the hostels easily within the area. 
 
**Night-time Jiufen photos and the Jiufen photo map are credited to our friend. I’m keeping your name anonymous because you don’t like online footprints haha. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

seven − one =