Not gonna lie, the stormy weather that served our stop at the coast so well (mood-wise, anyway) did put a bit of a damper on our next stop, a visit to Jiufen Old Street. Nevertheless, even heavy rain couldn’t keep crowds from converging on Jiufen, a former gold mining town famous for its old street and cool eats, just 40 minutes northeast of Taipei. And despite having to dodge umbrellas whilst navigating its main thoroughfare, Jiufen proved to be fun.
Legend has it that there used to be just nine families living in the village and ships bringing goods to the area got used to bringing nine each of everything, hence the name Jiufen, which literally means “nine portions” in one of its transliterations. The discovery of gold in its hills ushered in a wave of prosperity that once inspired comparisons of Jiufen to Shanghai or Hong Kong. However, the decline post-gold rush was just as quick and, nowadays, it’s tourism that brings in the gold.
Another legend is that Jiufen inspired the setting of Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away, and despite refutation from Miyazaki himself, like all good legends it refuses to die down. As you stroll through Jiufen Old Street, you will often see souvenirs based on the movie and other Studio Ghibli films.
A word of advice at this point: those ubiquitous pineapple cake boxes and various other pastries will be cheaper at one of Taipei’s street markets than at the shops in Jiufen. Don’t feel compelled to buy your pasalubong there. That said, do try the free food samples that the shops in Jiufen habitually hand out, and if you find something you like, go ahead and buy more.
One thing you should not miss at Jiufen: the peanut ice cream roll. Trust me. I know Taipei is known for its street food but the peanut ice cream roll at Jiufen was seriously my (and my friend’s) favorite.
Our visit to Jiufen was part of Edison Tours’ Chiufen Village & Northeast Coast Tour, which includes stops at Jiufen Village, the Bay of Two Colors, Bitou Cape, and the Nanya Rock Formations.
- Contact person: Paul Hsieh, Deputy General Manager, Edison Travel Service Co.
- Tel: +886-2-2563-5313 or +886-2-2563-4621 ext 102
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Tours from Taipei: Jiufen Village
Hi Gaya, I’m not sure if the glitch is on my side but I couldn’t see any the pictures. I would’ve loved to see that peanut ice cream. It sounds yummy!
Ok, I went back again and saw the pictures. The stormy weather sure didn’t ruin your photos though. Beautiful and so colorful. My kids will love it there because Spirited Away remains their favorite movie of all time!
Very well written. I’m in the process of planning my first ever solo trip abroad, preferably to an SE country. Would u recommend Taipei?
Hi Lanes! Usually I would recommend Singapore for first-time solo travelers because it’s safe, English-speaking, with first-class infrastructure and good food. That said, di ba you lived for a while overseas, sa Dubai ba to or something? I think you’ll be pretty used to navigating a foreign city nah, so yeah, I think Taipei will be a good place for your first solo travel. 🙂