Jiufen Old Street – A Charming Chinese Village in Taipei City

JiuFen Old Street

The reason that most attracts you travel to Taiwan is the night market, streets food and friendly Taiwanese, right? There is a charming street, Jiufen Old Street, which is just one hour from Taipei, how can you miss?

Why Is Jiufen Old Street the Top Place To Visit In Taipei?

Jiufen Old Street is a place that crowded all year around both during the day and at night. What makes it so famous?

Jiufen Spirited Away

Spirited Away is a Japanese animated film. Despite it was released in 2001, there are still about 450,000 people searching for this film every month! That’s why it’s the only non-English animated film to receive the winning of the academy award for the best-animated Feature. Also, it was listed in one of the BBC’s 21st Century’s 100 greatest films.There is a saying that Jiufen Old Street is best known as the inspiration for Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away. Thus, there are tons of tourists have come to Jiufen Old Street.In fact, this is a beautiful misunderstanding. Jiufen Old Street has nothing to do with Spirited Away. In this video (without English subtitles), Hayao Miyazaki clarified that Jiufen was not his source of inspiration for the film. Then you will wonder why there is such a rumour?Since the film is renowned, the tourism industry found that the Jiufen Old Street is similar to the scenes in the movie. Hence, they used it as a point to promote the tourism by saying Jiufen Old Street resembles the scene in Spirited Away in order to encourage young Japanese to travel to Taiwan. What people didn’t think of was that this promotion has evolved into the saying that Jiufen is the source of inspiration. So far, many tourists still believe in this.However, fans of the Spirited Away said that Jiufen Old Street is truly a kind of real-life Spirited Away. Despite we are not the super fans, we really like this mysterious and fascinating street.
painting
A nice painting found in a souvenir shop at Jiufen Old Street

The Details of Jiufen Taiwan

Jiufen locates the northeastern part of Taiwan, called Ruifang District. It is a small town on the hillside facing the sea. This terrain forms a unique stepped building.

A large number of gold mines in the early days attracted many gold diggers. At that time, Japan had been colonized for a period, leaving many Japanese-style old buildings.

The nostalgic architectural style attracts a large number of tourists to visit every year. Tourist attractions in Jiufen Old Street are mainly in Jishan Street, Shuqi Road, Qingbian Road and a super narrow alley called “chuanwuxiang”.

Jishan Street is the main sightseeing street for tourists, where described as a touristy place that is crowded on both holidays and normal days. Indeed, this is a touristy place, but this does not interfere with the mood of travel as we know that many tourists like this lovely and unique street too.

This place is perfect for families, couples and friends to travel. But due to the many stairs, it is not suitable for the elderly and families with babies.

What to Do In Jiufen Old Street

The town is filled with tea houses, interesting knick-knacks and street foods with the view of the ocean. When you get down from the bus 1062, you can go Jishan Street to find delicious street foods, take 300 steps of the stone ladder on Shuqi Road to taste the tea and enjoy a beautiful sea view along the Ruijin Road. All places can be reached by walking within 10 minutes.

A-Zhu Peanut Ice Cream Roll
A-Zhu Peanut Ice Cream Roll in Jiufen, Taipei

A-Zhu Peanut Ice Cream Roll

A delightful icy dessert that defeated the Ah Gan Taro Ball and becomes the top food in Jiufen Old Street.

A-Zhu Peanut Ice Cream Roll in Jiufen, Taipei
A-Zhu Peanut Ice Cream Roll in Jiufen, Taipei

This is an unusual vegetarian dessert which wraps traditional Taiwanese ice cream, ground peanuts and some coriander leaves in a thin Taiwanese Spring roll wrapper.

ADDRESS: No. 20, Jishan Street, Ruifang District, New Taipei City, Taiwan 224
BUSINESS HOURS: 09:00-19:00 Daily
MAP : Click here

Ah Gan Taro Balls
Ah Gan Taro Balls is a “must eat” in Jiufen

Ah Gan Taro Balls

One of the not-to-missed food in Jiufen Old Street. We’ve ordered two bowls of taro balls, hot and cool. I like both, but I prefer the hot taro balls soup as hot taro balls stay firm texture
but tender whereas taro balls have become chewy on the ice.

Hot and cool famous Ah Gan Taro Balls
Hot and cool famous Ah Gan Taro Balls (from left to right)

This freshly made taro balls and sweet potato are served with refreshing soup, and you will know how popular it is from the photo below.

From a day sales of Ah Gan Taro Ball, You will know how famous it is

ADDRESS: No. 5, Shuqi Road, Ruifang District, New Taipei City, Taiwan 224
BUSINESS HOURS: 09:00-20:00 Daily
MAP : Click here

Other Street Foods in Jiufen Old Street

Alan Caoziguo
Alan Caoziguo, the locals like

Ah Lan Caoziguo (Glutinous Rice Cake)

Run by the third generation, is still a must-buy gift of locals. Although I don’t like the taste of it, locals like its fresh and multi-flavors choices. The material of the outer skin is mixed of glutinous rice and taro. It is stuffed with four flavors, red beans, mung beans, radish, pickles, for you to choose. You can buy one to try.

Alan Caoziguo 2
The glutinous rice cake of Alan Caoziguo

ADDRESS: No. 90, Jishan Street, Ruifang District, New Taipei City, Taiwan 224
BUSINESS HOURS: 09:00-20:00
MAP : Click here

Jin Zhi Red Yeast Rice Meat Ball
One of the famous street food in Jiufen Old Street, Jin Zhi Red Yeast Rice Meat Ball

Jin Zhi Red Yeast Rice Meat Ball

The founder of Jiufen’s Yeast rice meatball. The outer skin is thin but springy and stuffed with the red yeast rice meatball, bamboo shoots, and shiitake mushrooms. The meat is tender, slightly sour, with the aroma of fermented red yeast rice. I don’t like the taste too, but at least I knew what the red yeast rice meatball tastes. This is just a small snack, why not dare to try?

Jin Zhi Red Yeast Rice Meat Ball 2
Do you dare to try the Jin Zhi Red Yeast Rice MeatBall?

ADDRESS: No. 28-2, Jishan Street, Ruifang District, New Taipei City, Taiwan 224
BUSINESS HOURS:10:00-19:00
MAP : Click here

A-Mei Tea House​

A “legendary tea house” resembles some of the scenes in Spirited Away. It is quite pricey that charge NT$300 per person. But you can try Chinese tea in such an ancient building, enjoy the sea view and feel the scenes in the movie.

ADDRESS: 224, Taiwan, New Taipei City, Ruifang District (suggest to search A-Mei Tea House in Google Maps)
BUSINESS HOURS: 08:30-12:00 Daily
MAP : Click here

Love the foods? You may also like this post – 15 Best Taiwan Foods and Drinks

Other Things To Do In Jiufen

Shengping Theater

Built in 1934, Shengping Theater is the first theatre in northern Taiwan. After renovation, it was reopened in 2011. The theatre retains its original style and will bring you back to the old. You will see posters on the wall, old-fashioned cinemas, movie leaflets for exclusive mountain towns, commissaries, ticket offices, etc.

ADDRESS: No. 137, Qingbian Road, Ruifang District, New Taipei City, Taiwan 224
BUSINESS HOURS: 09:30-17:00
ADMISSION FEE: FREE
MAP : Click here

Ogon Shrine

Ogon Shrine 金瓜石神社, also known as the Jinguashi Shinto Shrine or Gold Temple. It is the first shrine in Taiwan during the Japanese colonial era. If you come here in November, you will see beautiful silver grass covering the mountains.

ADDRESS: No. 8, Jinguang Road, Ruifang District, New Taipei City, Taiwan 224 (go from Gold Museum)
BUSINESS HOURS: 09:30-17:00 (MON to FRI), 09:30-18:00 (SAT & SUN)
ADMISSION FEE: NT$80
MAP : Click here
WEBSITE: Click here

Great Trekking in Mine Tunnels

It is a route passes through the mining town of Jinguashi to the coast. It roughly tracks the location of the Benshan mine tunnels, from number one to nine.

There are ruins of shipping minerals railways and buildings left over by the Japanese occupation. Also, there is an entrance to the tunnel resembles the scene of Spirited Away.

ADDRESS: No. 53, Qitang Road, Ruifang District New Taipei City, Taiwan 224 (suggested to search “Chuen Ji Hall” in GPS)
MAP: Click Here

little crowded place
Little crowd but doesn’t feel bad, as it’s not overcrowded

Best Time to Visit Jiufen Old Street

Whether it is a working day, a weekend or a holiday, there are tons of tourists in the Jiufen Old Street. If you don’t like the crowd, so you can’t go to Jiufen Old street? No, no, no. You can go, but the timing is important. In the evening, the pathway of the old street strewn with beautiful red lanterns. Many tour groups arrange to visit here between 3 pm and 7 pm as to see this scenery.

Although the Jiufen Old Street at night is fascinating, you can go there in the morning to avoid the crowd and take great photos in Jiufen.

At that time, we didn’t know the peak time and jammed for an hour on the way up the mountain. But we’re lucky. Little crowd but doesn’t feel bad, as it’s not overcrowded, maybe it was the beginning of the peak season. And when we were leaving at 5 pm, a large number of tour groups had just arrived.

You can visit Jiufen Old street between August and December. Last but not least, check the weather forecast before you go. We recommend not to go on a rainy day. Because on the narrow alleys, it is inconvenient if it rains.

Go Jiufen by bus
The best way to get Jiufen is by bus or follow the local tour

How to Go Jiufen From Taipei

By Public Transport

The easiest way to get Jiufen Old street is to take the bus number Keelung 1062 from Zhongxiao Fuxing MRT terminal (Exit 2). It’s convenient for you as the bus departs every 20 minutes from Taipei’ subway station. Bus to Jiufen Old Street is one hour and costs around NT$100.

By Taxi

Taking a taxi is the most convenient way but also the most expensive. If you are not the budget traveler, you can hire a cab to get you there. It costs you around NT$1200 for 30-40 minutes drives.

Travel Tips in Jiufen Old Street

  • Walk slowly. You might fall down without seeing the stairs if crowded.
  • Be careful to take photos with local pets as you might be asked to pay a price for photos
  • Go for dinner earlier as restaurants are only open till 7 to 8 pm.
I’ve been to Jiufen Old Street twice and still like the atmosphere and mystery although it is a very touristy place but worth a visit!

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