Located in northeast Taiwan, the mountainside village of Jiufen was once the gold mining center of Taiwan. Today it’s a popular tourist destination known for its quaint streets and alleyways, traditional teahouses, myriad food stalls and souvenir shops, and spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and the Pacific Ocean.
Rich with culture and history, Jiufen is one of the most popular day trips from Taipei. Most visitors head straight to Jiufen Old Street, which winds through most of the village and is full of shops, cafés, and traditional food stalls. Must-try Jiufen dishes include taro balls, glutinous rice cakes, and peanut ice cream rolls. Wash down these treats with a cup of tea from one of the many teahouses in town. Other top attractions include Shengping Theater, Taiyang Co. Ruifang, Songde Park, and Wufan Tunnel. More active visitors may want to set their sights on hiking Mount Jilong.
Guided full-day tours from Taipei typically include other villages and attractions such as Pingxi, Jinguashi, Shifen, or Yehliu National Geopark. Alternatively, opt for a biking tour of Jiufen and nearby areas like Houtong.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Jiufen is ideal for travelers interested in history, culture, and shopping.
- Wear sturdy and comfortable shoes. There are a lot of stairs and cobblestone streets in Jiufen.
- Bring sun protection, rain protection, and water if visiting in summer, which is also the wet season.
- Full-day tours from Taipei can last upwards of eight or nine hours.
How to Get There
Jiufen is located in northeast Taiwan, near Keelung. The easiest way to visit Jiufen is on a guided tour. Otherwise, take the train from Taipei to Ruifang Station and transfer to the Keelung bus; the ride is about 15 minutes. Or take the MRT to Zhongxiao Fuxing (Exit 2) and take bus 1062 for about 90 minutes to Jiufen. There is also a shuttle bus that leaves from Ximen in the morning and returns in the evening.
When to Get There
Jiufen is visitable year-round, though its popularity makes it extremely crowded on weekends and public holidays. Go during the week for smaller throngs. Jiufen is at its most scenic at and after sunset, when the village is alight with a sea of red lanterns.
Movie Setting and Inspiration
Jiufen has been the setting for several well-known films. It was featured in 1989’s Taiwanese historical drama A City of Sadness, which won the Golden Lion Award at the Venice Film Festival that year. It is also said to have greatly influenced Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli’s acclaimed Spirited Away. Fans of the movie have flocked to Jiufen—and in particular A-Mei Teahouse, said to be the inspiration for the bathhouse in the movie.