Ruifang District, New Taipei City 224, Taiwan (ROC)
With an unmatched old town atmosphere and seaside flair, Jiufen (九份) is a must see spot when visiting northern Taiwan. Always teeming with tourists, you might notice that Japanese people make up a huge proportion of the crowds gathered. Many are keen to catch a glimpse of the setting of Hayao Miyazaki's Academy Award winning “Spirited Away”, especially the iconic red lanterns. This is also a film mecca for lovers of Taiwanese film, especially fans of Hou Hsiao-hsien's “A City of Sadness” (悲情城市), which utilized Jiufen as the backdrop to the events of the 228 Incident. Given Hou’s recent award of Best Director in the 2015 International Cannes Film Festival for his new film “The Assassin”, we expect even more people will make their way here in years to come.
Among the many treats and souvenirs to be enjoyed, you should be sure to try a local favorite, taro balls (芋圓) in a sweet red bean soup. Tea houses and coffee shops line the old streets of Jiufen and provide exquisite views of the sleepy mountainside town and Keelung Harbor, not to mention provide a great place to rest your feet! For those itching for some adventuring, try the Keelung mountain hiking trail (雞籠山). No matter which way you choose to enjoy it, you'll be sure to come away from Jiufen with some of the most memorable photos of your trip to Taiwan.
(In case you are interested, the name of the township comes from a rather funny story: A long time ago, there were only nine families living in the area. Because there were no roads serving it, goods could only be delivered by ship. Due to the inefficiency of transportation to the region, the families used to reserve nine portions of household goods to be delivered at one time. Thus, the name Jiufen, “Nine Portions”, stuck and has been the name of the town ever since).
- Jiufen Old Street usually crowded with people in the noon time, especially on the weekends.
- While Jiufen is absolutely worth a visit, the sheer number of tourists making their way here every day makes public transport busy and uncomfortable, sometimes even requiring you to queue for a long time just to board a bus. If your time is limited, and you are keen to visit Jiufen alongside other attractions nearby, then join us on a tour. Jiufen has a long and fascinating history of gold mining that our guides on the Jiufen Sky Lantern tour will only be too happy to tell you about!