No.110, Minquan Ln., Shuili Township, Nantou County 553, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
Located near Mingtan Reservoir (明潭水庫) in Nantou, Checheng is a rustic little village serving as the terminus of the Jiji tourist railroad. Once upon a time, it was home to a thriving timber industry, and these nostalgic trains were used to facilitate logging during the Japanese Colonial Era. As the timber industry began to decline, Checheng was abandoned, too. Today, the village has successfully restructured its tourist industry by promoting a more family-oriented scene combined with leisure and pleasure, continuing to serve as a reminder of the flourishing history of the local industry.
In the old days, the Shuili Township was a collection and distribution center for wood in Nantou and acted as a transshipment point, where hundreds of handcarts were parked, hence the name Checheng (literally “car yard”). In 1919, the Japanese colonizers started to construct Jiji railroad while building the hydroelectric power station at Sun Moon Lake in order to transport equipments and materials needed for the hydropower project. Serving as the terminus of the Jiji railroad, Checheng drew in a significant number of workers, which hastened the village into a prosperous town. In the 1960s, Zhenchang Logging Co. (振昌木業) built a plant here, turning Checheng into a major hub for timber transport. However, the economic structural change resulted in the decline of traditional industries such as logging. In recent years, tourism has boomed along the Jiji railroad, and Checheng, named one of the most beautiful train stations in Taiwan, is no exception. These days, most old streets are quite commercialized and start to lose their original luster – but that is not the case with Checheng Old Street. Small as it is, the wood museum located near to the train station is an educational and inspirational experience for visitors of all ages, where myriads of wood handicrafts are on display and the nostalgic wood processing scenes have been recreated.
Walking around the small town of Checheng, you will find a scenic pond that once served as a log pond. Storage of logs in water has the additional advantages of preventing splitting of logs which might otherwise dry prior to milling. Take a leisurely stroll along the walking trail encircling the pond, and enjoy the utmost tranquility surrounded by nature at its best. At Checheng, visitors could sit back and relax a bit before experiencing a short nostalgic rail journey to another beautiful town — Jiji. Before leaving, be sure to have a “wood bucket bento,” which is a perfect combination of local lumber industry and the single-portion takeout that miners used to have as everyday meals. One single bite will bring you back to the 1960s.