No.9, Senlin Ln., Lugu Township, Nantou County 558, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
Located in the Lugu Township of Nantou, Xitou Village is home to abundant natural resources, making it a research forest of the University of Tokyo during the Japanese Colonial Era. In 1970, the forest was declared a nature reserve and officially named Xitou Nature Education Area.
Xitou Nature Education Area lies in a valley surrounded by mountains on three sides, where the weather is consistently cool all year round. The highest mountain within the area even has an altitude of 2,025 meters. When the sky is clear, you could hike along the trail that leads you all the way to the astronomical observatory on top, where a panoramic view of the surrounding mountains and the distant Sun Moon Lake will amaze you. During this scenic hike, you will pass through a bamboo forest in a mist of magic while having some little squirrel friends along the way.
You can also walk through the treetops by taking the spectacular skywalk through canopies. With a height difference of 22.6 meters, this skywalk allows visitors to have a close-up look at the wildlife and landscapes that change with the seasons. This 180-meter-long walkway will also take you to the treasure of the whole area – a 2,800-year-old Formosan cypress. Unfortunately, this historic, giant tree had been suffering from years of bacterial diseases, leaving a hollow, weakened place in the trunk. On 11 September 2016, the tree sadly toppled over after days of heavy rain in the mountains.
For those who appreciate flowers, Xitou Nature Education Area is also a prime location to admire the ginkgo biloba, also known as the maidenhair tree. Ginkgo trees grow extremely slow for several years after planting, and sometimes it takes more than twenty years to blossom. In other words, if a young man plants a ginkgo tree, he would have to wait until his grandchildren grow up to actually see these trees in full bloom. That explains why ginkgo trees are also known as “trees of grandfather and grandson” and why that vast forest of ginkgo trees within Xitou Nature Education Area is such a big deal for many nature lovers.