Summer Musings I: Jiufen

Jiufen tea house

The last semester has been a busy, stressful blur. Now that I am finally on winter break, I can take the time to think back fondly to that satisfying, warm summer. This is part one of two photo posts about my summer, 2013.

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Jiufen (九份) is a small town on a mountainside just an hour north of Taipei. With its gorgeous winding streets, stone pavement, delicacies, and local cultural snippets, it is one of the most popular tourist destinations. I was ecstatic about the chance for a quick weekend elopement to Jiufen.

Jiufen mining town

Our check-in is at three, so we spent the morning and the early afternoon strolling around in the nearby once mining town.Jiufen hills

After we dropped off our luggage at the guest house, we surveyed the town and sampled all its delicacies, architecture, history, cultural goods, and hospitality.

Jiufen taro balls

Taro balls are a famous Taiwanese dessert, and Jiufen taro balls are especially delectable.

Jiufen streets

Jiufen streets

The town is characterized by a labyrinth of narrow alleys, Escher stairs, and retro-styled shops and kiosks of sorts. I loved the atmosphere and the look of it all.

Jiufen town streets stairs

Apparently, so did Hayao Miyazaki, who drew inspirations from the tea house for his spa house in Spirited Away. We would return again at night time.

Jiufen guest house

Having explored the town, stuffed our stomachs, and climbed all the stairs through the day, we returned to our lovely, Japanese styled room. It is a very simple, roomy space with a particularly fancy bath, thick futons, and soft tatami. I love tatami.

Jiufen view

After a bath and short nap, we took another walk around Jiufen—this time focusing on the edges and outskirts. It was sunset by then.

Jiufen tea house

We came back around to A Mei Tea House, and what a stunning sight it was. The luxurious red lanterns and brown wood contrasted with the stark night, the scenery is breathtaking.

Jiufen tea house mask

Unfortunately, the tea is a bit bland and far overpriced, but the scenery and the atmosphere is worth it.

Jiufen guest house kitchen

After a late night stroll, we returned to our place in Jiufen. This is a view of the kitchen from the lobby of our guest house. Our room is on the second floor overlooking the bay.

Jiufen Japanese breakfast

Breakfast was served at nine: fish, rice, miso soup, lychee, tofu, and tamagoyaki. The owner of the guest house was a Japanese chef, who had ran a noodle shop back in the days.

Jiufen kimono

One of the reasons we chose this particular guest house was that it housed a collection of kimono, and the lady of the house will help dress you. Of course, before we left, we had to play a little dress up!

Pingxi town

The final stop on our short weekend trip was to the nearby small town, Pinxi, which is just a few short train stops away. This small place has an even more quaint feel to it, and much quieter.

Pingxi sky lanterns

Pinxi is known for its sky lanterns. On the sky lanterns people write their wishes, and set them to the skies. This is our sky lantern. We would later go on the train tracks, set a fire under it, and watch it fly into the night sky.

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May we all have a lovely, safe new year!

About Yi

''lol...you're either sleeping or eating'' ''oh and watching anime'' ''and indulge in fashion.'' ... Ahh the busy life~
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14 Responses to Summer Musings I: Jiufen

  1. Overlord-G says:

    Good to see you again Yi-san. It’s nice seeing posts about Holiday vacations and stuff like that. Jiufen looks like a neat place to visit but I do not if I could afford traveling to the other side of the Earth right now.

    • Yi says:

      Thanks OG! These vacation posts are fairly light for me, which is just what I needed for blogging nowadays. I also just like recording somewhere my experiences.

      Jiufen is a place I’d recommend for those who are in Taiwan, but not necessarily a place I’d recommend going out of the way for. It is a pretty small, albeit gorgeous, town. I can’t quite afford to fly all over the place these days either, but luckily, there is enough fun to be had locally.

      Anyways, I hope you’re doing well!

  2. nice, nice! both the night view and the kimono
    Happy New Year to you, too! I hope we see more of your writing soon :)

    • Yi says:

      Dressing up in kimono was so fun! It seemed like a really complicated process too. I had no idea how to wrap myself in those large sheets of cloth. Luckily, the hostess was there to dress up.

      Anyways, I wish you a wonderful year as well! You’re lovely as ever. Stay awesome Ayame. ♥

      p.s. Hopefully, I can get more casual, fun writing done this year. ^ ^

  3. Nice place, looks like a Japanese place, but in Taiwan! XD

    • Yi says:

      Taiwan actually has had a lot of Japanese influences in its culture and architecture due to its proximity and its history—Taiwan was under Japanese colonial control in the past. Of course, a lot of modern additions like to play up that aspect to attract tourists as well.

  4. wieselhead says:

    Oh that’s a part of Taiwan, there are many documentations about, China, Vietnam, many other asian countries, but I’ve never seen one about Taiwan. It might be my first time seeing picttures from there haha. The narrow alleys of the small towns have their own charm, they are not very crowded, so it’s an inviting scenery all around.

    Cool breakfast btw ^^, should give you lots of energy to discover everthing around.
    Is this a railway in picture two? I love trains, do they drive there, old ones ヾ(★▽★)ノ ?

    • Yi says:

      Taiwan sits at a very odd place politically and historically, so it hasn’t garnered too much international attention. You might have seen pictures from there before though without recognizing it. ^ ^

      The alleys were actually super crowded with tourists in the day time. I got to stay overnight though, so I was able to take some pictures during the slower hours. The scenery is beautiful for sure. The breakfast was delicious, as was the whole experience.

      Unfortunately, I can’t quite help with the trains. I know nothing about trains. The second picture is a railroad indeed! But I think it’s no longer running. It used to carry coal down from the mining town at the top of mountain, but since mining no longer happens, that particular tract is now obsolete.
      There was actually another railway that passes through the middle of where we set off the lanterns. That one is kind of oldish? It’s very pretty and nostalgic-looking.

  5. Machi says:

    Hi!
    It’s been a while since I check your blog, it’s really nice to see al the new stuff.
    First of all, Jiufen looks really interesting and I just love the part of “labyrinth of narrow alleys”, I’m facinated with that kind of districts. Since I live in a big city I rarely get to enjoy the beauty of traditional district or cities.

    Well anyway, I have always wanted to visit Taiwan… maybe next year ^.^ If I’m ever able to do so, Jiufen it’s definitly going to be on my places to visit :D
    Also I would love to wear a Kimono :D

    Well as always I enjoy reading your post!

  6. Lucas Magnus says:

    Good to see you posting again.

    I see you enjoyed your vacation. Makes me kind of wish I was able to go out of my country too. Anyway, best wishes to you always, even if you might not recognize me anymore, haha.

    It’s a shame that you don’t get to post as often as you did before, but life is busy, so you just do what you need to do.

  7. Kai says:

    Oh I saw that place where Hayao Miyazaki drew inspirations from, I knew about the place from my sis’s Taiwan trip XD I didn’t go though, not sure if I could afford another trip right now but it’s definitely a place I will be checking out if I got the chance to visit Taiwan.

  8. jreding says:

    It must have been a lovely trip! Jiufen is not too far away from Taipeh, is it? I’m asking b/c I will be in Taiwan a few days on holiday in May this year. We won’t have too much time so we plan to stay in Taipeh w/ one or two trips to the surrounding area. If there’s anything else you can recommend to visit I would much appreciate your advice!

  9. chello says:

    I was reading your review on some yuri earlier and I realized you had postings about Jiufen! Do you go to school in Taipei as well?

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