I’ve fallen in love with Jiufen, an old mining town in the Northeast Mountains of New Taipei City that is now home to artist shops, authentic tea houses, and yummy artisan stalls.
The 100-year old A-Mei Tea House in Jiufen inspired the Japanese anime Spirited Away, which won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature at the 75th Academy Awards in 2003, and is regarded as one of the greatest animated films of all time.
Jiufen is now my favorite place in Taiwan and I can’t wait to go back…
After our visit to the Gold Museum, we got dropped off in Jiufen, at the Fushan Chinese Temple facing the sea.
…surrounded by mountains with a great view of the sea. 🙂
The roads going to the town are very narrow.
Tourists dragging their luggage to one of the boutique bed and breakfast places in town.
This is the iconic town plaza at the center of Jiufen…
…with the theater and a spacious place for a town gathering.
I love the playful mix of stairs, graffiti, chinese characters, and red lanterns.
A shop selling locally made bags and mini-Chinese clothes.
This restaurant’s ambiance is Chinese vintage-chic.
Travel Tip: Make sure to go on a weekday to avoid the crowds and to always bring an umbrella.
The most famous landmark in Jiufen is the 100-year old A-Mei Tea House. It’s the inspiration behind the Bath House in Spirited Away.
The Bath House in Spirited Away. (Fan Art by Ben Andrews)
Check out this post by Koichi on Jiufen and Spirited Away: Tofugu.com | I Went To The Real-Life Spirited Away
The entrance to the A-Mei Tea House.
A perfect spot for a souvenir portrait, but you have to assert yourself and stop the crowd to make sure there are no photo bombers around.
We didn’t have time to stay for tea, so this will be in my must-experience list when I come back.
Make sure you reserve the tables near the window for a more enjoyable time.
Here’s the view from A-Mei Tea House.
Check out the Spirited Away souvenir items.
Near the tea house is this old mining tunnel that’s been converted to a secret passage to another part of Jiufen.
In Spirited Away, they passed through a tunnel to get to the land of the spirits. 🙂
Check out the graffiti throughout the Penetrant Alley.
It’s a very narrow two-way tunnel that serves as a shortcut.
Another good spot for a souvenir photo.
Jiufen is a haven for these cute home stuff and accessories.
Another famous store is this Mask Shop.
Reminds you of the heads in Spirited Away. 🙂
Don’t forget to go inside and try on the different masks, maybe take a selfie with one.
This Cat Shop is another popular store in Jiufen. Cats are considered lucky in Chinese culture.
Check out the different cat-inspired shirts, bags, and accessories.
I love the Japanese-Chinese feel of the whole town.
Best of all, there’s Taiwanese street food and yummy artisan shops all around Jiufen.
I’m so excited to see the different kinds of food, just like the Dad in this scene from Spirited Away. 🙂
They’re like our turo-turo shops but cleaner.
Most of the stalls have open kitchens where you can see the products handcrafted by the artisans themselves.
Stop by this baked pancakes stall for a healthy snack as you go around town.
Here’s another vintage tea shop.
It has a more elaborate ambiance than the A-Mei Tea House.
Lumpia with nuts and ice cream! 🙂
Make sure to try the tea eggs and century egg.
During rainy days, a hot cup of noodle soup is perfect. 🙂
Jiufen is famous for its Taro Rice Balls.
There’s always a long line, so it must be yummy.
It’s like our ginataan but with taro balls, sweet potato, and ground mung beans.
The taro balls are made on site and have a soft, springy consistency.
I like it better hot than cold (pwede kayang lagyan ng saba?).
It’s better to buy your pasalubong here because it’s cheaper…
…and you’re sure that they’re made fresh.
Related Blog Post: Miss Tam Chiak | Jiu Fen Old Street
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Live an Awesome Life,
Disclosure: Our Taiwan Fam Trip last June 2014 was courtesy of the Taiwan Visitor’s Bureau, Eva Air, and Jeron Travel. Read Our Awesome Planet Complete Disclosure Policy here.
P.S. Can’t wait to go back to try the other yummy discoveries like the Paper Thin Beef Jerky. Any other suggestions?
4 thoughts on “JIUFEN 九份: Spirited Away in a Gentrified Old Mining Town in Taiwan! #CometoTaiwan”
Jiu Fen is a winner!
Hello! We will be in Taipei for a month and this town really intrigues me! How do we get there? Would it be hard if we don’t read/speak Chinese?
How to get here from http://guidetotaipei.com/visit/jiufen-%E4%B9%9D%E4%BB%BD
How to Get There?:
By Train: From Taipei, take the train north to Ruifang Station. After exiting the station, cross the street to the bus stop next to the Wellcome Supermarket and board the Keelung Transit bus towards Jiufen. The bus trip takes roughly 15 minutes, and the fare is NT$21 during the week, NT$15 during weekends/holiday.
By Bus (via MRT): From Zhongxiao Fuxing (忠孝復興), Brown and Blue lines, leave from Exit 1 and take bus route 1062 (Keelung Bus) to Jiufen. The ride is about 1 hour and the fare is NT$90. Be sure to sit on the left side of the bus to enjoy scenic views of Northern Taiwan.
Many visitors prefer to visit Keelung and its fantastic Miaokou Night Market (廟口夜市) before returning by local train (區間車) back to Taipei City. To get to Keelung from Jiufen, simply take any city bus bound for Keelung. The bus will arrive at Keelung train station right next to the harbor and night market.
Hi! I just want to point out that the picture captioned with “Cute Shop” is actually the reception of a B&B -Windsor BnB 🙂
Anyway, great pictures!!