JIUFEN 九份: Spirited Away in a Gentrified Old Mining Town in Taiwan! #CometoTaiwan

Jiufen Taiwan-14.jpg


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…

Jiufen Taiwan-1.jpg
After our visit to the Gold Museum, we got dropped off in Jiufen, at the Fushan Chinese Temple facing the sea.

Jiufen Taiwan-4.jpg
Reminds me of Baguio…

Jiufen Taiwan-3.jpg
…surrounded by mountains with a great view of the sea. 🙂

Jiufen Taiwan-7.jpg
The roads going to the town are very narrow.

Jiufen Taiwan-6.jpg
Quirky salon.

Jiufen Taiwan-9.jpg
Cute shop.

Jiufen Taiwan-10.jpg
Costume studio.

Jiufen Taiwan-11.jpg
Tourists dragging their luggage to one of the boutique bed and breakfast places in town.

Jiufen Taiwan-15.jpg
This is the iconic town plaza at the center of Jiufen…

Jiufen Taiwan-16.jpg
…with the theater and a spacious place for a town gathering.

Jiufen Taiwan-18.jpg
I love the playful mix of stairs, graffiti, chinese characters, and red lanterns.

Jiufen Taiwan-19.jpg
A shop selling locally made bags and mini-Chinese clothes.

Jiufen Taiwan-22.jpg
This restaurant’s ambiance is Chinese vintage-chic.

Jiufen Taiwan-23.jpg
Travel Tip: Make sure to go on a weekday to avoid the crowds and to always bring an umbrella.

Jiufen Taiwan-36.jpg
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)

Spirited Away 1
Check out this post by Koichi on Jiufen and Spirited Away: Tofugu.comI Went To The Real-Life Spirited Away

Jiufen Taiwan-24.jpg
The entrance to the A-Mei Tea House. 

Jiufen Taiwan-26.jpg
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. 

Jiufen Taiwan-32.jpg
Inside tea house. 

Jiufen Taiwan-29.jpg
We didn’t have time to stay for tea, so this will be in my must-experience list when I come back.

Jiufen Taiwan-27.jpg
Make sure you reserve the tables near the window for a more enjoyable time.

Jiufen Taiwan-30.jpg
Here’s the view from A-Mei Tea House.

Jiufen Taiwan-31.jpg
Check out the Spirited Away souvenir items.

Jiufen Taiwan-37.jpg
Near the tea house is this old mining tunnel that’s been converted to a secret passage to another part of Jiufen.

Spirited Away 7
In Spirited Away, they passed through a tunnel to get to the land of the spirits. 🙂  

Jiufen Taiwan-38.jpg
Check out the graffiti throughout the Penetrant Alley.

Jiufen Taiwan-41.jpg
It’s a very narrow two-way tunnel that serves as a shortcut.

Jiufen Taiwan-40.jpg
Another good spot for a souvenir photo.

Jiufen Taiwan-43.jpg
Jiufen is a haven for these cute home stuff and accessories.

Jiufen Taiwan-57.jpg
Another famous store is this Mask Shop. 

Spirited Away 9
Reminds you of the heads in Spirited Away. 🙂

Jiufen Taiwan-58.jpg
Don’t forget to go inside and try on the different masks, maybe take a selfie with one. 

Jiufen Taiwan-59.jpg
This Cat Shop is another popular store in Jiufen. Cats are considered lucky in Chinese culture. 

Jiufen Taiwan-60.jpg
Check out the different cat-inspired shirts, bags, and accessories.  

Jiufen Taiwan-44.jpg
I love the Japanese-Chinese feel of the whole town.

Jiufen Taiwan-45.jpg
Best of all, there’s Taiwanese street food and yummy artisan shops all around Jiufen. 

Spirited Away 6
I’m so excited to see the different kinds of food, just like the Dad in this scene from Spirited Away. 🙂

Jiufen Taiwan-54.jpg
They’re like our turo-turo shops but cleaner.

Jiufen Taiwan-72.jpg
Most of the stalls have open kitchens where you can see the products handcrafted by the artisans themselves.

Jiufen Taiwan-74.jpg
Stop by this baked pancakes stall for a healthy snack as you go around town.

Jiufen Taiwan-48.jpg
Here’s another vintage tea shop.

Jiufen Taiwan-49.jpg
It has a more elaborate ambiance than the A-Mei Tea House.

Jiufen Taiwan-56.jpg
Lumpia with nuts and ice cream! 🙂

Jiufen Taiwan-77.jpg
Make sure to try the tea eggs and century egg. 

Jiufen Taiwan-81.jpg
During rainy days, a hot cup of noodle soup is perfect. 🙂

Jiufen Taiwan-70.jpg
Jiufen is famous for its Taro Rice Balls.

Jiufen Taiwan-61.jpg
There’s always a long line, so it must be yummy.

Jiufen Taiwan-69.jpg
It’s like our ginataan but with taro balls, sweet potato, and ground mung beans.

Jiufen Taiwan-68.jpg
The taro balls are made on site and have a soft, springy consistency.

Jiufen Taiwan-65.jpg
I like it better hot than cold (pwede kayang lagyan ng saba?).

Jiufen Taiwan-79.jpg
It’s better to buy your pasalubong here because it’s cheaper…

Jiufen Taiwan-80.jpg
…and you’re sure that they’re made fresh.

Related Blog Post: Miss Tam Chiak | Jiu Fen Old Street

Related Blog Posts:

TAIWAN: Guide to an Awesome Experience in Taipei! #CometoTaiwan

Awesome Taiwan #CometoTaiwan Series (2014):

Flavors of Taiwan Series (2012):

Live an Awesome Life,

Founder, www.OurAwesomePlanet.com 

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

  1. 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?

  2. 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.

  3. 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!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *