An Evening in Jiufen

Saturday late-afternoon

We took an afternoon bus to Jiufen [九份] on Saturday. Jiufen was once a prosperous gold mining town. When the goldmines were exhausted shortly after World War II, interest in the town took a dive. The town has reinvented itself as a tourist destination following the release of A City of Sadness [悲情城市], Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s [侯孝賢] 1989 film which was the first to depict the 228 Massacre and the Kuomintang’s era of White Terror.


It was already late afternoon by the time we arrived, so the crowds were rapidly thinning as we made our way through the area’s tourist streets. This was my second time visiting Jiufen, the first time was when I visited Taiwan for 2 weeks in 2004. Jiufen has a special charm and was the inspiration for the village in the movie Spirited Away.

Five-Flavors Fish Ball Soup

5-Flavor Fish Ball Soup [五味綜合魚丸湯]:

Five-Flavors Fish Ball Soup

Next up was dessert:


Taro-balls [阿柑姨芋圓]:


Somewhere along the streets a person handed me a Nikon D80 with a 35mm lens to take a picture of him and his significant other. The shot was in low-light and low-iso and their picture turned out incredibly sharp with absolutely gorgeous bokeh. I think a prime lens is on my wishlist.

Out of daylight

And of course, a picture in front of the steps [sure, everyone takes a picture there, but this one turned out great and was by far the best of both of us from the evening]:


14 thoughts on “An Evening in Jiufen

  1. Great post, as usual! You have some great pics in here. I especially love the last pic, the food (of course – makes me hungry), and the picture with the cat. Was there actually a woman carrying around a fat cat??

  2. Thanks Catherine and Sandy! To answer your question Sandy, yes she was carrying her cat around the streets of Jiufen. I know my cat in the US would be too pissed off from the ride to take part in being carried through a crowded street. But I guess this cat and woman aren’t too weird, in Nantou I saw a girl walking her rabbit around town on a leash.

  3. If you are in Taipei: take the MRT to Zhongxiao Fuxing station and there is a bus stop outside Exit 1. It is the Taipei-Jiufen-Jinguashi bus. I believe it leaves every half an hour or so. I forget how much the fare is, but it is pretty inexpensive.

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  5. Hey – great photos! Yes a prime lens is a must. I have a 50mm 1.8 lens for my Nikon and its great! If you have the Nikon, go for the 1.8 lens, its pretty inexpensive at about $125USD. I’ll be planning a cycle trip to Jiufen sometime soon hopefully! Cheers

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  7. Hi Todd,

    nice blog. am planning to bring my elderly parents to taipei and I would like to bring them to this beautiful jiufen. i was there years ago and i just love the place. to make the travelling from taipei to jiufen more comfortable for my old age parents, an thinking of taking a cab/taxi fom taipei to jiufen. how long is the travelling time, and any rough estiamte of the cab fares from taipei to jiufen?

    thanks much for the info in advance.


  8. Oh! I love this place, Todd.
    I’ve been there just once. Your photos brings back the nostalgia of the wonderful days I’ve spent with my co-workers (Filipinos and Taiwanese) there in Taiwan. I miss the place so much.

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