Jiufen Old Street (九份老街) – A Scenic Gold Mining Village
Founded during the Qing Dynasty, Jiu Fen (九份) was a relatively isolated village until the discovery of gold during the Japanese occupation in 1893, quickly developing the town due to a gold rush.
From the beginning of the 1990’s, Jiufen experienced a tourist boom that has shaped the town into an attraction easily accessible from Taipei City as a nice day trip. Today, the town is filled with both retro Chinese and Japanese style cafés, tea houses, and souvenir shops, as well as fantastic views of the ocean.
We personally very looking forward to Jiufen trip since day one in Taipei mainly because of its famous scenic view that we must witness (with our very own eyes) once in a lifetime! 😉
Famous A-Mei Tea House
Many of you may have watched Hayao Miyazaki’s award-winning “Spirited Away” and been blown away by the film’s creativity and beautiful artwork.
If you loved the movie and happen to be in Taiwan, then you definitely have to make a stop in Jiufen, especially A-Mei Tea House (阿妹茶楼), which purportedly is the inspiration behind the lantern-lit bathhouse in the animation.
You would never miss this tea house during your visit in Jiufen as you proceed up the wooden stairs to the entrance, you will spot several quirky-looking masks hung on the walls and figurines of the film’s characters placed on a shelf.
The A-Mei Tea House might be the best place to hang out in Jiufen if you love to a nice cup of Chinese Tea and to enjoy a relaxing view of the pristine Keelung Mountain.
Not to mention they also have a great choice of snacks selection to serve with their fresh brew tea! 😉
Interesting Shop Sight Seeing
Walking along the cobblestone steps of Shuqi Road (豎崎路) and you will start to discover more and more interesting shops with a different theme for you to explore!
The Human Mask Shop which sells and can custom made a human mask by imitating the real person figure with 99% accuracy!
The artist (owner) himself even made famous from the overseas newspaper by having the title “The Men with Largest Collection of Mask”.
Hopefully, he can own the real Guinness world record in the near future! 😉
The Candy Shop which sells classic candies, not sure how they still manage to get a hand on these products but definitely worth a buy just to recall some happy childhood memories! 😉
Set Aside the candies, even the furniture is a vintage class, would you imagine how many years this furniture had been there and still manage to keep in such a great shape?
The Cat Theme Shop which sells various type of cat figures and cats lucky charms, while they also have a great sense in decorating their shops.
We would say this shop probably is the highest income racking in Jiufen and you will understand the reason behind right after you scroll into the next pictures!
Tadaa the real cat families sitting around the shop and would greet you with their majestic face! Now, who needs the cat charm when you actually own a real one?
Trust me, you just can’t handle the adorable look on their faces and have to pay a visit to their shop just to “Rape” their cats with your hands or camera! 😉
Jiufen Eating Spree Session
Jiufen also considered as a food haven which boasts tons of street food along the pathway, thus, it is nearly impossible to tell anyone that you are still feeling hungry after visiting Jiufen!
From here onwards, we will point out a few “Must-Try” stall that you cant be missed out during your visit to Jiufen.
Our first stop is the famous “Ah Gan Taro Ball” 阿柑姨芋园 which sells the best taro ball in the village, you can find them at the side of the top hill (very end of the path) by straight walking along Shuqi Road.
Each bowl has a hearty amount of assorted mix from Yam Taro Ball, Sweet Potato Taro Ball and Tapioca Taro Ball which gives a firm QQ texture while still manage to taste bits of the real ingredient (due to handmade) just by chewing on it.
You can also opt into their hot dessert selection which is equally flavoursome if you are not into the freezing mood.
Highly recommend trying this taro balls since you cant compare anything with it (especially the taste and texture) in Taiwan.
Small Tips: After purchasing a bowl of taro ball shaved ice, you can proceed to the back alley where they have some free seats for you to enjoy the unparallel view of Jiufen.
The “Small Little Chef” 小师父 which specialized in South Chinese Cuisine and is considered a great hangout to have a fast meal in Jiufen.
Their speciality dish includes pork braised meat rice, chicken rice, mushroom soup and steam dumpling that will definitely turn into a feast if you order each one of them!
Highly recommend their steam dumpling (小笼汤包) which have loads of minced meat and juice inside the dumpling.
The “Jiufen Classic Balls” 九份古早丸 which sells various types of meatballs is another popular thing that you must try while in Jiufen.
Not sure what meatballs to have then you should just order the “Super Mix Bowl” which includes everything exactly like what we did!
There are eight balls in total; Superior Meatball (贡丸), Fu Zhou Fishball (福州丸), Classic Meatball (古早丸), Sharks Ball (鲨鱼丸), Cod Fish Ball (雪鱼丸), Milk Fish Ball (虱目丸), Sword Fish Ball (旗鱼丸) and Tiger Fish Ball (飞虎丸).
Each meatball has their own meaty taste and tastes even better after dipping into their homemade chilli sauce. You can also request for an addition of noodles or vermicelli if you feel like having a full meal.
Overnight Stay in Jiufen
Staying overnight in Jiufen is very worth it if you love to enjoy the scenic night view of an old street with the light of lanterns.
We personally plan to stay overnight in Jiufen on our next trip (cross fingers) just to experience the night view, fresh air in the mountain and more food explorations! 😉
*The majority of attractions are concentrated along the cobblestone steps of Shuqi Road (豎崎路) between Jiufen Elementary School and the Jiufen police precinct. The three roads running perpendicular to Shuqi Road (Jishan St., Qiche Rd., and Qingbian Rd.) each boast a wide variety of shops, restaurants, and cafés so there is a no-no in laziness and please do your own exploration!
From Taipei Metro System (MRT) to Bus
- From MRT Zhongxiao Fuxing (忠孝復興), Brown Line (BR) and Blue Line (BL) interchange, leave from Exit 2 and take bus route 1062 (Keelung Bus) to Jinguashi, alight at Jiufen.
From Train (MRT) to Bus
- From Taipei Main Station (台北車站), take the train north to Ruifang Station. After exiting the station take the bus with routes 827 and 788 heading toward Jiufen.
- It is recommended to take bus 1062 back to Taipei and enjoy some time at Raohe Night Market (饒河夜市).
Address: Jiufen, Ruifang District, Taipei City, Taiwan.