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My experience at the ever charming Jiufen

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Jiufeng, located in Ruifang District, New Taipei City, used to flourish due to rich in gold mines but declined because of exhausted mining. After 1990, the movie “A City of Sadness” was shot in Jiufeng. The unique old architecture, hillside field and cultures have attracted attention from both domestic and abroad through this movie, which has brought new opportunity to this town. Now, it has become a very popular tourism spot.

According to the Journal of Taipei County, at the early Qing Dynasty, this isolated village lived nine families, thus, the village would request “nine portions” every time shipments arrived from town. Later, it has become the name of the village and used ever since. In 2001, the famous Japanese animation producer Hayao Miyazaki used Jiufen as an inspiration in Spirited Away.

Did I wake up too early? It is almost 10 o’clock; there’s a few pedestrians on the street of Jiufeng. Many stores just open the door.

The old street in Taiwan is basically Taiwanese snack, and all sorts of local agricultural products, and handmade crafts. The distinctive Yu Yuan, a traditional snack made of taro, is completely handmade. Red bean Yu Yuan soup has the sweetness of taro and smooth taste is full of color, taste, and flavor.

We started from Taipei early in the morning and reached Jiufen without breakfast. So I ordered the noodle I was not particular like normally. It looked ordinary but smelled so special. You can even say the taste of noodles has been made to the extreme. Now, I can still feel its delicious. This may be the true essence of Taiwanese cuisine.

Without coming to Shuqi Road, then you have not really come to Jiufeng. Shuqi Road is a long stone stair, which is unique stair. Earlier in history, it is the important transportation and supply routes. Stairs, the flavor of tea, Japanese-styled house have sketched out a nostalgic and beautiful scenery. Because of this unique beauty, it has attracted tourists and photographers from all over the world and

Since 1893, gold mine was discovered in Jiufen, it has become prosperous. A bunch of gold diggers has rushed to Jiufen. The original village of 9 families has developed into a village of 30 or 40 thousand people, ending its quietness and desolation.

After 1957, the village has begun declining after the exhausting of the gold. The exploitation closed officially in 1971. The prosperous of Jiufen has faded, houses were left empty, few inhabitants on the old street, the noisy villages were back to quietness. However, the unique charming of Jiufen has attracted tourists from everywhere. Every year, many painters, sculptors, potters gathered at this small mountain village to cherish the past and seek for inspiration.

In the late 1980s, the famous Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-hsien filmed “A City of Sadness”, which was shot in Jiufen. The film awarded at Venice Film Festival has made people notice this special village again.

There is no hotel or guesthouse in Jiufen, but there are many Bed & Breakfast that provide accommodation. The equipment and cleanliness of the Bed & Breakfast are not worse than the hotels. Choose a house facing the sea, when the night comes, watching the fish harbor by the window, enjoying the tranquility of the mountain night. How wonderful is this! Unfortunately, due to our busy schedule, we did not stay here for a night.

The nostalgic landscape of Jiufen has attracted much tourism, mainly focused on Jishan Street, Shuji Road, Qingbian Road and others. Jishan Street also called “dark street”, is always crowded no matter its weekday or weekend. Shuqi Road is a straight road and a stairway. Much sight-viewing tea houses are gathered on this road.

Jiufen is a suitable place of self-cultivation, where the traditional customs of early Taiwan are preserved here.

We had lunch at the fish harbor and experience the real fresh seafood of Taiwan. Wow, seafood, so many varieties, many of which I have never seen. The ones I have seen before are very small, but here, they are all very big.

A variety of fish is freshly caught. Moreover, the price is not very expensive.

Once you picked up the seafood and paid the price, you can take them to get cooked at the nearby restaurants, who will charge you the processing fee. However, you can choose how you want them to be cooked. The price is more transparent, compared to mainland China.

I walked around the market and took a look at the friendly local friends with a table of seafood. The taste is completely different even it is the same kind of seafood in mainland China. Moreover, it is not cheap to have a whole table of seafood.

Here, besides fresh seafood, you can also buy processed seafood products.

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