Guide to New Taipei’s Jiufen Old Street

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Jiufen acts as a relic of an old mining town in Taiwan’s New Taipei City. It’s one of my favorite places in Taiwan. Throughout this guide, I’ll share how to get there and what I recommend doing.

I’ve been to Jiufen several times (I have proof). And I want to help anyone considering visiting there to have the best experience possible.

So, I’ve put together information that’ll cover:

  • How to get to Jiufen Old Street
  • The town’s history
  • Where to stay
  • Things to do
  • What to do in Jinguashi (a nearby village)

Let’s plan your day trip.

How To Get To Jiufen #

Despite Jiufen (or Jioufen) residing in New Taipei’s outskirts, you won’t need to pay much or deal with transfers to get here if you’re coming from Taipei or New Taipei.

Below are what transportation options you have to get to Jiufen Old Street.

Train

I don’t recommend this option, but you can take a train from Taipei to Ruifang Station.

Once you leave the station, you would need to take buses 788 or 965 to Jiufen Old Street.

This journey will take you between one and two hours and cost NT$49–76 ($1.70–$2.66)—for the train. Afterward, you’ll need to pay NT$15 ($0.52) for the bus ride.

Uber or Taxi

If you want an Uber, it’ll cost around NT$800 ($28) for a ride. That’s for four people. So, if you were to go to Jiufen with four people and split the bill four ways, then you’d only pay NT$200 ($7) apiece.

If you want to optimize your time budget, I recommend paying the extra NT$100 ($3) if you’re in a group. It’s not too much more than a bus ticket.

Otherwise, you can hail a taxi. It costs around NT$700 ($24.50) for a one-way trip from Taipei Main Station to Jiufen Old Street.

Bus

The cheapest and easiest way to reach Jiufen from Taipei is by bus—but at a cost.

If you were to miss any of the buses, or if they’re too full, you’ll have to wait at least 20 minutes before the next bus arrives.

If you’re around Banqiao, I recommend taking bus 965 from Banqiao Bus Station to Jiufen.

You won’t have to transfer and it’ll take you around 80 minutes to reach Jiufen Old Street. During off-peak hours, the bus will come every 40–60 minutes. Otherwise, during peak hours, buses come every 30–40 minutes.

965 runs 7 AM–9 PM on weekends and 6 AM–9 PM on weekdays.

If you’re in Taipei, take bus 1062.

It comes every 20 minutes and will take close to a couple of hours to reach Jiufen.

It runs between 7:15 AM and 9:20 PM on weekdays and 7:05 through 8:50 PM on weekends.

You’ll also need to pay NT$15 when getting on the bus and NT$85 ($2.90) when departing, which totals NT$100 for a one-way trip.

When taking bus 1062 back to Taipei, if it’s not too late, I recommend stopping at Raohe Street Night Market.

There’s a bus station in front of it. From there, explore the various eateries and a couple Michelin-recommended food stands.

Keep in mind that you’ll want to buy an EasyCard and load at least NT$300 into your funds. NT$200 ($7) for bus fare and NT$100 for backup funds.

History of Jiufen #

Jiufen, Ruifang District, New Taipei City, Taiwan

Jiufen’s history began in the Qing Dynasty (1636–1911). During this period, it was an isolated village with only nine families.

In Mandarin Chinese, jiu fen (九分) means “nine portions.” That’s the number of portions the families requested whenever shipments arrived.

When the 1890s hit, someone discovered gold in the area, which led to a gold rush.

Once Japan occupied Taiwan, the once tiny village reached its peak and housed various Japanese inns among other buildings.

After World War II passed and Japan handed over Taiwan, the mines closed and the village’s population dwindled.

In 1989, a Taiwanese film A City of Sadness attracted international attention. This attention transformed the isolated village into a tourist hotspot.

Where Do I Stay In Jiufen? #

Most shops close around 7 PM, so you won’t have many benefits from staying the night in Jiufen Old Street.

If you would still like to stay here, they offer plenty of accommodation options.

If you prefer a B&B, expect to pay between $45–85 per night.

The Old Street has plenty of nearby hostels that’ll range between $25 and $50.

Otherwise, you will find homestays—what I’d recommend—guesthouses, and hotels.

7 Things To Do in Jiufen Old Street #

Plan your day trip to Jiufen Old Street by exploring some of the various things you can do.

As you read this section, I’ll cover details about each place including hours, prices, and other recommendations.

1. Venture Through the Alleys

Once you get off the bus, you’ll see a 7-Eleven sitting next to the entrance to Old Street, or Jishan Street (基山街).

You’ll first see a souvenir shop and a couple food places. I recommend holding off until you’ve discovered more of the branched streets and staircases.

As you venture through this alley labyrinth, explore the various shops, abandoned buildings, and viewpoints that overlook the Yin and Yang Sea.

Don’t forget to take plenty of pictures, relax at tea houses, and try various foods, which I’ll cover in a second.

If you were to move at a snail’s pace, it’ll take you a couple hours to explore Jishan Street.

Otherwise, it’ll take you around half an hour to make your way toward the village’s peak and back to the entrance.

2. Try Jiufen’s Various Foods

The number one thing I love about Jiufen Old Street, other than its magical scenery, is the food.

First off, they have my favorite food, one of Jiufen’s famous foods, the Shaved Peanut ice Cream Burrito.

peanut ice cream roll stall, Jiufen, Ruifang District, New Taipei City, Taiwan
Place where I got my ice cream burrito. They also have taro ball soup.

To make this burrito, the staff will first have a crepe on a stainless steel surface and coat it with peanut brittle shavings.

Then, they’ll sprinkle cilantro on top.

And afterward, they’ll throw on a couple scoops of ice cream.

Taiwanese Ice cream burrito Jiufen, Ruifang District, New Taipei City, Taiwan

Despite Taiwan’s high humidity and temperatures, the burrito’s ice cream doesn’t melt fast. From what I’ve found I believe it’s because the sheet they use to make the burrito is also cold.

Moreover, it isn’t as creamy or sweet as American ice cream.

Speaking of, they have taro, chocolate, and peanut butter-flavored ice cream.

These rolls cost NT$40 each and you can find the stand I visited less than a minute from Jiufen Street’s entrance.

Otherwise, I recommend trying these foods while you’re here:

  • Taro Ball Soup: steamed or icy taro and sweet potato balls mixed with mung- and kidney beans—great for a hot day
  • Braised Pork Rice at Lu Rou Fan
  • Hakka Glutinous Rice Cake at Ah Lan: savory rice cakes stuffed with pork, mushrooms, and other fillings that are well-known among the Hakka people
Ah Lan Hakka Glutinous Rice Cake, Jiufen, Ruifang District, New Taipei City, Taiwan
Ah Lan’s Hakka Glutinous Rice Cake

About Ah Lan’s Hakka cakes, despite the long lines, they’ll move fast. Once it’s your turn, you’ll move up to the staff, tell them what you want and how many, and afterward, they’ll send you to the cashier to pick up a receipt.

3. Amei Teahouse

Everyone says to visit Amei Teahouse (阿妹茶樓), but there’s a good reason.

It’s Jiufen Old Street’s most iconic building—the one everyone thinks inspired Spirited Away.

But it’s one of the village’s most maintained places and has become a destination that’s always filled with people.

Thus, I recommend pre-ordering a tea set at least a day in advance.

If you come early on a weekday, you may find a walk-in seat.

If you want a tea set, which will allow you to sit on the top floor, you’ll need to choose between iced or hot tea. Moreover, Amei will group several trips with your tea:

  • Green bean cake
  • Sweet plums
  • Sesame crackers
  • Brown sugar mochi

The waiter will show you how to set up your tea and pour it. Don’t worry, they speak fluent English.

Otherwise, you can get desserts or cocktails if you want a sub-par view.

Hours:

  • 11 AM–9 PM (weekdays)
  • 8:30 AM–12 AM (Friday and Saturday)

4. Shop for Souvenirs

You’ll find awesome Taiwanese souvenirs here.

Various vendors hawk Spirited Away merchandise, but you can find that anywhere.

I recommend getting handcrafted goods, Taiwanese tea, pottery, candies, and Jiufen-themed souvenirs.

5. Skyline Tea House or Its Counterparts: Don’t Just Stick To Amei

If you can’t get a spot at Amei, or want to explore the village’s other teas, I recommend trying the other various tea houses.

Next to Amei, you’ll find the Taiwan Sweet Potato Teahouse (芋仔蕃薯茶坊) You have to pass through a rock tunnel to reach it. Once you arrive, you’re more likely to find walk-in seating.

Taiwan Sweet Potato Teahouse, Jiufen, Ruifang District, New Taipei City, Taiwan

If you don’t care for having a breathtaking view, Jiufen Teahouse (九份茶坊) is your best choice. You’ll need to pay an NTD$100 water fee and NT$600–1200 ($21–42) for the tea, but you have various local options to choose from.

There are also these tea houses:

  • Tree Grove (樹窟奇木樓): a rustic-looking tea shop
  • Skyline Tea House (海悅樓觀景茶坊): another teahouse adjacent to Amei
  • Shan Cheng Creation House (九份山城逸境民宿): you’ll find that the first couple floors are pottery for sale and the third has a tea room

6. Catch a Movie at Shengping Theater

The Shengping Theater (昇平戲院), originally the Shenping Stage, came to life in 1916, collapsed in 1927, and was rebuilt in 1934.

Now it still stands as a free-to-enter theater that often plays old Taiwanese films.

As you explore the theater, you’ll find preserved movie posters, memorabilia, a concession stand, and an ancient projector.

It also has air conditioning, so it’s a great place to go if you want to escape the heat and explore Jiufen’s former social center.

7. Rent a Qipao for the Day

A qipao (​​旗袍), or cheongsam in Cantonese, is a one-piece traditional Chinese dress that Manchu women wore. Later on, it became popular among China’s upper class.

You can rent one of these traditional dresses at various shops throughout Jiufen Old Street. I recommend ordering your one-piece in advance.

These dresses make for the perfect attire to wear while walking through Jishan Street, sitting at tea houses, and other photo opportunities.

Will locals care if you wear a qipao?

No—otherwise, they wouldn’t rent them out to tourists.

What To Do Jinguashi #

Jiufen, Ruifang District, New Taipei City, Taiwan
Distant Jinguashi and Yin and Yang Sea

Once you’re done with everything at Jiufen Old Street, check out Jinguashi.

Jinguashi—formerly Kinkaseki under Japanese rule—is a nearby town in Ruifang District.

During Japan’s Taiwan occupation between 1942 and 1945, Kinkaseki was a prisoner of war camp (POW), which accounted for most of the POW deaths during World War II.

Imperial Japan used Jinguashi’s gold mines to produce a good portion of their gold, copper, and some silver.

Once the war ended, and the prisoners were freed, the Taiwanese government preserved this area to educate locals and tourists.

Some places that you’ll find in this area that you should check out include:

  • Golden waterfall: a waterfall laden with mineral remnants from mines, which means that you won’t want to touch the water
  • Shinto Temple: one of few Japanese Shinto shrines where Japanese workers used to visit to pray to the Mountain God
  • Yin and Yang Sea: blue- and yellow-colored bay with various pretty rock formations
  • Gold Museum: explore mining tunnels and other relics from when this was a functional mine

FAQ: Jiufen Old Street

You likely have questions that you can’t get out of your mind about Jiufen. Explore these commonly asked questions about New Taipei’s magical village.

Is Spirited Away Inspired by Jiufen Old Street?

In an interview with Spirited Away’s creator, Hayao Miyazaki, he states that Taiwan’s Jiufen was not the inspiration for the animated film. Even though the film’s scenery depicts the area’s narrow alleyways, Amei Teahouse, and various red lanterns, Miyazaki says that Spirited Away was manifested from his imagination.

Head to Jiufen ASAP

While you’re in Northern Taiwan, explore Jiufen Old Street and afterward Jinguashi. It’s the perfect day trip to experience Taiwanese culture, get plenty of exercise, and try plenty of new foods.

person standing on top of Taipei 101 tower in Taiwan City, Taiwan

About Tee

Tee began first experienced the wonders of traveling when visiting Vietnam. Afterward, he went crazy and ventured to at least… More about Tee