Wanhua 萬華

Ximending

If you have ever been to Japan or seen Japanese dramas, you will find that Ximending resembles shopping streets in Japan. Ximending is located in the Wanhua district of Taipei and became developed when the Japanese colonized Taiwan, hence its resemblance. Tourists may become attracted by the sights and sounds on the streets and fail to notice that this place fuses modernity and tradition.

Ximending

Modernity

The modern aspects of Ximending are quite evident and thus attracts youth to the area. There are rows of shops, food sold at all price points, movie theatres and many hair salons to fulfill the entertainment and aesthetic market. Yet just around the corner or hidden between clothing stores are pieces of history.

Ximending Map, click to enlarge

Tradition

Ximending’s Mazu Temple is situated between two modern store fronts and without the bright lights at night, a tourist may walk past unaware of such tradition in the stereotypically modern Ximending. So put down those shopping bags for awhile and step in under the temple arch.


Mazu Temple

Location: No. 51, Chengdu Rd., Wanhua District, Taipei 108
Telephone: 02-2331-0421
Hours: Daily from 6:00am to 11:00pm 

Transportation
MRT Station
Ximen Station (Exit 6)

Bus
18, 221, 232, 235, 257, 513, 621, 635 (Shuttle), 635, 637, 640, 659, 835, Blue2 bus to MRT Ximen Station 2.

Parking is available at Emei Parking Garage

Mazu Temple
This is the most famous temple in Ximending (西門町). Unlike other temples such as Longshan Temple (龍山寺), the temple is part of the row of shop houses along Chengdu Road. While this temple may look small and narrow from outside, it is actually pretty well equipped inside. Built in 1746, the construction of the temple was made possible due to donations from merchants from Zhangzhou and Quanzhou in Fujian, China. The principle deity in the temple is Mazu Godness (媽祖), while other deities includes Hongfa Dashi; the only temple in Taiwan that prays to this deity. 

Mazu Godness, Goddess of the Sea, is believed to provide protection to fishermen and sailors. Since Wanhua used to be a busy port along the Tamsui River with people coming and leaving by boat, the goddess is widely prayed to by Wanhua residents since the Qing dynasty. On Mazu’s birthday, the 23rd day of third lunar month of the Chinese calendar, a spectacular and lively ceremony is conducted in celebration of the goddess birthday. Before her birthday incense is burnt to bring her spirit back then during the ceremony there are sacrifice activities to honor Mazu.  

The Red House

Another location that is famous in Ximending and not hidden like the Mazu temple is the Red House. Read more on the Red House from this article. Behind the Red House is a large infusion of modernity with rows of bars and entertainment.

The Red House

Presidential Office Building

Although Ximending is most lively in the evening, if you happen to be in the area earlier in the day then seize the opportunity to learn more about Taipei city at the Presidential Office Building. From Exit 3 of the Ximen MRT Station, it takes less than a 7 minute walk straight until you see the building. The Presidential Office Building is open for viewing before 11:30am on weekdays and on the first Saturday of each month is open from 8am to 4pm. Be sure to wear proper shoes and appropriate attire because people wearing flip flops and sleeveless shirts are not allowed entry.

Presidential Office Building

0 comments: