Real-life Spirited Away: Jiufen, Taiwan

Being a fan of Hayao Miyazaki – the magical worlds he portrays through his animation works, they always inspire me whenever I watch them. When I learnt that he drew inspirations for his animation works in his travels, I got excited and I wanted to visit the places of inspirations and experience them.

One of his greatest works (in my opinion) is ‘Spirited Away’ and Jiufen is the place of inspiration that he chanced upon in his travels. So, I decided that I have to visit Jiufen since I was in Taiwan.

Jiufen, a small town by the mountain side, is about one hour bus ride away from Taipei. It is a small beautiful place and enjoy the magical charm this small little town could provide. It is pretty close to Shifen if you are keen on exploring the area.

View of Jiufen from the viewpoint
View of Jiufen town from the old street viewpoint
Staircases with red lanterns
Red lanterns are one unique sight in Jiufen
Juifen Grand Tea House - the main inspiration for the movie's bath house
Jiufen Grand Tea House – the main inspiration for the movie’s bath house

Staircases with red lanterns
Beautiful alley with red lanterns

House with over-grown vegetations on the wall
House with green vegetation

Doraemon shopkeeper
Doraemon shopkeeper

As with Taiwan’s culture, the street food there in Jiufen is fantastic. Most of my time there was spent going through the food stalls on the old street and trying out one by one. I have to say Jiufen is a major highlight for my Taiwan trip and my only regret is not staying overnight. There are a lot of places to explore nearby and I could imagine that the landscape will look dramatically better in the evening blue hour or sun rise hour. One place that I would definitely visit again if I go to Taiwan.

Juifen old street food market
Juifen old street food market

Street of Jiufen
Street of Jiufen

Entrance into teahouse
Tea House from Spirited Away
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