Jiufen is a well-known tourist attraction in Taiwan. Many Japanese tourists especially have flocked to this location after rumors circulated that it was the inspiration behind the hit animated film Spirited Away. Even though those rumors now appear to have been mistaken the place still draws visitors with its colorful lights and rolling hills.

While it’s largely agreed that Jiufen is beautiful, our reporter Kuzo had his sights on another destination. A place largely obscured by the bright lights of Jiufen but equally beautiful. He was on his way to the old gold mining town of Jinguashi.

Kuzo rode the express train from Taipei Station to Ruifang Station which took about 45 minutes, and from there he took a bus to Jinguashi. Since most Japanese tourists were only interested in going to Jiufen, our reporter found himself surrounded largely by Chinese and Taiwanese sightseers.

Jinguashi was once a thriving gold mining town with a lot of history – not all of it good. For a period during World War II, Jinguashi (Kinkaseki in Japanese) was used as a POW labor camp and captured soldiers were used as miners. Now, all that remain of that time are some buildings with Japanese architecture.

The sights in Jinguashi seemed to blur together to Kuzo – the buildings looked almost like they organically sprung up from the mountain. The overall effect was a tranquil flowing sensation that took over him as well and seemed to know no end.

This was all great, but Kuzo’s mission – as always – is food. There was an eatery in Jinguashi that serves up a faithful recreation of a miners’ lunch box. During his walk, Kuzo found the Golden Impression Café & Restaurant deep in the town and ordered one for himself.

The metal container was packed with some meat, rice, and vegetables. It was everything a growing boy like Kuzo needed but what made this lunch truly great was the soup that had soaked deep into the rice. It tasted exquisite, and that was not a word our man was expecting to use for something miners regularly dined on!

With every last morsel demonlished, it was time to head back. Kuzo was glad that he made the detour from the typical Japanese tourists’ path but thought that the best option would be to find a place to stay in Jiufen and then make a day trip to Jinguashi. This mining town is quaint but if you rush through, you won’t get the proper feel of it. Day trips were also available straight from Taipei. Anyway you do it, take the time to linger in Jinguashi and it will linger with you.

Name: Jinguashi / Jinguashi Mine
Access: Taipei Station to Ruifang Station – Taxi or Bus to Jinguashi

Original Story by Kuzo

Took the train from Taipei to Ruifang Station.

The station is just a little busy but very pleasant.

There are a lot of buses available from the station.

Arriving in Jinguashi the air was fresh and the scenery was beautiful!

It’s hard not to feel good with these views…

It’s packed to resemble a miner’s lunch back in the day.

▼ Ta da~

[ Read in Japanese ]