Jiufen Old Street: A Day Trip from Taipei for Real-life Miyazaki Experience

comments 16

One of the items I really wanted to check off from Taipei is visiting Jiufen. Jiufen is a small village in the mountains located 1-hour drive from Taipei. It has been made famous largely due to its similarity to the village in Spirited Away, arguably Hayao Miyazaki’s most popular movie.

Jiufen Old Street - Teahouse
The Famous A-Mei Teahouse at Jiufen Old Street

Is Jiufen the town that inspired Spirited Away anime?

Many sources have claimed Jiufen is the village that inspired Spirited Away, but it was never actually confirmed whether it indeed has a connection to the movie. In fact, Miyazaki has flat-out denied it, saying the village was inspired by many different places.

But for fans of the highly popular anime, the red lanterns all over Jiufen will still be a very familiar sight. I still think it’s a worthwhile visit whether you’re a fan of the movie or not. I have always been a huge fan of Miyazaki, so during my Taiwanese food marathon, I had to take a break and make my way to Jiufen!

(If you haven’t seen the movie – what are you waiting for? do yourself a favor and watch it now!)

How long should I spend in Jiufen?

Jiufen is very doable as a day trip from Taipei. You only need to set aside about 6-8 hours to enjoy and explore Jiufen.

Staying overnight is optional, though it could be a good option if you’re looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of Taipei!

Where to stay in Jiufen

The benefit of staying overnight in Jiufen is that you’ll be able to enjoy it to yourself in the morning or at night when most of the day trippers have left. Here are a few places you can consider:

How to get to Jiufen from Taipei

From Taipei, Jiufen can be easily reached by a multitude of options: public transport, shuttle bus, or taxi.

1. By Taxi

Taking a taxi from Taipei to Juifen will cost you about TWD 1,200-1,400 (US$38-45) and the ride will take less than an hour. I think if you are traveling in a group of 4 people, this is the best option. The cost per person is not that much more compared to the bus and it gets you there faster.

Just make sure your driver actually knows where they are going – we got taken to Keelung instead. However, our driver was very nice about it and drove us to the right place without charging extra. Show this place on google map and make sure to highlight these characters: 九份老街 which means Jiufen Old Street.

2. By Private Car Charter

Booking a Private Car is probably the best and most cost-effective way to go if you are traveling in a group and want to have a driver who can wait for you and your group for the entire day.

  • Book a straightforward charter from Taipei to Jiufen – Book a Private charter here.
  • If you have a few other spots you want to go to aside from Jiufen, you can book this sightseeing car for 8 hours! You can also ask them to stop at any locations along the way and they have suggested itineraries you can follow too! – Book a Sightseeing Car here

3. By Train and Bus

Taking public transportation will take 1.5 hours and cost TWD 113. Take the MRT blue line to Zhongxiao Fuxing Station Exit 2, then take bus 1062 to Jiufen Old Street Station. Check the bus 1062 timetable here and note the last departure, usually at 18:40.

4. By Shuttle Bus and Tours (includes other places too)

Alternatively, you can book a shuttle bus tour which will take you to other places in Taiwan too – such as Shifen waterfall and Shifen Old Street.

If you are keen on visiting Yehliu, you can consider this tour: Yehliu, Jiufen, and Shifen Day Tour (click this link to book). These are both great options to save time if you want to see more outside of Taipei. Jiufen Old Street itself is quite small and can be explored in under 2 hours, so definitely check out other places too if you have the time!

How to get back to Taipei from Jiufen

Going back to Taipei from Jiufen is really easy since it’s a popular tourist place. You can pretty much take the same route as I’ve described above in reverse. If you want to take a taxi back, fret not – there will be plenty of taxis waiting to take you back to Taipei.

If you are planning to take the bus though, make sure to check the bus 1062 timetable here and note the last departure time so you are not stranded in Jiufen.

Jiufen Old Street Alley
Jiufen Old Street Alley

What to do in Jiufen Old Street

Alright, now that you know the basics about Jiufen, here is what you can do when you finally get here!

1. Walk along the Jiufen Old Street

The Jiufen Old Street is a narrow alleyway lined up with small food stalls, tea houses, souvenir shops, and pottery stores.

I am not going to lie, if you expect an idyllic calm experience you won’t find it in Jiufen. This alley will be jam-packed with people since it’s the main thing to do in Jiufen. But just go with the flow and explore any shops that catch your eye!

Jiufen Old Street
Random dog at Jiufen Alley

2. Visit the famous A-Mei Lantern Tea House

This is the spot you’ve all been waiting for – the richly decorated tea house of Jiufen. The most picturesque one that you see in all photos depicting Jiufen is the A-Mei Teahouse.

Jiufen Old Street Teahouse
The Famous A-Mei Teahouse at Jiufen Old Street

This multi-story teahouse is strategically located just a little off the main street, perched on top of a hill. From their balcony, you can admire the picturesque view in front of you, Keelung Mountain to the right, and the Northern shores of Taiwan on the left.

Jiufen Old Street
The narrow and steep stairs in front of the famous tea house

But if you don’t care to have tea there, skip to my next point!

3. Visit a Tea House and chill out there for awhile

Although the most photographed teahouse is A-Mei Teahouse, we opted to chill out at a quieter teahouse since I didn’t make a reservation.

We went to a place (with a very original name) called Jiufen Teahouse. It was right off the main alley and doesn’t look much from the front, but once you get in, you’ll see that it’s very beautiful and it has a nice open balcony in the back.

Happy to say we were one of the few patrons there. We were seated outside on the balcony, so we were able to enjoy the view with our tea. Although it was probably not as good as the view from A-Mei, I still enjoyed my time there very much.

4. Eat all the good local food and snacks

What’s a trip to Taiwan without trying local food? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. Here are some dishes you can try in Jiufen:

Food at Jiufen Old Street
Food at Jiufen Old Street
Lu Rong Fan and Fishball Noodles

Braised Pork Rice (Lu Rou Fan) is a very simple but comforting dish, consisting of small cubes of braised pork marinated in thick, dark gravy sauce, served over piping hot steamed rice.

Learn more about Lu Rou Fan in my Taiwanese food post!

Taro Ball at Jiufen Old Street
Taro Ball at Jiufen Old Street
Taro Ball at Jiufen Old Street

Taro Ball Soup is one of the most famous snacks in Jiufen. The taro balls are famous because they have the perfect chewy texture – not too soft and not too hard. You can have it steamed hot or served cold over ice with kidney beans. By the way, this is actually dessert – it’s very common in Asian countries to have beans as part of sweet dishes.

Jiufen Old Street - Peanut Ice Cream
Peanut Ice Cream

A-zhu Peanut Ice Cream is yet another item you must have in Jiufen. Located on the main old street, you won’t miss it since there would already be a queue forming along this small stall. It is a thin crepe-like layer filled with ground peanuts and balanced with two scoops of ice cream. Super delicious! I loved the contrast between the wet ice cream texture and the dry ground peanuts.

Want to know more about food in Taipei? Check out my 10 Must Eat Food in Taipei – a one-stop guide for all the good food in Taipei, including a guide to the night markets!

5. Learn about Jiufen as a Gold mining town

Before finding its status as a tourist attraction, Jiufen was a gold mining town back in the World War days. Keep your eyes peeled for the mining tunnels, remnants of the mining days. One of them is located right next to A-Mei Teahouse and serves as a quaint entrance to Taiwan Sweet Potato Teahouse.

If you are interested in learning more about Jiufen’s history as a mining town, definitely visit the Jiufen Gold Ore Museum.

Jiufen Old Street

6. Hike up Mount Teapot

This is a very popular hiking trail close to Jiufen. If you want to do this hike, you’ll want to be dropped off at Quanji Temple. Bus 1062 which I talked about will take you from Taipei to both Jiufen and Quanji Temple, which is the last stop for the bus.

Check out other places outside of Taipei

As I have mentioned above, Jiufen Old Street itself is quite small and can be explored in under 3 hours, so it’s worth researching what other places you want to visit. Here are a few destinations you can consider lumping together with Jiufen!

Keelung Food Market – This is one of the most famous night markets in Taipei. It’s located about a 15-minute drive away from Jiufen, so if you’re already in the area and you love food – definitely make a stop here. You probably want to go in the late afternoon or at night time, since that’s usually when the food markets in Taiwan start to come alive.

Shifen Waterfall – This waterfall is one of the most scenic waterfalls in Taiwan. Aside from the waterfall, you can also visit Shifen Old Street nearby.

If you want to visit Shifen and Keelung in addition to Jiufen, you might be interested in this shuttle bus tour: Shifen, Jiufen and Keelung Bus

Yehliu Geopark – This nature park is located on the northern coast of Taiwan. It is known for its unique geological formations. If you like nature, this is definitely a place to visit.

You can book the Yehliu Geopark, Shifen, and Jiufen Shuttle Bus for easier transport.

The Verdict: Was Jiufen Old Street worth a visit?

Jiufen is hardly a “secret” spot. I have to agree that the small village is extremely touristy and crowded. When I visited, the narrow alleyway was packed with people, as you can see in my photos above. Jiufen is also a really small area, so you’d likely be done with it after a few hours.

But personally, I think it’s still worth a visit! Jiufen is a charming place and there are other places you can explore aside from the old street. We were able to get away from the tourist area and explored alleys with practically no one else in it.

Jiufen Old Street

So manage your expectations and don’t think you will be able to take photos with no one else around at such a popular place. And, keep an open mind! You never know what you’ll come across. If you really want to see the village without anyone else, then you’re better off staying overnight and exploring it in the morning.

Plus, it’s only an hour away from Taipei, so it’s not super hard to get to!

Need this for later? Click below to Pin it!

Jiufen Old Street
Links in this post may generate small commissions that keep this website running for free, at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support.
Filed under: Taiwan

Written by Melissa

Hi there! 👋🏻 I'm the "Girl" in Girl Eat World. I love eating, traveling and sharing my travel experiences in this blog. During the day, I work as a designer in tech. More about me →


  1. Emma says

    This post was so helpful to get started on a visit to Jiufen. Thank you for the detail and options! Thank you for your work!!

    Note, I found the 1026 bus stop is now best accessed from Exit 2 of MRT Zhongxiao Fuxing Station.

  2. Jiufen is like visiting the past but with a mixture of the new era! Even the old wood mixed with the new woods as part of the furnitures and the carpentry work of the inns and shops make it a continuing history! Safety, security, cleanliness , sanitation and reasonable pricing of everything makes our vacation a wonderful and worth reminiscing!

  3. Thank you for sharing this idea. It’s very informative. Im planning that I will be there in Jiufen soon to explore it as well.

  4. Jherson Jaya says

    Thank you for this! In your observation, where there tour options in Jiufen Town? I checked Klook and it seems that our date of travel is fully booked.

  5. Mei Juan says

    Wait, does it really cost $1200-$1400? Thats like $50++ in SGD! So expensive?
    Nice photo by the way!

    • Melissa Hie says

      yeah, but it’s also proportionate to the fare in the city. i don’t think they’re trying to scam or anything!

  6. Esperanza Gattoc says

    Hi Melissa,
    We are planning to go to Nov. What and where do we get the bus tour to Yehleu, juvien, shifien? How much will it cost? We are 6.also do the taxi agree if we rent them for a day? Thanks espie

  7. Chris says

    Hi Melissa,
    Great post !! I have questions about Jiufen. Is it much better to visit at night? I saw many beautiful pictures of the Tea house & city at night. If yes, what time the stores / shops closed? What about transportation back to Taipei at night?

    Thank you

    • Melissa Hie says

      Hey Chris, if you want to see it at night I recommend getting there maybe by around 5 PM so that you can be there by sunset and stay til after dark. I am not sure when the shops close. For transportation, you can see the bus link I provided above, but I think taxis should still be available.

  8. Nyasha says

    I already want to go back there as I went there last summer with my two friends and had such a great time! There was more food (the pork rice I tried in Taipei but I wanted to try it in Jiufen too) and places that I wanted to visit more. I didn’t even know there was a museum there and I need to go to the teahouse next time! Thanks for a great post Melissa!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *