Jiu Fen Old Street 九份是台灣新北市瑞芳區的一個地區 served as Hayao Miyazaki’s beloved film Spirited Away. Jiu Fen is a mountain area with lush tropical forest in the Ruifang District of New Taipei City near Keelung. Dense mist, gloomy rain and humid climate lables this as the “City of Sadness” / “Saddest City” 悲情城市. Jiu Fen is a tourist attraction. I want to give you the general 411 on the following Jiu Fen Taiwan Guide – What you need to know, how to get around Jiu Fen Old Street and what to expect.
What is Jiu Fen called Nine Pieces? History has it in the Qing Dynasty, the village housed nine families. Supplies were sent and it would be divided into nine portions. It was later than colonized by the Japanese during World War II. Today, Jiu Fen is a famous tourist area full of traditional foods, desserts and knick knacks for shopping.
Jiu Fen Taiwan Guide | What You Need To Know
Now that you’ve arrived in Taiwan and found a nice place to stay. It is time to explore around Taipei, book a trip to the hot springs and perhaps some old traditions at Jiu Fen.
Getting to Jiu Fen Old Street 九份瑞芳區 is easy. There are a few options.
By Bus: From Taipei take Jiufen bus #1062 (bus company is Keelung Bus) from the Adventist Hospital bus stop on Bade Road. You can also take the same bus from Songshan station or Zhongxiao Fuxing MRT station Exit #1. The fare will cost you $102 NT and will take 1 hour.
By Train: Take the TRA Train 臺灣鐵路管理局 – Yilan Line (宜蘭線) towards RuiFang 瑞芳. Approx $90 NT each way. From New Taipei City it takes about 45 mins. It would be best to ask customer service to help you out instead of maneuvering the machine (there are too many options, and can be confusing. Make sure you take the express train which does not stop at every station. This will be fastest!
When you arrive at Jiu Fen, we suggest taking the taxi $210 NT (approx $7 CAD). This is the standard price – any more you are being ripped off. We do not suggest taking the bus. It is crowded and much more dangerous speeding and turning 180 degree sharp corners.
What To Wear
Sneakers: A good pair of walking shoes with good grip like these. The uneven pavement at Jiu Fen with mist and rain can make the streets very slippery. Heels and leather soles are not recommended. Runners or hiking boots are definitely encouraged if you are going hiking at Mount Jilong 基隆山 or Xiaojingua Peak 小金瓜露頭.
What To Eat
Everything! There are lots of street food and sweet treats.
Grandma Lai’s Yuyuan 賴阿婆芋圓: 143 Jishan St, Rueifang District, New Taipei City, Taiwan 224 新北市瑞芳區基山街143號
Grab a bowl of delicious taro balls in ginger dessert soup. Your choice in a variety of flavors, served hot or chilled. The texture is very chewy and bouncy. A hot bowl is very warming on a chilly day. $50 NTD.
Mochi: Not very far from Taro balls are mochi. Available in a variety of flavors like match, black sugar, chocolate, etc. The black sugar we tried was very sweet and sticky. The layer of powdered coco was too much and made everything quite messy.
Jinzhi’s Vegetarian Meat Ball with Red Vinasse 九份金枝紅糟素肉圓: 63 Jishan St, Rueifang District, New Taipei City, Taiwan 224 新北市瑞芳區基山街63號
One of the most prestigious shops in Jiu Fen and critically acclaimed in many travel books. The owner Xu originally made these meat ball with red fermented bean paste and glutinous paste for it’s children. Served with a starchy gravy, the texture is chewy, gooey, and incredibly delicious – party savory, part sweet.
Conch: Fresh conch being grilled. Each one was the size of my fist. But be very careful not to step too close to it. One exploded in our eye as we were deciding whether to get one or not. Thank goodness for glasses that day!
Bitter Melon Juice: Freshly pressed bittergourd with honey. Bittergourd is great to neutralize and reduce “heat” in the body. This is important when you overeat or eat much fried food. This drink is invigorating and refreshing! Not bitter as one would think! Plus it is rich in vitamins, aids digestion, purifies the blood.