Way back in the day, this village tucked away up in the mountains of northern Taiwan with its insanely gorgeously view of the ocean began with nine families. The trek down the mountain to trade with larger towns was quite the journey, so whenever anyone made the trip, they would buy nine shares of everything, one for each of the nine families back at the village. And thus, the village got its name, Jiu Fen, which literally means “nine shares”.
On the plane ride over to Taiwan, I had read in the EVA airline magazine that Hayao Miyazaki had been inspired by Jiu Fen in the creation of his film Spirited Away, and some recent films and documentaries have made use of the site as a preserved “old Taiwanese town”.
It was a rainy day when we went on another one of our Taiwan Tour Bus private tours, but the place was packed. It’s become a popular tourist destination and a locals’ weekend getaway for people who want to experience a little bit of history and old village nostalgia.
Jiu Fen is known for tea shops with stunning views as well as old school Taiwanese food on the village’s oldest street that is a bustling mini-night market that runs all day long. The weather and the crowds along with our limited time there didn’t allow for us to enjoy a leisurely brewed tea to soak in the views, but we walked the old busy street and did get to try some of the delicious foods served old-school out of the food stalls.
Although we didn’t get a chance to enjoy an afternoon of tea and beautiful scenery, I did find a little gem of a tea shop deep in the main old road, about a 15-20 minute trek in. It had koi ponds, hanging plants, tea leaves, tea pots, and just about everything else tea that you could wish for. What I particularly loved about the place was the decor. The tea cups and pots were displayed as works of art, and I sure got some good decorating ideas for when I can have the luxury of designing my own private tea room.
I wish I could have settled in and enjoyed some of the tea service here, but it just gives me another place to enjoy again in my future trips to Taiwan.
Next up, some feline fun at the Houtong Cat Village.