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Beitou recaptures the tranquility of its glory days

imageBeitou means "shaman" in the language of the Ketagalan indigenous tribe. The Ketagalan are plains Aborigines (in contrast to most of Taiwan's recognized indigenous tribes that inhabit mountainous areas). The Ketagalan believed that this area was sacred, and could only be visited by shamans-those people that understood the ways of the supernatural world. Han Chinese arrived in Beitou during the Ching Dynasty in their search for sulfur. During the Japanese occupation period (1895-1945), Beitou was a flourishing hot springs resort area, and hot springs hotels sprouted up one after the other. Today, Beitou is capitalizing on its former success as a tranquil getaway and a place to bathe in hot springs amid elegant surroundings.

Beitou Hot Springs Museum

The Beitou Hot Springs Museum, part of the Xin Beitou Park, is located about a ten-minute walk from the Xin Beitou MRT station. It was originally the Beitou public hot springs bathhouse, constructed in 1913. The two-story museum building features a mix of Chinese and Western architecture, with an emphasis on the English country manor style. However, the bathhouse was built in the Greek style. The bathhouse is no longer in use, but visitors can view exhibits on Beitou's history, culture, hot springs, geology and architecture.

Secluded Temples

Puji Temple

Puji Temple was built during the Japanese occupation era, but in the Tang Dynasty style. It is located at the end of a stone path leading from Wenquan Road. According to historical records, it was built by local railway employees. The main hall is devoted to Buddha and to Guanyin, the Buddhist goddess of mercy. To the right of the temple is the Guanyin Pavilion, which houses a stone sculpture of the Buddhist goddess.

Fazang Temple

The Fazang Temple is also located on a hillside above Wenquan Road. This temple offers spectacular views of the mountains surrounding the Taipei Basin. The main hall of the temple features a large golden statue of Buddha sitting cross-legged.