Taking in the Distinctive Charms of Chiayi, Taiwan


Made prosperous because of its role as the starting point of the Alishan Forest Railway, Chiayi City is one of the oldest cities in Taiwan and, as such, has quite a few historic sites and time-honored shops that offer much of interest to tourists. Below, we take you down the lanes and alleys of Chiayi in search of its distinctive local culture and stores with an old-time feel, experiencing the historical and cultural charms of this city at the foot of the Alishan Mountain Range.

Chiayi Cultural and Creative Industries Park

This complex, at the site of a distillery established by the Japanese in 1916, is the oldest of five heritage distilleries that have been transformed into cultural-creative industry parks in Taiwan. The factory equipment has been preserved more completely here than at any of the other complexes. Notably, this was the first facility on the island to produce sorghum liquor. The park’s Traditional Arts Innovation Center was established in 2016; traditional-crafts experts, visual artists, and performing-arts exponents have set up shop in the center, developing an aesthetic space with distinctive local character.