Wednesday, 20 May 2015


Ximending is one of the older areas of Taipei. Ximen means west gate, and originally Ximending lay just outside the west gate of the city, an entertainment zone during the era of Japanese rule. The Red House Theatre, built in 1908, is one of the few buildings surviving from that time, and one of the few old buildings remaining in Taipei.
Ximending Mazu Temple is another building that has survived since Japanese rule. Mazu is a goddess who protects seafarers, and she is one of the most popular deities in Taiwan.

Nowadays, Ximending is where teenagers and twentysomethings hang out in the evenings and at weekends, shopping in the boutiques, eating in the cafes, going to the cinema and generally enjoying themselves. It's a subculture and Japanese culture hub and one of the most important consumer districts in Taipei.

We went to Ximending recently because there is a shop called Shooting Stars, where you can shoot pellet guns (BB guns?) at targets. My son loves this kind of thing -- especially when they have zombies.
The shop is at No. 124, Wuchang St Section 2, which is one of the several pedestrianised streets in Ximending.

If you're looking for somewhere quiet and peaceful, an escape from the crowds and noise, Ximending is not the place for you. But in the right frame of mind, I enjoy its pace and buzz.

And, as is often the case in Taipei, there is always something bizarre going on.

Ximending's pedestrianised area was the first in Taipei and is the largest in Taiwan, and the pubs and clubs ensure it's busy until the early hours of the morning. The best time to visit to avoid the crowds is before lunch, while typical Ximendingites are still sleeping off their hangovers.

We got to Ximending on the blue MRT line, alighting at Ximen Station. Plenty of buses also pass through. The next time I feel in need of full immersion in Taiwanese youth culture, I'll be back for another fix.