Think You Know Chiayi? Check Out These Fun Facts!
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How much do you know about Chiayi? Let's get to know Chiayi with the city's historical and geographic background along with some fun facts!

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Since the High Speed Rail was put into operation, traveling around Taiwan is no longer difficult. It's easy to pack a bag and leave with an HSR ticket on the weekend for a casual mini-trip. Chiayi City has seen an emergence of cultural colors ever since the southern branch of the National Palace Museum opened up, and people have been talking about the glass ring church the city is planning to build following the popular glass high-heel church. Though tourist attractions like these have been criticized, they still attract large crowds taking photos. But did you know that Chiayi actually houses many international-level attractions that draw in groups of foreign tourists each year?

How much do you know about Chiayi? Let's get to know Chiayi with the city's historical and geographic background along with some fun facts!

What does Chiayi's old name, "Zhu Luoshan (諸羅山) ," mean? And why is the city also called "Tao City (桃城)?"
There are two sayings of the name, "Zhu Luoshan"; one being Chiayi being surrounded by mountains, leading to the name "zhu luo." The other being the pingpu tribe that used to live in the area were called something that sounded close to "zhu luo," so the Han people used the name for the region as well. The name "Tao City" comes from the shape of the old city, which is like a peach (Tao means peach in Chinese). Isn't that interesting?

Photo Credit: JenniferCC BY-ND 2.0

Do you know what Koji Pottery is? The only Koji Pottery museum in Taiwan is in Chiayi!
The development of Koji Pottery in Taiwan started from King Yeh of the late Qing dynasty and the Koji Pottery master Lin Tien-mu. Both were from Chiayi, and most of the Koji Pottery artifacts come from the area, so Chiayi is called the home of Koji Pottery. Koji Pottery comes from the Chinese green glaze, from the early single-colored, three-colored and five-colored to the multi-colored of today. Locals usually call Koji Pottery, “jiaozhi (交趾)”, “jiaozhi wang-a (交趾尪仔)”, “jiaozhi-a (交趾仔)”, because of its bold and warm colors that were usually used on temple decorations. But its artistic performance has surpassed that of decorative art and inspirations are drawn from literature, paintings, folklore and even religion, building its strong cultural heritage. Chiayi City even holds a Koji Pottery Arts Festival in hopes that all industries can realize the importance of cultural assets, and the city also established the only Koji Pottery museum in Taiwan.

Did you know that a station of the Alishan Forest Railway is completely made of red cedar?

Photo Credit: Joe LoCC BY-SA 2.0

The large need of forest service management, railway machinery maintenance and so on also brought prosperity to Chiayi. The Forest Railway is now used for tourism purposes and the North Gate Yi has also been divided into a newer station in the north and the old station in the south. The train station is made out of red cedar and is very elegant classically. The northern station manages the passenger transport service while the southern is a memorial and tourist attraction.

Fenchihu (奮起湖) is not a lake?

Photo Credit: 加蛋不加價CC BY 2.0

Because Fenchihu is shaped like a dustpan, it is also named "Dustpan Lake." It was later changed to the homonym, "Fenchihu." Hu means lowland in Hokkien, so there isn't actually a lake in the area, but has rather developed attractions like the old street and train station. Fenchihu Train Station is the largest en route stop on the Alishan Forest Railway. Employees and passengers would often rest and have meals at the station in the early days, which accidentally created the Fenchihu railway bento culture. Tourists now can't miss out on the Fenchihu bento box, and the nostalgic old street of Fenchihu filled with local snacks has also become an attraction.

Photo Credit: 牛阿拗CC BY 2.0

While people think immediately about Fenchihu bento boxes when speaking about cuisine in the area, chicken rice is what comes to mind when it comes to food in Chiayi. Be sure to check out the snacks in the night market on Wenhua St., which is located in the heart of Chiayi and is only a 15-minute walk away from Chiayi Train Station. Snacks such as chicken rice, sausages, lotus seed soup, traditional tofu pudding and so on are bound to satisfy you and linger in your mouth for days.

Tourism has become an indispensable way to relax due to the hectic pace of modern life and is a brief escape from the everyday chaos. As the seasons change, the rainy spring days gradually pass by and the sun starts appearing more often along with the heat. Crowds flood Alishan every March and April for the area's cherry blossom season, and if you miss out on the flowers, you can also join in the firefly season from April to June. Take advantage of the warm weather and take a trip to Chiayi!

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