June 19, 2010

Gold Ecological Park


Next to Jiufen, Jinguashi was a gold mining town during the Japanese Colonial Era. The Japanese carefully designed the space and landscape. It was very comprehensive with a bus station, a hospital, a post office, a police station and miners’ lodgings. All these have been preserved very well and integrated with nature, cultural resources, mining ruins, and living spaces, forming a "Gold Ecological Park".


After entering the park, you can see the Japanese style residence which is the connected four unit Japanese style residence is one of the unique architectures preserved in Taiwan and it is very precious. Although these four residential units are connected, they all have their own living room, kitchen and bathroom. They were the executive supervisors’ residences. All these building have been remodeled based on the original look. Now these houses are the "Living Art Experience Workshop", as the space to illustrate the experience of living aesthetics.


“Crown Prince Chalet” was a temporary house that was built for Japanese Prince at the time when he visited Jinguashi. The building was built with the finest cypress wood. It was modeled based on the Japanese Imperial Palace’s spatial configuration and pattern design. It has a gorgeous courtyard with flower ponds and filled with trees. The courtyard is opened to public with self-explainable plates on side for the visitors to enjoy the elegant look of the Japanese architecture design.


The building in the photo is the restaurant inside the park. Below is the outdoor dining area. It is an awesome feeling when having a meal in this environment!


This beautiful steel glass building, "Museum of Gold" was renovated from a former Office of Taiwan Metal Mining Company. It exhibits the equipments of the mining, related items and coal mining transport system. The exhibition on the second floor has the gold art. It has the world largest gold brick that was made with 99% pure gold. It has broken the Guinness Book of World Records. Visitors can touch and feel the gold!


"Benshan Fifth Tunnel” is the most well preserved pit in Jinguashi. The tunnel is open to the visitor to see and feel the mining work in the past.


The safety helmet is required for each visitor in order to enter the pit. This is a safety rule that visitor needs to comply upon entering a real pit, not a game for fooling around with.


After receiving a helmet and an ID card, visitors can walk along the old rail to enter the pit. It is cool with high humidity and wet walls and floors, and without the lighting equipment, we could see nothing! Now I could feel how tough the work was like in this environment.


There are lifelike wax figures inside the tunnel simulated miners’ work in the past. It also has voice guided tour. Through the conversation from with an older miner to with a younger miner, I understood how the blasting, cleaning wasted rock, collecting, and excavation were done.


Miners work in the dark tunnel for an entire day except break and bathroom time. It was already dark outside when they finished their work. That was a tough work without seeing light the whole day.


After the whole day’s work, miners also needed to be body inspected to see if they had stolen any gold. After the tour of the “Benshan Fifth Tunnel”, visitors definitely could feel how hard the miners’ job was like and learned the process of excavation.


After visiting the pit, along the stone steps you would be taken to the “Golden Shrine” on the slope. “Golden Shrine” was built by Japanese Gold Mining Co. Ltd after it took over the Jinguashi mine. It was the center of the Japanese spiritual center to pray for the abundant gold excavation. Following the stone steps to go up and under the guidance of the stone lanterns will take you to the main hall.


During Japanese Colonial Era, lots of shrines were built. They were built to promote assimilation under the Japanese authority. When Japanese withdrew after the retrocession of Taiwan, the shrine was severely damaged and only the foundation, columns, and four stone lamps can be seen now. Although the main body of the shrine has gone, we can still imagine the momentum and scale of the shrine from the remains.



Located on the hillside, the Golden Shrine provides a great view over the Keelung Mountain, Chahu Mountain, and the Jinguashi village and sea. Enjoying the scenery with a nice breeze is quite comfortable.

The Gold Ecological Park is quite large and offers lots of exhibitions. It also offers the Gold Rush activity during weekends and holidays. It is a good place for a one day trip. Read More


Rafael Lam said...

I've visited an similar old mine working in Blue Mountain in Australia,
but can't go so deeply like this Benshan Five Pits...
The japanese style garden of “Prince Hotel” is very beautiful too!

The Nomadic Pinoy said...

Contrary to the mines I've visited before (like in Potosi, Bolivia), this look quite well-maintained. Even the houses for the miners look so decent I could live there myself!

Anonymous said...



fufu said...

wow the garden of the hotel looks freaking nice :) hahaha if i have the chance visiting taiwan again.. i will spend at least 1mth to explore everything =p haha and well very japanese ya the place with the shrine... oh i miss japan ><

shloke said...

Is there any gold left for me to find in Jinguashi? I don't mind paying a small entrance fee :)

A Prince Hotel built for former Japanese emperor Hirohito??? + free gold brick hug??? + underground mining pit exploration??? That's AWESOME!

kristen and micki said...


@Nomadic Pinoy-The museum is maintained by the government. It cost a lot to preserve this cultural heritage. Indeed the houses look so decent. It would be awesome if I could live there too :)



@Mylo-It is said that Jinguashi still has a substantial gold underground. Ha! wanna try? If you need the equipment, there is a small Gold Rush activity inside the museum~~~

Zhu said...

Mining must have been a tough activity. How did it feel underground? I'm a bit claustrophobic, not sure I would have gone!

Does a lot of Japanese culture remain in Taiwan? It seems to me that Japan tried very hard to assimilate people at the time but again, it was for a relatively short period (all in all...) a long time ago.

Anonymous said...


kristen and micki said...

@Zhu- It was very dark and wet inside the pit. Even there are lights in the pit; visitors still need to walk carefully because it is slippery. If visitors do not prefer to enter the pit, the museum provides short film and photos of the pits.
Taiwan has been affected by Japan a lot. There are lots of Japanese heritages left. As the time goes by, certain cultures or customs might have come from Japan that our new generation may not aware of...


ah san said...

Hi! can you tell me the direction to travel to Gold Ecological Park?

kristen and micki said...

Hi, Ah San, here is the official website in English, and give you the information about the transportation. Hope this helps.


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