The Jiji Wuchang Temple (aka 921 Earthquake Museum 九二一地震紀念館) in Jiji Township of Nantou County is a monument to the 921 earthquake that hit Taiwan in 1999, which killed thousands of people. The temple stood near the epicenter of the earthquake, and the first floor of the temple collapsed. Now a new temple has been built but the old one has been left untouched, a testament to the power of the 921 earthquake.
Wuchang Temple's beginnings can be traced back to1903 when a statue was built here to the God Xuan Wu (玄武), and was later built into a full temple in 1923. It was later expanded starting in 1990, and not long after the renovation was completed in 1999 the 921 earthquake hit, toppling it.
The 921 earthquake hit on September 21st, 1999 at 1:47 in the morning, shaking for 102 seconds, registering at 7.7 on the Richter scale. In total 2,415 people died, and 51,711 homes were destroyed. It was the worst natural disaster in Taiwan since WWII. The earthquake was also known as the Jiji earthquake, because its epicenter was inside Jiji township.
However, the God Xuan Wu's Statue inside the temple was not damaged. Other God's statues were also rescued from inside the temple. The beards of some of the Gods were said to have grown longer after the collapse, which added interest and donations for the construction of a new temple.
A new temple was rebuilt next to it with the same name, completed in 2013.
How to get there:
By Car/Scooter: From Mingjian, take provincial highway 16 east toward Jiji. Turn left on Bazhang Street in Jiji and you will see the temple on your left.
By Train: Take the Jiji train line from Yuanlin all the way to Jiji Station. The temple is about a 1KM walk northeast from the station.
Please see below:
I have been to Wuchang Temple once via train. From near the train station, we rented some scooters and they did not require any licenses. After that we went straight to the Wuchang Temple which is the main attraction in the town.
You can't walk inside the temple, you can only enjoy the sight from the outside. It seems they didn't try to salvage anything (except the god statues), and the temple looks unchanged from the day it was wrecked by the earthquake. You can see the broken pillars inside as well as toppled decorations. It might seem really amazing the temple fell down the way it did leaving the top floors intact, but actually that's how a lot of buildings in Taiwan collapsed during the earthquake, killing the most people on the first floors.
For a clearer view of this temple and much richer background, check out this blog by Spectral Codex.
Junshi Park (Military History Park) 軍史公園
Another attraction in Jiji is the Junshi Military History Park. Here you can see retired airplanes, cannons, rockets, and tanks.
Retired turret, probably from a ship.
Retired rocket and jet fighter.
Mingjian Leaning Power Line Tower 名間傾斜電綫塔
Another monument to the 921 earthquake is a leaning power line tower outside of Minjian. You can see it from Highway 3 as you pass by. It no longer has power lines connected to it, it just stands as a testament to the earthquake much like the Wuchang Temple.
We are US Expats that have extensive experience living and working in Taiwan. In our day, we had to learn many things about Taiwan the hard way. But we have come to learn that Taiwan is one of the best places in the world for Foreigners to live. Our blog does not represent the opinions of every foreigner in Taiwan. We are just trying to help others learn more about this beautiful country.