Jingtong Old Street is the heart of the historic mining town of Jingtong, in Pingxi District of New Taipei City, which once had the largest mine in Taiwan. It has a long street with delicious food and souvenirs, sky lanterns, and many historical buildings nearby. As the last stop on the Pingxi Railway, you should definitely get off the train and check it out.
Jingtong Train Station was completed in 1929 as the last station on the Pingxi Railway Line.
The surrounding town and Jingtong Old Street were created soon after.
The town relied on local coal mines for its economy, but by the 1980s coal mining in Pingxi District had all but stopped due to safety issues and low worldwide coal prices.
There are a number of historical buildings in the area, including the Coal Life Museum, multiple coal mines, and the station itself, as well as numerous residences.
Currently there is an average of about 1,000 visitors per day to the station (making it the second busiest station on the railway) and the area has become a popular tourist destination.
How to get there:
By Train: Take the TRA to Ruifang Station, and then switch to the Pingxi Railway line. Get off at Jingtong Station, the last station on the line, and you're there!
By Car/Scooter: Take provincial highway 2 east toward Pinglin, then get off the main highway once you reach Shifen. Then turn right and go west on county road 106 until you reach the Jingtong Station. After that, you can park across the river or somewhere further away where parking is available.
Please see below:
I have been to Jingtong multiple times, and driven past it even more times. It is probably the third biggest old street along the Pingxi Railway, and it is also popular for lighting off sky lanterns like Shifen and Pingxi old streets.
Click on the video above to see our drone footage of the village.
The first time I went to Jingtong was on foot from Pingxi Station because we didn't want to wait for the train. Along the way we found tons of people lighting off lanterns. I guess some kind of festival was going on at the time. I didn't get a photo of all the lanterns going up at once.
Setting off lanterns is terrible for the environment and also dangerous when the falling burning debris lands on the ground. I have never nor will I ever light a lantern into the sky, and neither should you.
But we did see an amazing sunset over the train tracks.
Lanterns getting in the way of a perfect sunset.
Bands of clouds catching the last rays of sunshine. Sorry but I really want to share these photos not sorry.
The middle of Jingtong features a giant mining statue in between both lanes of traffic. If you didn't know, Jingtong was once a booming mining town in its heyday.
The police station is shaped like a giant sky lantern and glows at night.
Here we go.
"Jingtongkeng generally refers collectively to Shulang, Jingtong, and Baishi Village. Jingtong was developed during the Qianlong reign (1736-1795) of the Qing Dynasty by a man named Li Da-qing from Quanzhou. Baishi was settled around the same time by a man named Line, also from Quanzhoul it was named Baishi, or "White Rock" after the white sandstone face at the top of a local mountain. Shulang, the source of the Keelung River's main course - was also settled by a man from Quanzhou, Huang Wen-fu, during the Jiaqing and Daoguang reigns (1796-1850). Early settlers here collected the root of the dyeing yam (shulang in Chinese) which they used to make brown dye. This is the origin of the name."
"Originally a dispersed farming village, Jingtongkeng switched focus after the Taiyang Mining Company began digging its pits No. 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6 in 1918. Afterward, it dug the Shigi Inclined Coal Pit in front of Jingtong Station to centralize the collection of coal by connecting all the different parts. This turned Jingtong into a classic mining town. In the Shidi Coal Mine Park you can still see traces of the old cart tracks, pit entrance, coal washing plant, coal-unleasing bunker, and warehouse, as well as workhouses and mine pits."
"Besides Zhongpu, in Baishi are ruins of a workhouse and coal plant, Shan Shen (Mountain God) Temple, Soul-calling Monument, and Zhou Family Memorial Monument. Where Old Street crosses Jing'an Road you can see Pingxi Guest House, which the Taiyang Mining Company built in 1939 and is now designated a municipal historical site. To the side are wooden dormitories, exuding a rich Japanese flavor."
"Shulang Peak, in Shulang Village, is called "Pingxi;'s Mt. Fuji" because of its shape; trails leading to it start from Yikeng (Pit No. 1) and Erkeng (Pit No. 2) on Jing'an Road. Shisun Peakm at the boundary between Jingtong and Shidi, can be reached via trail heads at Erkeng (Pit No. 2) and beside the tracks between Pingxi and Jingtong stations (at No. 23)."
Map of Pingxi and the local historic sites.
Bamboo wishing sticks, which can be found at all stations along the railway. You can write a wish too and let it rot next to the train tracks.
There are quite a lot of food options here, but sadly there is not as much food as at Shifen and Pingxi.
And ofcourse you can buy and set off lanterns if you hate the environment. Bamboo wish sticks seem like a more environmentally friendly choice, and they will save you money.
Jingtong Station 菁桶車站
Inside of the historic Jingtong Station.
Outside of the historic Japanese Era Jingtong station.
"Jingtong Station Information"
"Built in 1931, the Jingtong Station is a wooden architecture of exclusively Japanese style. The longest coal cabinet in Taiwan can be found opposite of the rail track, allowing the station to have the highest capacity for coal transportation, As the mining industry in the area declined, the coal pits in Daxiekeng and Jintung were closed in May and October of 1987 respectively. A number of buildings used for mining were then deserted. Today, discarded soil from the mining industry during the Japanese Occupation can still be found on the hillsides.
In the past, several coal transportation tracks joined at the Jingtung Station. The land to the north of the railway terminal was used for coal washing and loading.
The outlook of the Jingtung Station resembles that of a Japanese residence. The interior is used as ticket booth, railway administration and waiting areas. The lower roof on the right wing stretches all the way to the front, forming a corridor at the station entrance."
Jingtong Mining Life Exhibition Hall 菁桶礦業生活館
A must see in Jingtong is the Mining Life Exhibition hall. This building used to be a dormitory for railroad workers, housing over 10 employees, but fell into disrepair with the collapse of the mining industry. It reopened in 2002 as the mining life exhibition hall.
Sky Lanterns, Rivers, Cultural Assets, and Whole Community Projects.
A miniature cut out coal mine. Much more spacious in these mines than I anticipated.
Miniature coal processing plant.
Miniature of the Japanese dormitory and everyday mining objects.
More photos and information from the era.
Black and white era photos of mining life at the time.
More photos of coal mining in its heyday.
Some more photos of coal mining operations.
Shidi Inclined Coal Pit 石低大斜坑煤礦
Just above Jingtong Station are the well preserved ruins of Xiedikeng Coal Mine.
You have to walk around the police station and up the hill to get there. Once you see some abandoned derelict buildings, you know you have arrived.
"Shidi Inclined Coal Pit"
"As the mines at Shidi were dug deeper and deeper, the old method of transporting coal manually became difficult and so in 1937 the Taiyang Mining Company began diffing the Shidi Inclined Coal Pit to link the other pits: first Shidi Pit 2, then Pits 1, 3, and 5. Coal from the different pits was collected and transported out through the inclined pit. Coal washing and transport outside the pits were also simplified."
"The entrance to the Shidi Inclined Coal Pit is 254 meters above sea level. The system is about 5 KM wide and 1.5 KM deep. The pit runs downward 900 meters at an incline of 15 degrees. This was the only place used for mine entry and exit the other pits served as ventilation shafts only. Outside the Inclined Pit there was a complete coal transport system. This development led to the golden age of coal mining here, when up to 1,000 miners were employed and Shidi became the largest mine in Taiwan."
The minerals warehouse sits in the background behind the mine.
Coal unloading bunker near the mine.
The Shidi Daxiekeng Tunnel itself, closed off to the public. It had two lanes of coal tracks so you know it was big. This was after all once the biggest coal mine in Taiwan.
Another explanatory sign near the entrance.
The inside of the coal unloading bunker.
The track from the mine still extends far out into the minerals warehouses.
"Around the ruins of the Shidi Inclined Coal Pit, the largest on the Pingxi Line, you can see a coal washing plant, coal unloading bunker, electrical apparatus plant, transformer, head office, pit office, power distribution room, warehouse, and cart tracks."
"The warehouse stored mine equipment, electrical materials, and parts, and had tracks for transporting equipment. The remaining stone and brick wall is now covered with a tangle of Philippine fig roots."
Track leading to the minerals warehouse.
Minerals warehouse covered in tree roots.
Another view of the mineral house wall.
Here you can see some kind of pits used for storage.
More of the abandoned warehouses.
I would have explored more, but at this time my daughter fell into a mud puddle so we had to take her to the bathroom to get cleaned up. If you go with kids, try and pick a dry day.
Pingxi Guesthouse (Shinpakusai) 平溪招待所 (真朴斎)
Near Jingtong old street you can find a number of Japanese era buildings, including a miner's dormitory, Bed and Breakfasts, and the Pingxi Guesthouse.
The Pingxi Guesthouse was built in the 1930's by the Japanese Taiyang company, and recently renovated. It reopened as Shinpakusai in 2014. Currently tours are only available on Mondays after 10 AM.
There is no way I can make it on a Monday morning, but if you want to see what the inside is like, check out this blog here.
View of Jingtong from across the river.
Shigandang stone in front of Jingtong warding off evil spirits.
Another derelict building and parking lot across the river.
View of the old street and train station from above.
View of Pingxi facing east.
View of Pingxi facing west.
Lanterns being set off from the old street at night. The building above is a coffee shop built on top of an old coal loading platform.
Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for our full guide to the Pingxi Railway coming soon.
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