Miaoli Hakka Roundhouse 苗栗客家圓樓
The Miaoli Hakka Roundhouse is an exhibition center focused on local Hakka culture, as well as a tourist center, performance hall, and DIY art center. It was completed in 2014 and was built to resemble the Tulou Roundouses in Fujian, China. Taiwan has no historical roundhouses. Even if it is not historically accurate, it is a beautiful building with some very educational exhibitions on Hakka culture.
The Hakka people are a subgroup of Han Chinese that migrated from North Central China to southern China to avoid social unrest, occupying now what is Fujian, Guangdong, and Taiwan. These moves were aided by "guest household" policies during at different times, such as under the Kangxi Emperor.
The Hakka people have a distinctive culture and language differing than that of their neighbors, because they came from a different part of China when cultures in the north and south were very divergent.
Roundhouses first appeared in China during the late Ming Dynasty (late 1500s). The were built round to match the many round hills in Fujian province. The Hakka people specialized in creating roundhouses, because it helped to centralize the community, create an easy defense against bandits and invaders, and save precious farmland. There are over 3000 roundhouses in Fujian, that attract over 4 million visitors a year. In 2008, the tulou roundhouses in Fujian became a UNESCO world heritage site.
During the cold war, the US mistook these roundhouses for nuclear missile silos.
Hakka people started moving to Taiwan in the late Ming Dynasty, along with Koxinga and other Ming loyalists.
Although there are no historical roundhouses in Taiwan, there are still many square Tulou (土樓) that served similar purposes as roundhouses.
The Miaoli Hakka Roundhouse was built in 2014 at a cost of 130 million NT. It was built to resemble the Tulou Roundhouses in Fujian, China. It is 3,400 square meters and has four stories.
After its construction, some people criticized the building for not being related to Taiwan Hakka culture. However, the government leaders defended the decision saying represented a fusion of Hakka culture which is a worldwide heritage, and that it was meant to increase tourism in the area.
9 AM to 5 PM, closed Mondays.
How to get there:
By train/HSR: Take the TRA Train to Fengfu Station, or take the HSR to Miali Station. The roundhouse is within walking distance.
By car: Drive to the HSR station in Miaoli. There is paid parking across the street from the roundhouse.
Please see below:
We have been to the roundhouse once during a trip to Miaoli. It is a beautiful building, even if it is not historically accurate.
Click on the video above to see our drone footage of the building.
There is plenty of paid parking available next to the HSR station.
The Miaoli HSR station is very nice and spacious, and one of the few stations that directly hooks up with a TRA station.
View of the building from just outside.
View of the entrance to the buidling.
The roundhouse used to be 30 NT per person, but because there were not enough visitors, the building was made free to visit in 2017 in an effort to attract more tourists.
Mialo Roundhouse pamphlet.
View of the roundhouse ceiling.
Performance stage on the first floor.
View of the entire building as seen from the first floor.
View of local industries in Miaoli.
Floor plan map.
More historical photos of Hakka farmers in Taiwan.
Introduction of tea growing in Miaoli.
Tools for crushing nuts.
Local Hakka foods, such as fried vegetables, vegetables and tofu, pineapple mushroom, and fried intestine.
More Hakka foods such as pork, bamboo shoots, and pig stomach.
A typical Hakka meal, including bread, radish cake, and gelatin rice with pork.
More food such as rice balls, radish cakes, and dumplings.
Rice processing tools.
Traditional marriage dress.
More farming tools.
Traditional Hakka wooden house.
Rice processesing basket.
More ancient tools.
Traditional rain gear.
View from the thrid floor.
View of the rood and performance stage below.
Another view of the top floor.
Hakka roundhouses, which could house up to 600 people.
Another view of the roundhouse model.
3D cross section of a roundhouse.
Another square Tulou, more similar to what you would find in Taiwan.
Another for sided house, of which you can find many in Taiwan.
Traditional Hakka kitchen.
Another view from above.
Hakka gift shop.
Fish pond outside.
Photo of a man using water buffalo to plant rice.
View of the roundhouse from outside.
Lots of coy in the pond out back.
Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more of our blogs about Miaoli to come!
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We are US Expats that have extensive experience living, working, and travelling 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.