The Pingtung Martial Arts Hall has been recently restored and opened to the public. This building provides a unique glimpse into Taiwan's former Japanese colonial history. In addition, it also has space for art exhibitions. It is definitely worth a stop on your next trip to Pingtung.
The Pingtung Martial Arts Hall was completed in 1929 mainly for the use of local police to practice martial arts. After the KMT took control of Taiwan, this building was used as a military service station.
In 2018 the building began restoration work which was completed in 2019.
For an overview of Martial Arts History and significance in Taiwan, check out this blog by Josh Ellis.
9 AM to 5 PM Tuesday to Sunday
Tours and Activities in Pingtung:
There are many activities available in Pingtung, such as snorkeling, diving, SUPing, surfing, submarine riding, and river tracing.
You can find more tours of Pingtung on Klook here or KKday here.
Looking for a hotel? Find out where to stay in our Taiwan hotels guide or search for the best hotel deals in Taiwan here. We recommend booking through Agoda here, which provides the best quality selection of accommodation in Taiwan.
I have stayed at many hostels and hotels in Pingtung, and even almost bought a house here. Some places that I have stayed at and can recommend are Nanwan Kiki (book on Agoda here, Booking.com here), a B&B next to Nanwan Bay, Kenting's most popular Beach. There are also a few decent hotels near Kenting Street Night Market like Kenting Star Inn 888 (book on Agoda here, Klook here, Hotels.com here, Expedia here, or Booking.com here), or Kenting Dajianshan Hotel (book on Agoda here, Booking.com here, Hotels.com here, or Expedia here). You will notice that none of these hotels are five star resorts (I do not come to Kenting to waste my time at a resort, but you can still search Agoda, Booking.com, Hotels.com, or Expedia for those) but they are in my opinion the above have the best value for the money.
How to get there:
By Car/Scooter: Take provincial highway 1 south to the bottom of Taiwan until it becomes Pingtung City. The Pingtung Martial Arts Hall is on Zhongzheng Road in the middle of the city.
Looking for scooter rental in Pingtung? Click here or here to search for options.
If you are looking for car rentals, you can also search here.
By Train: The Martial Arts Hall is about a 10 minute walk from Pingtung TRA Station. You can book tickets to Kaohsiung via high speed rail (HSR) on Klook here or KKDay here, or book tickets via the normal train (TRA) on Klook here. You can book tickets to travel to Pingtung via inter-city bus on Klook here.
By Bicycle: Cycling is the best way to enjoy Taiwan's landscapes if you have the time and energy. Looking for bicycle rentals in Taiwan? You can search on KKday here and search for tours on Klook here. You can also check out our Taiwan cycling guide here.
Please see below:
I have been to the Pingtung Martial Arts Hall once. It is a free to enter, and is a nicely preserved historical relic in Pingtung. I recommend visiting. It will probably take you just a few minutes to tour the entire building.
"History of the Pingtung Martial Arts Hall:
The Pingtung Martial Arts Hall was completed in the year 1931. On December 15, 2003, according to the Cultural Heritage Preservation Law, it was officially announced as a historical site in Pingtung County.
The ancient name of Pingtung City was "Ah Hou." In 1901, it belonged to Tainan Prefecture. In 1920, it was transferred to Kaohsiung Prefecture, and renamed Pingtung. In 1933, Pingtung was upgraded to Pingtung City, under the jurisdiction of Kaohsiung Prefecture, Pingtung County.
The first generation Martial Arts Temple was built around 1909 and existed for about 21 years. It was located south of the street opposite Gonggu Road (Pacific Quality Company) and was the current location of the second-generation Pingtung Martial Arts Hall. In 1929, due to the deteriorating condition of the building, the Pingtung County Government raised funds for reconstruction. The current site was selected, and construction began on April 18, 1929.
On June 26, 1930, a ceremony was held for the Pingtung Pingtung Martial Arts Hall. During the ceremony, a wooden board called "Lei Tong Zha" was hung or nailed to the main beam. It contained information about the construction, date, participants (craftsmen), officials, and various deities invoked for blessings. This board is still placed above the wooden frame.
Pingtung Martial Arts Hall was completed on February 11, 1931, and a completion ceremony was held at 10:30 am on that day, followed by martial arts performances such as judo and kendo.
In 1945, after Taiwan was taken over by the Nationalist government, Pingtung Martial Arts Hall was taken over by the KMT military and was renamed Zhongshan Hall.
In 1947, the 228 Incident occurred in Taiwan. On March 4, near the station, incidents of violence against mainlanders occurred, leading to chaos in the city. On March 6, the 228 Incident Handling Committee held its first formal meeting at Pingtung Martial Arts Hall (Zhongshan Hall) to discuss handling matters related to the 228 Incident. Due to the escalating situation and the committee's inability to function, it was dissolved on March 9. Mr. Yeh Qiumu, the deputy chairman of the Pingtung City Council, served as the deputy director of the Pingtung handling committee and negotiation representative. On March 12 of the same year, he was arrested by the government for no reason, becoming one of the victims of the 228 Incident.
In 1951, after the establishment of the Military Friends Society, Pingtung Martial Arts Hall continued to be used as a public venue. However, in 2015, during the tenure of Pingtung County Magistrate Pan Meng-an (2015~), efforts were made to restore the historical building of Pingtung Martial Arts Hall.
From the second half of 2015, Pingtung County Government actively initiated the restoration project for Pingtung Martial Arts Hall. This included research, planning, design, and the demolition of some buildings and environmental improvements. The restoration project was officially contracted out at the end of 2017.
The restoration project was led by architect Chen Jiaquan, and the construction contractor was Youtian Construction Co., Ltd.
Explanation of Pingtung Pingtung Martial Arts Hall:
The term "Wude-style architecture" refers to the buildings associated with martial arts, such as martial arts fields and archery fields, including administrative buildings, bathing areas, dormitories, warehouses, etc., forming a complex of buildings.
Pingtung Martial Arts Hall's history includes both judo and kendo martial arts, serving as a large indoor space for various functions. The basic components of the indoor space include judo and kendo martial arts arenas, seating for teachers, athletes, and spectators, a shrine, gateways, and intermediary spaces for commercial activities.
The Pingtung Martial Arts Hall complex, once consisting of various functional spaces, has now only preserved the martial arts hall. Other functional spaces have been lost.
Changes have been made to the northern exterior, and some wooden components have been replaced with aluminum. Additional buildings, such as a two-story exhibition hall along Zhonglong Road, a two-story press building along South Guoguang Road, and dormitory houses and public baths on the north side, have recently been reconstructed.
The architectural features of Pingtung Martial Arts Hall include a lattice truss system, a sloping roof with four-sided slopes, glazed tile roofing, copper gutters, and downspouts. The exterior façade is mainly coated with cement-washed stones, creating varying heights. The indoor floor is a resilient elevated wooden floor. The central deity is located on the central axis, protruding from the rear. The lower windows on the outside are stacked, and external stairs appear on the north side."
Before you enter, you need to take off shoes and put on flip flops.
When I visited, there was an exhibition for Lee Min-yung.
"Mr. Lee was born in 1947, the year the 228 Incident occurred. While studying at Kaohsiung Senior High School, he learned about the tragic event from the remaining bullet holes on the classroom's wall. He began to write poems about the 228 Incident, capturing Taiwan's historical imagery after WWIl in his poetry collections, including Requiem, The Wildlife Thinking, Landscapes under Martial Law, A Tilted Island, Sonata in Soul, A Poets Confession, Walk Alone, and Aria. For this exhibition, Min-yung composed is new poetic works highlighting his nostalgic memories of the people and sights that define his beloved Pingtung. This eloquent "aria' to Taiwan's southern peninsula brings the colors of its myriad landscapes to lyrical life. Through these "love letters" are in poetic verse, Min-yung guides us across the history and elemental brilliance that flow through this corner of Taiwan. Like paintings, his poems evince our experience of the land and our shared love of hearth and home. While centered on Min-yung's newest poetic efforts, the exhibition also features poems from across his career. The authors handwritten poetry note books offer unique insight into his poetic inspirations and ideas. The 44 works in this exhibition are presented in five sections, including "Beautiful Shades: Death and Rebirth" "Landscapes under Martial Visions," and "Island Sonatas" Together with poems and manuscripts. This exhibition presents Lee Min-yung's contemplations in the course of poetry writing, which reveal his deep and abiding concern for Taiwan and his observations and expectations of freedom and democracy."
Poems from Mr. Lee.
Another view of the entrance which was staffed by one man.
Another view of the martial arts hall.
Artwork and poems from Mr. Lee.
Just outside you can walk over to Pingtung Park which also has some more historical monuments nearby.
You can also check out the Sogo Mall right across the street.
And also right next door on the same block is the Pingtung Art Museum.
View of the front of the Pingtung Art Museum.
Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more of our blogs on Pingtung to come!
Don't forget there are many more activities in Pingtung such as such as snorkeling, diving, SUPing, surfing, submarine riding, and river tracing.
You can find more tours of Kenting on Klook here or KKday here.
You can check out our full guide to Pingtung here.
You can also check out our full travel guide to Taiwan here.
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.