Toucheng Old Street (officially Heping Street 和平街) is the oldest street in Yilan, dating back to the Qing Dynasty. It was once the economic center of Yilan, but it's importance was later replaced. Now it sits as a monument to the past, with few changes as compared to its former glory. It's definitely worth a stop on your trip through Yilan.
Before Chinese settlers came, the area around Toucheng was inhabited by the Ketagalan Aboriginal tribe, whose language is now extinct.
The name Toucheng literally means "first town" in Chinese, because it was the first settlement in Yilan, settled in the late 1700s. With the nearby Wushih and Touwei Harbors around the same time, it became the economic focal point of Yilan. However in the late 1800s and early 1900s Wushih Harbor and Touwei Harbor silted in, reducing their function.
With the advent of the Japanese built Yilan railway line in the mid-1900's, as well as constant floods and continually silting of the harbors, Toucheng Old Street quickly lost its importance economically and fell into decay.
The old street has two temples, the major one being Toucheng Qingyuan Temple (頭城慶元宮) which dates back to 1796.
Currently the old street is a moderately popular tourist attraction with only a few shops.
How to get there:
By Car: Take national highway 5 east to Yilan and then turn north to Toucheng. There is free parking near the community development center (頭城鎮港口社區發展協會), and the beach is just a short walk from there.
By Train: Take the TRA to Wai'ao train station. It's about an hour ride from Taipei. From Wai'ao station, the beach is literally just a few steps away.
Please see below:
I have been to Toucheng Old Street once on my way back from Wai'ao Beach. It is not a "touristy" old street, but it is an interesting historical place.
The front of the old street is about as touristy as it gets. There is a sign and a good luck "treasure god turtle."
You can come take selfies with the turtle god, which will hopefully make you rich. The turtle is a symbol in the area because of the nearby Turtle Island.
"Toucheng Old Street - Time Tunnel 200 years"
"Toucheng was the first official Han settlement to be established in Lanyang in 1796. Whishi Harbor offered convenient access to sea transportation, so Toucheng became an important trading city, and Heping Old Street became the hub of commerce in the Lanyang Plain.
Today, the Old Street refers to the section of Heping St. Between the Fude Temples at the north and south gates. Its rich history and culture are reflected in the style of buildings and relics of ancient times on the street."
"Toucheng Old Street - the memory of Glory Days"
"In the summer of 1878, Wushih Harbor's river channel was blocked by silt from a flood. In 1883, a large American merchantman struck the reefs outside the harbor, sank, and blocked the pass of the harbor. This put Wushih Harbor out of service immediately and the OId Street soon lost its prosperity. The old houses and the Shisanhang however still provide a reminder of Toucheng's glory."
View of the small temple near the turtle called Nanmen Fude Temple (南門福德祠).
“Fude Temple (South Gate)"
"The south and north Fude Temples were both built in the 2nd year of the Tongzhi Era (1863) during the Qing Dynasty. The South Gate Fude Temple was totally rebuilt at one point, so the original building no longer exists. Compare with the ancient photos, the external appearance of the original architecture has remained well.
Inside the temple is an interesting couplet: "Second only to the Son of Heaven, Guardian of the King's Three Treasures."
"The South and North Fude Temples are twins. Together, they define the typical closed boundaries of old streets and offer a reminder of the area's glory days."
View of the gods inside the south gate temple.
View of old street market architecture near the south gate temple.
Another view from inside.
View further down the street.
Surf themed drink shop nearby.
More of the old street with more modern buildings mixed in.
Traditional renovated front entrance.
Modern four story building on the old street.
A fake library down one alley.
I guess this place is supposed to be a cool Instagram spot.
Steel shop on the old street.
A ruined household on the old street.
View of the original old street wall.
Another view of the side of the house.
View of the house from the street.
A small snack shop on the old street that looks uninhabited.
Another view of the old street.
The front of Toucheng Qingyuan Temple (頭城慶元宮) with a wide open square.
Closeup on the front gate.
Just if you forget where you are, "Toucheng Old Street" is written on the ground.
View of the main part of Toucheng Qingyuan Temple (頭城慶元宮).
Introduction to Toucheng Old Street.
A small noodle shop on the street.
View further down the street.
One of the more traditional looking houses.
Another view head on.
Another older house on the street.
On the main road there are many more food options.
Also it seems like this place is a vegetable market in the morning.
"Old Street Mochi" even though it's not really on the old street. There are actually lots of food options right next to the old street.
Like these stalls and onion pancakes.
And further down you get to provincial highway 2 which is the biggest street in town.
If you come to Toucheng, you should also definitely check out Wai'ao Beach.
Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more of our blogs on northern Taiwan!
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