The real life inspiration for the famous anime movie, Spirited Away, is located in a small town in Taiwan. Here, there are tons of red street lamps and mysterious tea houses, and the smell of food wafting down the narrow alleyways. It’s an array of sensations that can completely overwhelm your senses. Getting lost in these streets is quite the adventure.
The fun part is wandering the streets and seeing what they have in each shop. It’s a maze that you’ll likely get lost in, but sooner or later you’ll find your way out.
The rains can come down heavy, so make sure to bring a rain jacket for the periodic showers that tend to fall during the late spring and early summer.
I think the end of the Shuqi Street is the most photogenic spot near the bottom of the hill, although everywhere you look, there’s interesting sights to see. If you go closer to the 7-11 entrance, there are more food stalls for those who are hungry. You’ll want to try peanut ice cream rolls, fish ball soup, rice cake, taro balls, and any other foods you see in the tons of stalls that line the streets. Here’s a good guide to the foods to try. I recommend grabbing a boba tea too, while you’re at it.
To get here from Taipei, you can try the Google Maps direction and catch the 965 bus, which costs 90NT (about $3.00 USD). Make sure to bring cash. This bus will drop you off at the Police Station at the bottom of the hill, or you could wait another stop and go farther up the hill. The bus back to Taipei is across from the Police Station, and comes fairly frequently.
If you stop in Jiufen, then I recommend the following:
Visit the Houtong Cat Village
Or make a side trip to Shifen Waterfalls