You’ve likely read our blog post on Religion in Taiwan and even checked out a few of the temples in the city of Taipei yourself. Now let’s explore even further!
We have created a short list below of some of our favorite temples in and around Taipei. Some are fairly well known while others are well off the beaten tourist path. Walk with us as we wander through some of the coolest spaces that this city has to offer.
Swallow tail rooflines, ornate carvings, incense, horns, chanting, moon blocks, and so much more, Taiwan’s temples are extraordinary to experience and incredible places to visit.
Most of the temples that you will see in Taiwan are constructed in a style of Qing Dynasty architecture originating in Fujian province in Southern China. Also known as Hokkien/Minan architecture, it is widely found in Fujian as well as in Taiwan, Singapore, and other parts of Southeast Asia.
Many of the temples in Taiwan combine or cater to a mix of religious beliefs that span Daoism, Buddhism, and Traditional Chinese Folk Religion. You may find Doaists conducting a rite to the Bodhisattva Guanyin, or avowed Buddhists at a temple dedicated to a city god. Some temples are set aside exclusively for Buddhism or Daoism, or Folk Religion, but in most cases in Taiwan there is a wonderful cross-exchange and interplay.
To learn more about religion in Taiwan, read our post on an “Overview of Religion in Taiwan.”
Some of the more popular temples in Taipei include:
We’ve created a list that’s fairly spread out in terms of temple size and location within Taipei. There’s no need to see all of them and we certainly don’t expect you to visit them all in the same day.
Housed in a three story structure that used to be a hotel, this temple is wedged between high-rises in the north of the city. You can spend hours looking at the decorative walls ceilings!
It’s a trek to get there, however, this temple complex in the southern reaches of Taipei is worth the trip. Situated on a hill, the temple is dedicated to Ludong Bin, one of the eight immortals central within Daoism. Unless you take the gondola up to Maokong, be prepared for a lot of steps.
We debated including this one because it is so far off the beaten path, however, it seemed a shame not to post about it here. If you are into day hikes and want to get out of the city, hiking up to the Temple at Yinhe Cave is a great adventure. It features an old temple right next to a waterfall which makes for quite the experience.
This temple is an interesting one to visit. It is located in Zhongshan and is a short walk from the Zhongshan Junior High School station. It was built in the late 70’s early 80’s by a man responding to a dream in conjunction with local farmers in the area. The deity it is dedicated to is the Bodhisattva Lord of Tibet.
This is one is one of our favorite temples to visit. Located just north of Yanping Riverside Park, the temple sits on the edge of the Tamsui River. It is a very popular place for locals to hang out, hold dance classes, or practice tai chi. You will see plenty of people running, walking, or biking by on the path. Perhaps the most notable part about this temple is the karaoke that it puts on as part of community activity nights.
The Guandu Temple is one that is well worth seeing. Located in the northern end of the city, it is a short walk from Guandu Station off the red line. The temple itself has an incredible history beginning in 1661 and more officially in 1712 when a Buddhist monk brought a statue of the goddess Matsu from China. It has been expanded a number of times and features some incredible art and architecture.
This one might not count as “Taipei” per se, it is located to the north on the far side of Yangmingshan, however, it is famous for its very large Thousand-Arm Guanyin Statue. It’s a relatively modern temple compared to some of the ones that you will find in Taipei, however, if you have the time or are in the area, it’s worth the trip.
If you are wandering through the Datong district, it is worth taking in the FaChuKung temple. It has a Taoist temple with a unique architectural history, first built in 1878, it was later “elevated” in the 1970’s as city planners wanted to create a roadway beneath it. Nowadays it is even comes equipped with an elevator.
This temple is also dedicated to Matsu, patron god of sailors and a famous deity in Taiwan. In addition to Dadaocheng Cisheng’s impressive architecture, one reason you might want to visit this one is for the food stands that are set up outside. It is a great place to grab a bite to eat and to see the local community gathering or hanging out.
The Linji Huguo Temple is a Japanese Zen Buddhist Temple that was built in the northern end of the city during the Japanese Colonial Period. It is the oldest building made out of wood that was constructed during the Japanese era still standing in Taipei. Nowadays the temple offers an incredibly peaceful environment and is recognized as a top religious attraction in Taipei.
This should be a good list to get you started, but remember it is by no means an exhaustive list. There are hundreds if not thousands of other temples around Taipei for you to explore!
In our travels around Taipei, we stumbled across a Facebook page dedicated to cataloging and providing information on temples around Taiwan. While many of the famous temples have their own websites and other blog posts in multiple languages, the lesser known or more obscure temples can be incredibly challenging to find information on if you are not a Chinese speaker, or if your Chinese skills are not up to the task.
The posts on the 文人指路 Facebook page features a number of temples in Taipei complete with their location and history. The posts are written in Chinese, however, Facebook’s translation feature makes this a resource accessible to all. The page’s author describes “temple culture as a puzzle of history scattered throughout Taiwan” that they are dedicated to piecing together. We really appreciate the 文人指路 (Scholars Who Guide the Way) Facebook page for this resource!