Taipei: Wander and Getting Lost at Ximendeng (西門町)
A popular pedestrian shopping zone in historic Wanhua District of Taipei. Ximendeng (西門町) is the center of fashion, subculture and Japanese culture in Taipei. It is often compared to Harajuku and Shibuya, two of the most energetic and vibrant districts of Tokyo.
Since it’s only a couple of blocks away from our lodging, it became our nightly destinations before going home. While walking and exploring the place, you may not avoid yourself getting lost. But it’s okay as it is enjoyable to watch the sea of people full of life in the evening.
This place is located at the northeastern part of Wanhua District in Taipei, and the most important consumer district in Western District of Taipei. It is the first pedestrian area developed in the city, and also the country’s largest. It was established during the Japanese colonization as a recreation district. Eventually, it became a cultural icon inspired with its Japanese roots.
It is said that up to three million shoppers visit here every month. The place is a hodgepodge of shoppers from different races. Also called the Harajuku of Taipei, as it is common for local bookstores to sell Japanese magazines, books, manga, music, and clothing. This has made it a favorite destination for fans of Japanese culture or “Harizu”.
The place is also home to weird and eclectic shops – like the infamous Modern Toilet (where you eat toilet-themed foods, like ice cream poo served in a miniature toilet while sitting on a toilet bowl); Snow King, which sells ice cream in weird flavors (pork floss, wasabi, beer); Penis-themed cake store; or have a massage with an ancient knife or meat cleaver.
The place is also called Ximendeng Youth Shopping District (西門町) for a large number of Taipei youths and tourists visiting here. Aside from shopping, bars, and restaurants, its streets are also venues for street performers and exhibitions.
- The words Ximen (西門) stand for the west gate, as the district is located by the historic western gate of the old Taipei City.
- The historic Red House Theater is the main LGBT district in Taipei, with the outdoor area surrounding the theatre home to a large array of bars, shops, and meeting places. The area’s bars have a reputation for serving excellent drinks and welcome all patrons.
- The names Ximen and Ximending both refer to the same location, as the final 町 dīng is a Japanese character referring to the word district, while Ximen means west gate.
- Rice flour noodles from Ay Chung Rice Noodles (阿宗麵線), NT$50 (Regular serving)
- Flaky Scallion Pancake, NT$50-80 (We love the roast beef with corn!)
- By MRT Take Blue Line 5 or Green Line 3 to Ximen (西門).
- The Red House – Ximen’s Historic Market/Theater located across the intersection
- NORTH COAST: Yehliu Geopark | Pingxi Sky Lantern | Shifen Waterfalls | Golden Waterfalls | Jiufen Old Street | Wanli Abandon UFO Houses
- TAIPEI: Ximendeng | Taipei 101 | Maokong Gondola | Elephant Mountain | Taipei Peace Park | Taipei Zoo | Chiang Kai Shek Memorial | Shilin Night Market | The Red House
- TAICHUNG: Zhongshe Flower Farm | Xinshe Castle | Rainbow Village | Gaomei Wetland Park