Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Kishu An 紀州庵

     So I walk past a really old looking building everyday when I leave my house. It is literally 20sec. from my house, I can see it from my balcony. For the most part it has been covered up by a giant shed, I assume to protect it from the weather. So Today I finally went over to it and tried to find out what I could about it. Turns out this building, and my neighborhood have an awful lot of history from the days of Japanese colonialism in Taiwan (Formosa 1895-1945)
     My neighborhood, now known as Guting 古亭, was called Kawabata-cho (river-district) during the Japanese occupation, and was the Administrative District for the Japanese Colonial Government. Not only was it the administrative district, it was the hot spot for the Japanese elite living in Taipei at the time. This beautiful area in south Taipei had a beautiful view of the river (right behind my apartment) and was filled with tea-houses and restaurants.

     The old building by my house was a restaurant and Japanese garden called Kishu An. They specialized in Japanese and Western dishes. It is the only restaurant or Japanese public house from that time period that still stands.

     After Formosa was returned to the Republic of China after WWII, the governor of Taipei turned Kishu An into a hostel for visiting provincial leaders, and later it was turned into a temple named "Kishu Temple" Now days, it is very weather beaten and run down, hence, why it is cased in big metal barn. And though I cannot get a very good look at it, and it still awesome to know I live half a block from a big part of Taipei's history.

The red star at the bottom right of the map is Kishu An 紀州庵. Below the star, and below the "109" is a small lane with a hook at the end, That is my street. To the right where the blue characters are is a small highway, and beyond that,  just off of the map is the river.

The best view of the original architecture.
Photo of the original Kishu An, circa unknown.

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