Puji Temple 普濟寺

Puji Temple, Beitou
A rare example of a Japanese-style temple in Taiwan.

In an attempt to escape the cold wave sweeping through Taiwan this weekend I went on a brief trip to Běitóu District 北投區, home to a historic hot springs area in north Taipei 台北. While wandering along mountain roads I ticked another sight off my list: the beautiful Japanese-style Pǔjì Temple 普濟寺, now more than a hundred years old.

More about this old temple from roundTAIWANround (with added links):

Puji Temple is a rare example of temple architecture practiced by the Shingon sect of Japanese Vajrayana Buddhism. Originally named Tiezhen Temple, this Japanese-style temple was first built in 1905 from donations by Japanese railway employees. It is dedicated to the Goddess of Mercy Avalokiteshvara, who is regarded as a guardian spirit of hot springs. With a wooden hall, curving pillars and bell-shaped windows, visiting Puji Temple makes you feel like you are back to Japan’s Edo period.

I should note that Avalokiteśvara is also known as Guanyin 觀音 and is one of the most commonly worshipped deities all across Taiwan.

Additionally, in conversation with a woman inside the temple I was informed that renovations have not preserved several features of the original Japanese design, among them the bare wooden beams that have since been painted. I don’t know much of anything about this stuff—for me, this was a cool temple to visit, very different from others I have been to in Taiwan and worth the short climb from Wēnquán (Hot Springs) Road 溫泉路.

Bonus: there was a monk droning out some mantras while tapping repeatedly on one of those little wooden fish you see around at temples. Tap tap tap tap tap…

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