Hen buildings, Taiping Old Street, Douliu

Taiping Old Street 太平老街

Taiping Old Street (太平老街) is an unusually long stretch of Japanese colonial era shophouses in central Douliu, the administrative seat of Yunlin, Taiwan. Located not far from the train station, this old street is remarkable for its length (600 meters long), consistent architectural style (almost entirely local variations on Baroque Revival), and relatively good state of preservation. Despite this, it is not a huge attraction, which is just as well if you’re not a big fan of mass tourism in Taiwan.

Hen 1/2, Taiping Old Street, Douliu
Baroque revival architecture on the streets of Douliu, the capital of Yunlin.
Japanese colonial architecture on Taiping Old Street
Sunburst facade on Taiping Old Street
Chohatsu building on Taiping Old Street
Ruby red facade, Douliu
Hen buildings, Taiping Old Street, Douliu

One thing you will notice about Taiping Old Street is that it isn’t unlike any other shopping street you’ll find in a similarly-sized city in Taiwan. Indeed, despite its historic nature, most shops are the usual mix of cheap clothing stores, tea shops, open kitchen restaurants, and other small businesses. Modern signboards protrude from most blocks but family names adorned with European-style flourishes can still be seen on many facades, some of which date back more than a century.

Heritage buildings on Taiping Old Street
A beautiful block of buildings in Douliu
An unusual facade on Taiping Old Street
Even more Japanese colonial buildings on Taiping Old Street
Let the sky shine through
Japanese colonial facades in Douliu
Japanese colonial architecture in Douliu
An empty shell at the southern end of Taiping Old Street
A modest facade on Taiping Old Street
Taiping Old Street, Douliu

Although it isn’t the sort of circus you’ll usually find on old streets around Taiwan there are still several small shops worth patronizing. I recommend stopping for a bite at Old Street Wa-gui (老街碗粿) at the very least! I haven’t seen much other writing about Taiping Old Street in English but you’ll find more on Chinese language blogs here, here, here, and here. If you’re interested in the history of specific buildings—or in the famous food that is no doubt found in the area—Chinese language blogs are where you’ll need to look.

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