Visit the most culturally entrenched city of Taiwan - full of temples and historic heritage
Witness the charisma of our oldest capital - where the history of Taiwan began
Wander in quaint small alleyways and squares - but never get lost with our professional tour guides
Tainan city - also known as “Capital City” to locals - is the oldest city built in Taiwan and the start of our development as an immigrant society. For the last four hundred years, Tainan saw the political rule varying from the Netherlands, ancient China, Japan and finally to current times. Now a metropolitan filled with old elements, Tainan is regarded as the cultural center of the island as well as the famed destination for passionate foodies. On this tour, we take you to explore the stories and folk tales that are hidden in the corners of downtown Tainan. Don’t miss this opportunity to see the depth of history, religion, and multiculture in the origin of Taiwan!
3:00PM Meet up with guide
Meeting point: Entrance of Chihkan Tower
Our guides are recognized with a green and white paper fan saying "Like It Formosa" and "Tainan Free Walking Tour".
1. Chihkan Tower
First built in 1653 during the Dutch colonization of Taiwan as its economic center “Fort Provintia”, it was renamed and rebuilt into “Chihkan Tower” in the later years. The Chihkan Tower we see today is a mixture of Dutch and Chinese work, and has sustained through attempted military invasions of Japan (1874) and France (1884) - a miracle that was attributed to its good Feng Shui and godly protection.
2. Tainan Grand Mazu Temple
The Grand Mazu Temple of Tainan not only symbolizes the role that folk religion plays in early urban development, but also shows how political shifts incorporated into architecture. After the Qing China’s conquer of Taiwan in 1683, Goddess Mazu is credited for the victory and promoted from “Princess” to “Queen” Mazu by the Qing emperor. More than three centuries later, Goddess Mazu remains an important figure in Taiwanese religion and politics even today.
3. Official God of War Temple
Built in 1665, the Official God of War Temple was established as one of the four main temples of Tainan, and later won an official government title around 1720. The temple was designed for the believers to worship the God of War - also known as Guan Gong (Guan Yu) - a loyal and brave hero from China and another popular religious figure in Taiwan among locals. Here our guide will show what (not) to do in Taiwanese temples when worshipping our gods.
4. Hayashi Department Store
Feel free to explore the second department store ever built - and first ever in south Taiwan - in country on your mid-way break! Don’t forget to check the iconic Japanese shrine on the rooftop!
5. Tainan Confucius Temple
Tainan Confucius Temple is one of the most symbolic religious heritages in Taiwan. Built in 1665 as the island’s first national academy, the temple later became a shrine for Confucius for his contribution to education. Here visitors can also witness how the respect for Confucius is emphasized throughout the temple - from the gifted inscribed boards from the heads of state to the dismount stele. Today, its memorial ceremony for Confucius (held twice a year) is still the most well-preserved in the Chinese-speaking world.
6. Tainan Art Museum
Formerly the Tainan Police Department built during the Japanese colonization, it is the earliest existing police station in Taiwan today. Starting in 2018, it has been renovated and reopened as an art museum. The Art Deco appearance of the building gives away the financial situation of the Japanese empire during its construction in the 1930s: simple yet practical.
7. National Museum of Taiwan Literature
Constructed in 1916 during the golden age of Japanese colonization as the Tainan Prefecture government building, it was built luxuriously on the high grounds of Tainan region and the center of the city as a symbol of political power. The building was reopened in 2003 as the National Museum of Taiwan Literature, and now holds a large collection of local works in Taiwanese, Japanese, Mandarin and classical Chinese.
5:30PM Tour ends