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The Old Man Under the Moon.  <img src='http://www.guidegecko.com/images/spyglass1.png' align='texttop' /> Click for full image
Travel Guide > Asia > Taiwan > Sights & Attractions

Cheng Huang Temple (Chiayi)

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Chiayi's busiest place of worship is the religious equivalent of a department store. In the Cheng Huang Temple (隍廟廟), which was founded about three centuries ago, the pious make offerings not only to the city god and his wife, but also to Mazu (at the rear on the first floor) and Guanyin (second floor). Wenchang Dijin and the Old Man Under The Moon (a divine matchmaker) are both on the right on the third floor. Sanqing (三清, "The Three Pure Ones," a Taoist trinity) takes pride of place on the fifth floor.

Since its founding the temple has undergone several restorations, including one after severe earthquake damage in 1964. If you go up to the sixth floorr, you'll find some ancient timbers from a previous edition of the temple retrieved

The temple has at least ten inscribed boards dating from the Qing Dynasty. The most famous, which reads tai-yang-xian-you (台洋顯佑) and means "Protector of Taiwan and the Ocean," was presented on behalf of Emperor Guangxu in 1887. No other city god in Taiwan received such an honor, but possibly this was a sop to Chiayi, as around the same time Guangxu promoted Hsinchu's city god to higher, prefectural status.

If you're here before 11am, make a point of exploring the adjacent market - it's one of south Taiwan's most traditional and liveliest. Also nearby at 88 Zhongxiao Road is Shuangzhong Temple (雙忠廟). It's Chiayi's oldest shrine, having been founded in 1688, but in terms of activity and decoration, it can't hold a votive candle to Cheng Huang Temple.


From the bus station on the right at the front of Chiayi TRA Station, take a bus heading for Alishan or another inland destination, and get off on Wufeng North Road. Walking to the temple from Chiayi TRA Station will take you around 20 minutes.

Type of place: Monument/Building
Costs: free
Location: Taiwan
Street address: 168, Wufeng North Road, Chiayi City
Nearest public transport: Cheng Huang Temple bus stop
Opening hours: Daily 5.30am-9pm
Telephone: +88652228419

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