Established in 1748, Hsinchu's Du Cheng Huang Temple (都城隍廟) is notable for its superb effigies and also the unusual eminence of its main deity. Most of the current structure dates from just after 1924, when the building was demolished and rebuilt from scratch - not that you'll see much of it from outside, for the shrine is almost completely surrounded by vendors who sell meat-ball soups and other famous local snacks.
In 1887, Hsinchu's city god was declared by Emperor Guangxu to take precedence over all other city and town gods in Taiwan and the Penghu archipelago. This status is obvious from the shrine's name; unlike other city-god temples, its name features the word du (meaning "prefectural capital"). An inscribed board presented on behalf of the emperor in 1891 is further proof of the deity's importance. During the Qing era, newly-appointed prefectural-level mandarins would make offerings here before assuming office.
The 29th day of the 11th lunar month is the city god's birthday. The temple is also very active during Ghost Month when the city god undertakes a tour of inspection around the city, during which he succors orphaned spirits who might otherwise cause mischief.
The city god's wife receives a good amount of offerings. She is flanked by two young men and two young women – her sons and their wives. Hsinchu's city god is thus unique in Taiwan in having not only a spouse but also progeny. While here, take some time to appreciate the magnificently colorful statues which represent officials under the city god's command: six generals, two judges, four police officials and two constables.
The temple is in the heart of Hsinchu's historic quarter. Both Beimen Street and Jinshi Mansion are within walking distance.
From Hsinchu TRA Station, follow Zhongzheng Road to the Yingxi Old East Gate. Then walk westward along Dongmen Street until you reach the temple. The total distance is around 750m.