In Taiwan, it’s not hard to find evidence of Japan’s. From food to service, little influences mark Taiwanese culture. What is a little harder to come by are dedicated Japanese structures. Coincidentally, I found Hinoki Village (檜意森活村 / gui yi sen huo cun) in the eastern part of Chiayi to be so peculiar.
Hinoki Village is a cultural center that consists of many shops built in a more traditional Japanese style. These structures were originally dormitories for the forestry bureau. After tearing down walls and refurbishing some buildings, the village became what is seen today.
I visited the location on a wet, rainy day. The paths were wet and sometimes flooded, but this didn’t put a damper on my spirits.
Inside, the shops sold a variety of goods including wasabi-based products, Taiwanese coffee, and handmade wood goods. They even had a Pineapple Hill there.
As in traditional Japanese fashion, there are many different mascots including this Wasabi character for the wasabi shop.
Amongst the lush green vegetation, it was an odd sight to see this fake cherry blossom tree.
Towards the back of the village were well-wishes from various travelers on these cute dog emas.
I didn’t have too much time to explore all the different shops here, but from the eateries to the fun shops, it definitely feels like there’s a little something for everyone. Even if you’re just looking to explore a little more of Japan’s influence in Taiwan, Hinoki Village is a unique place to stroll through.