Chishang Township is located in the northern section of the Hualien-Taitung Rift Valley in Taitung County. The township is located in the south of the Rift Valley. It is a fertile plain that has been alluvial from the Xinwu Lu River. To its west is the Central Mountain Range, and to its east is the Coastal Mountain Range. The climate here is tropical and monsoon, with an abundance of rainfall, creating the perfect conditions for growing the high-quality Chishang rice that is well-known throughout the country.
The boxed meals or “bento” made from Chishang rice are famous throughout Taiwan. In 2010, Chishang was selected as one of the "International Spotlight Projects" by the Tourism Bureau, Ministry of Transportation and Communications and was named "Chishang Spotlight,” becoming one of the spots in Hualien and Taitung to receive international travelers.
Rice Village House | 稻米原鄉館
The Rice Village House was originally the most important rice warehouse in the community. Although it was abandoned for some time, it has been used for tourism purposes after local people gave the exterior and courtyard a new appearance and renovated the interior hall. The Rice Village House gathers a variety of agricultural specialty products from Chishang Township, as well as displays of agricultural equipment, such as the threshing machine and glutinous rice. Upon entering the main entrance on the first floor of the building, you’ll see the display area, which is full of old style and flavor. At the same time, visitors can experience the hard work of farmers, and cherish every morsel of agricultural products that they eat.
The second floor is a viewing restaurant that inherits the traditional tastes of Taiwan. It allows visitors a chance to enjoy the long-lost old-fashioned local flavors while enjoying the simple scenery of Chishang Township. In addition, there are also activities such as DIY rice painting, rice transplanting and harvesting, Wanan community tours, bicycle rentals, and other services that allow visitors to experience some of the characteristics of rural life after eating and drinking. It is suitable for the whole family or friends to come here and experience the rural ecology and food in Taitung.
Chishang Boxed Meal Museum | 池上飯包博物館
In the early days of the retrocession of Taiwan from Japanese colonial rule, trains from Hualien to Taitung took 8 hours, so the earliest “rice bundles (lunches)” were made to allow train passengers to enjoy a meal during their long journey. The first rice bundles were packed in bamboo leaves. Inside, there were 4 triangular rice balls stuffed with dried meat and sour plum. These gradually evolved into wooden boxed meals, which consisted of cooked Chishang rice, pork, roast meat and pickled vegetables made by traditional methods, as well as shrimp caught in Dapo Pond and other ingredients. With the changes of the times, the rice bundles’ original materials were strictly controlled, creating richer and more diverse ingredients, and modern management techniques were used to give new life to the old brand.
The Chishang Boxed Meal Museum is divided into the "historical and cultural area," "farm field and farming equipment area," "rice cultural area," "Chishang rice bundle area," and "ancient rice bundle area." These display areas use explanations and pictures to introduce the development of the Chishang rice bundle over the years. At the same time, they also display the traditional stoves and utensils used in the early days of cooking the portable meals. Therefore, the museum not only provides public visits, but also has multiple functions such as cultural preservation and education.
Hakka Cultural Park | 客家文化園區
Completed in September 2006, the Hakka Cultural Park is full of Hakka characteristics. The first floor of the building is equipped with audio-visual classrooms and Hakka cultural relics exhibition halls. The audio-visual classrooms regularly release documentaries and Hakka quality TV programs for the public to watch. The second floor has special exhibition rooms, a Hakka TV Pavilion and a library. The cultural relics of the special exhibition rooms include more than 100 kinds of Hakka artifacts collected by Guanshan Middle School in recent years. The Hakka TV Pavilion is set up in cooperation with Hakka TV Station. The station plans, sets up and regularly updates the contents of the exhibition.
Before entering the park, you will see the oil-paper umbrella-shaped high column as the entrance image. It symbolizes the spirit of the eastern Taiwan Hakkas in crossing the mountains and the sea to settle here. The architectural style in the park uses eastern rural architectural forms, cloisters and natural materials (stone, wood, bamboo, planting, etc.) plus local steel to create a rural building and courtyard that conforms to the eastern Taiwan rural areas’ architectural image. The planning of the park is based on the living experience, industries, culture and other related activities of Hakka settlements in the East Rift Valley area. The park also includes parking service, a plaza, a service area, an herb garden, an arts and crafts DIY area, a dining area, a Nostalgic Industries Zone, a Hakka culture learning park, a children’s play and recreation area, a villagers’ agricultural planting garden and Zhuang Yuan Avenue.