Thursday, November 27, 2014

Shinto ruins in Taiwan

During the latter part of the Japanese colonial period, the authorities promoted Shintoism and ordered the construction of Shinto shrines in several locations. Most of these places of worship were obliterated soon after Taiwan became part of Chiang Kai-shek's Republic of China in 1945, and none of those which survived is in good condition, with the qualified exception of what's now Taoyuan Martyrs Shrine.

The most picturesque Shinto ruins are those above Jinguashi, near Keelung on Taiwan's northeast coast. The steps and base of another shrine (pictured above) can be found a few hundred metres from Fenqihu Train Station, in the highlands of Chiayi County, beside a short but delightful forest hiking trail. A different kind of quasi-religious relic from the Japanese era, now known as the Feng An Sanctum, stands in Tainan's Xinhua District.

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