Flower-viewing Fun in Hukou and Xinpu Romantic Tung Blossoms Present
Flower-viewing Fun in Hukou and Xinpu
Romantic Tung Blossoms Present
New Horizons of Pristine White World
Spring comes. Flowers bloom. Cherry and azaleas blossoms as well as many other flowers are everywhere. Then, at the time marking the transition from spring to summer, clusters of white flowers decorate the branches on the foothills in Hsinchu, announcing the arrival of the Tung flower season. It is high time for you to take a flower-viewing trip in the quaint Xinpu and Hukou, where flowers are now waiting for your appreciation.
Text ｜程品璿 Translator ｜鄭鳳珠 Photograph｜程品璿、施純泰 Photo Credits｜Vivian、A-Chi、ㄚ兔到處趣
Strolling on Hukou Old Street, you will see on both sides the buildings with a blend of architectural styles full of Baroque elements and Southern Fujian (Minnan) flavor. The archways and red brick arcades that have been baptized through so many years exude a unique atmosphere of simplicity and beauty. Walking leisurely from the head to the end of Old Street, you will find many cleverly crafted feature stores that merge traditional culture with cultural innovation. They are sending out a unique nostalgic and artistic ambience, making your trip even more memorable. Moreover, there are many featured trails around Hukou Old Street, including Renhe Trail, Hangqing Trail, Jinshi Ancient Trail, etc., each with its own styles and connecting one another in series.
Strolling on Renhe Trail to appreciate Tung blossoms
In March and April, the quiet Renhe Trail is flanked on either side with spring flowers creating a new ambience! Bathed in the green shower full of phytoncide, you feel fresh air passing through your heart and spleen. Strategically positioned for flower viewing, Renhe Trail is a 967-meter-long gentle mountain path paved with spacious stone steps, suitable for family outings. Walking under the tree shadows that keep the sunlight away and sensing the breeze that caresses your faces, you feel extremely comfortable to walk on this path, especially during the Hukou Tung Blossom Festival in late April, when Tung blossoms are in full bloom and their fallen flowers cover up the whole walkway for about one kilometer long. Indeed, it is this poetic and picturesque scenery of the mountain forest that always amazes its viewers, making them exclaim in joy!
In search of seclusion and beautiful scenery and forest bath on Jinshi Ancient Trail
So named because of its closeness to the famous Jinshi Temple in the neighborhood of Hukou Old Street, the Jinshi Ancient Trail, which used to be the main agricultural product transportation route between Xinpu and Hukou in the ancient time, has been renovated and paved with large cobblestones, making it much easier to walk on. It meets the Jinshi Temple Trail, another walkway mainly paved with stone steps, at the Yihe Villa under the valley to form an O-shaped loop walk.
If you take the Country Road Zhu 13-1 and turn into the Jinshi Temple, you will find two stone lion sculptures at the entrance, a spacious parking lot and a viewing deck in front of the temple. It is on this viewing deck that you can have an excellent view of the entire Hukou and Xinfeng areas. Going around the Jinshi Temple, you will see various kinds of flowers. As spring approaches and flowers bloom, you can appreciate the beauty of not only Tung blossoms but also blooming azaleas on the Jinshi Temple Trail.
Taking a slow and relaxing hike on Hangqing Trail
Hangqing Trail, located behind Old Street, is accessible from the Sanyuan Temple or the Catholic Church, with a green corridor connecting the east and west ends! Walking on this small and beautiful trail, most of which is paved with stone steps, you can enjoy the lush forests and rich ecology along the way. At the end of Hangqing Trail is Niucheyi Station, next to which is a vacant lot on which the Tank Park is planned for the joy of military fans and along whose roadside are purple flowers of China berry trees, adding a romantic ambience to the spring season.
In Hukou, you can not only stroll on the quaint Old Street, but also set foot on the trails in its neighborhood. In March, you can see Azaleas starting to bloom. In April, you can see the romantic purple flowers of China berry trees. In May, you can see Tung flowers drifting down like rain. All these colorful flowers always make Hukou look so vivid and lively.
Ecological exploration fun at Zhaomen Agricultural Recreation Area
Once in Xinpu, you must visit the Zhaomen Agricultural Recreation Area. This is a featured community that has been awarded the "Top Ten Rural Village" by the Council of Agriculture. Here, you can feel how local residents work together to turn their orchards into landscape restaurants and ecological education parks, forming an eco-tourism route connecting Chen Family's Farm, Liujiazhuang Restaurant, Jingu Farm and Pitangwo Ecological Park, where you can enjoy food, appreciate beautiful scenery and make kid toys by yourself.
Grown in Chen Family's Farm are many Formosan Ash trees, which attract unicorn beetles to perch for food, and a variety of nectariferous plants such as Kusukusu Eupatorium and Mimosa Pudica (African Touch-me-not), which are the favorite of swallowtail butterflies and milkweed butterflies, thus often forming a grand dancing party attended by flocks of butterflies. In addition, Chen Family’s Farm also offers another signature activity, the DIY experience programs, in which you can practice making lei cha (pounded tea), pounding mochi, creative pizza, and nostalgic kid toys such as bamboo flute, bamboo dragonfly, and hand-knitted toys by green foxtail grass.
To the right of Chen Family’s Farm is the Jiyue Trail, one of Xinpu’s most popular attractions for viewing Tung flowers. Jiyue Trail, which has a gentle slope and is easy to walk on, always attracts many hikers. Although it takes only 40 minutes to complete the journey, you can slow down to admire the beautiful scenery of Tung blossoms along the way, pass through the green tunnel, and enjoy the tranquil time in nature.
Exploring Painted Lanes of Literature and Art
Xinpu is famous for clan ancestral temples. The lantern festivals for Sky Mending Day held here in recent years have also made the mark for the township. Moreover, the government has in recent years begun to promote the theme of "three streets, six alleys and nine clan ancestral temples", under which historical buildings are used to connect life and art and culture, while public art is applied to link Xinpu's featured corridors, each of which hides the old memories of Xinpu residents growing up there.
Artist-in-residence Cheng-min Lu has used the mosaic murals to narrate the stories of Xinpu. He has successively created mosaic wall art images on Lantern Alley, Animation Alley, Battle Alley, and Dark Fragrant Alley. Loving the bright color and light in Impressionism, Cheng-min Lu has made those mosaic murals on the streets and lanes in Xinpu to pay tribute to the Impressionist artists. At first glance, you may feel dazzled but will eventually see the image codes hidden in the pictures when viewing them from a distance or from another angle. In addition, on Xinpu Old Street, there are also many old shops cratering Hakka ban tiao (flat rice noodles), which are among the lists of gourmet meals for local people. Come to have a taste so as to also remember the beauty of Xinpu with the tip of your tongue!
The locals are used to calling it "Fire Station Ban Tiao" or "Old Village Chief Ban Tiao". Dry ban tiao and stewed dishes are very popular, always making the store a full house of customers on holidays.
Address: No. 3, Guanghe Road, Xinpu Township, Hsinchu County
Sunrise Hakka Veggies
Formerly known as "Sunrise Restaurant", it is a classic old cafe that late president Chiang Ching-kuo visited three times. It has already changed to sell vegetarian foods. Its signature dishes are fried ban tiao with kimchi and Sunrise frozen jelly.
Address: No. 329, Zhongzheng Road, Xinpu Township, Hsinchu County
Founded in 1941, it has been passed down to the fourth generation, and it can be said to be the oldest ban tiao eatery in town. The deliciousness of fried ban tiao and wonton soup makes people visit it again and again.
Address: No. 678, Zhongzheng Road, Xinpu Township, Hsinchu County
Old-fashioned Ban Tiao
Known as "the old shop among the old shops", it offers a menu listing foods which are quaint, simple, refreshing and non-greasy. Its signature dishes are soup ban tiao and braised dishes, both of which have the old taste of grandpa.
Address: No. 429, Zhongzheng Road, Xinpu Township, Hsinchu County
Suggested Two-Day Itineraries
Renhe Trail ➡ Jinshi Ancient Trail ➡ Hukou Old Street ➡ Tank Park ➡ Overnight stay at Hostel Little Stars
Chen Family’s Farm ➡ Jiyue Trail ➡Japanese Park ➡ Xinpu Old Street ➡ Back home
Renhe Trail, which is covered by piles of Tonghua flowers, looks extremely beautiful.
The secluded Jinshi Temple Trail is a good place to appreciate Tung blossoms in Hsinchu.
Grown on the farm are a variety of nectariferous plants, which attract butterflies for food in summer.
Painted Lanes crafted by Cheng-min Lu have a strong artistic atmosphere, reciting the old memories of Xinpu residents.
On Chen’s Family Farm, you can make lei cha (pounded tea) in person, and children are also enjoying themselves very much.