For most people, the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of Beitou, is the hot springs, but Beitou actually offers more than just hot springs. The Beitou district covers part of the Tatun Volcano Group and the Guandu Plain, and the diversity of the landscape has contributed to Beitou’s special features. In particular, the volcano group has brought abundant natural resources to Beitou and created the famous hot springs. Its natural resources have driven the development of its recreational and entertainment industries, which in turn has led to the flourishing of the arts and humanities, attracting tourists from all regions. The ongoing presence of visitors and the continuous efforts of community residents have kept Beitou young and energetic. This exhibition area is divided into three parts: "Fertile Beitou," "LOHAS Beitou," and "Historical Beitou." It introduces Beitou's unique beauty and people’s various impressions of it based on aspects of its natural resources, leisure and entertainment, and history and culture. It also invites the visitors to gain a better understanding of this place.
This exhibition section, titled “The Heritage of Beitou,” introduces four local masters in Beitou: Hong Lai-wang, known for his exquisite crafting of intricate lion heads ;Wang Jin-ying, a famous Taiwanese opera singer; Chen Ming-chang, internationally acclaimed for his yueqin mastery and songwriting; and Lai Shih-kuei, who has won international awards for his pyrography works. In addition to their exquisite and innovative creations, these four masters have also used Beitou as their home base to impart their legacy through teaching and promotion, and to extend and develop the artistic and cultural energy of Beitou. Now, we invite you to enjoy the elegant style of these masters, see what inspiration Beitou has brought to them, and how their skills have enriched the local culture of Beitou.
In 1896, hot spring hotels such as Songtaoyuan and Tiangouan opened for business and the hot spring industry began a gradual rise. These hotels and clubs introduced traditional hotel systems along with Japanese geishas. The area of Shinhokuto (now Xinbeitou), like many hot spring sites in Japan, was a famous, upscale recreational area. After the end of World War II, the Nationalist government retreated to Taiwan from China and did not impose a ban on the operational model of Xinbeitou hot spring business, which had developed into an entertainment during the period of Japanese rule. Instead, it issued rules and regulations for management. Since then, Beitou has not only been a place for drinking and pleasure, but was also a must-see attraction for Japanese tourists in the 1960s and 1970s, as well as a holiday spot for U.S. military soldiers during the Vietnam War. By the time prostitution was abolished in 1979, Beitou was regarded as a “pleasure land” in Taiwan.
The Beitou Hot Spring Museum, formerly known as the Hokuto Public Bathhouse (Beitou Public Bathhouse), underwent changes through different eras, from the public baths during the Japanese rule to the Zhongshan House and KMT Service Center after the war. However, the building was eventually closed and abandoned due to the intermittent change of the competent authority. The Beitou Hot Spring Museum is like a huge treasure box of time, holding the people's collective memories and spirit of different eras, standing quietly beside the Beitou Stream, accompanying and witnessing the historical development of Beitou. You’ll see old photographs of the Beitou Hot Spring Museum and its surroundings exhibited on the left and right sides of the area, guiding visitors to pick up the historical fragments scattered over time.
In 1994, a group of teachers and students from Beitou Elementary School discovered that the Beitou Public Bathhouse (Hokuto Public Bathhouse) had been abandoned for nearly seven years in the process of collecting materials during homeland teaching. With the efforts of society, it was finally classified as a Class III Historic Monument in 1997 (now a municipal monument due to the amendment of the legal system). After renovation, it was reopened in 1998 under the name of the Beitou Hot Spring Museum. The Beitou Hot Spring Museum no longer provides bath services, but instead introduces the history of Beitou and hot springs to the public in order to revitalize and renew the public spirit of the facility. This section introduces the history of the transformation from a public bathhouse to a hot spring museum and its architectural beauty, and presents the Beitou Ecomuseum with interactive maps.
Local musician Chen Ming-chang organizes all kinds of activities, including lectures, performances, exhibitions and workshops to contribute to the preservation and promotion of yueqin (moon guitar) culture. 2013 was the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Beitou Public Bathhouse. The Taiwan Yueqin Folk Song Association, artist Yang Yeh and installation artist Aguce worked as a team to organize the event. The exhibition included activities such as painting of music instruments and installation art, and the event organizers donated a "Best Wishes from the Space-Time Box" No.100 Memorial Moon Guitar to the museum, leaving a mark on the 100th anniversary.
"Taki" is a Japanese term for a waterfall descending along a multilevel riverbed. There are five taki in the Beitou Stream. Before the formal development of Beitou's hot spring industry, most people took a dip directly in the open-air hot springs there, which can be said was the beginning of Beitou's bath culture. The Beitou Stream is home to the rare mineral hokutolite. Hokutolite is created as the green sulfur hot springs and the waterfalls or “taki” descend into the thermal valley--the main source of the Beitou Stream. Hokutolite is not only the only mineral named after a location in Taiwan but is also considered a Beitou Stream treasure because it takes a long time to form and is endowed with special properties.
Among more than 4,000 minerals in the world, the only toponym named after a Taiwanese place is Hokutolite, which is produced when the green sulfur hot spring water from Hell Valley passes over lands of the Beitou Stream. The environment and conditions required to create Hokutlite are therefore unique. It takes about 120 years for a single centimeter of Hokulite to crystalize; hence, it is fairly rare. A piece of Hokutolite weighing 800 kilograms is the most precious collection of the Beitou Hot Spring Museum.
Beitou, in which numerous talents gather, has cultivated many master artists who enrich the cultural foundation of Beitou with their high level of artistic quality. This installation art suspends the memory objects that carry craftsmanship and cultural development of the masters on top of a hundred-year-old bathing pool in dimension crossing times and spaces. Through the changes in the ripples, it reflexes the flying and shuttling ancient words and is an emotional story that praises the love and care that these masters have for this land.
[Image‧Tribute – Big Bathing Pool Installation Art Exhibition]
Add: No. 2, Zhongshan Road, Beitou District, Taipei City
Opening Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Tuesday–Sunday)
Closed on Mondays and national holidays (open if the national holiday falls on a weekend)
MRT/Take the Tamsui-Xinyi (red) MRT Line to Beitou Station, then transfer to the Xinbeitou Branch Line and get off at Xinbeitou Station.
Bus/Take bus number 216, 216 (Shuttle), 218, 218 (Shuttle), 266, or S22 to Beitou Park Stop.
This building is designated as a Municipal Monument. To help us preserve this valuable cultural asset as well as for the safety and quality of your visit, please abide by the following rules: