MangoVine
Adventures in East Asia

Ximending, The Shibuya of Taipei

Historically, Ximending, a series of streets around Ximen MRT station, was previously a marshy land cleared by the Japanese and redeveloped as a shopping and recreational hub.

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Japanese Influence

The Japanese flavour seems to have remained to the present day, as we found ourselves on our first night in Taipei wandering along streets seemingly influenced by Japanese retail. Shibuya to be exact, where even street decor has been added by the city to evoke the Tokyo shopping district.

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There are plenty of clothes and accessory shops selling colourful, cute and cheerful youth fashion merchandise and of course, the Japanese icon herself, Hello Kitty, makes a few appearances.

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The shops are fronted with plenty of neon signs that evoke Tokyo as well as perhaps other major East Asian cities - certainly Hong Kong. The Japanese touch was evident in the naming of establishments such as the Shinjuku Plaza below.

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The odd group of youths demonstrated a manga sensibility with their styling.

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Prize Grabbing Crane Games

More common were the ubiquitous crane game shops which we found weren't offering as much value as Japanese ones (more expensive with less impressive prizes). You can read some tips we found with the Japanese crane games in our previous post.

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Uniquely, the Taiwanese crane games did promise that after entering enough credits to cover the prize cost, players would be given unlimited chances with the crane to win.

Food at Ximending

Food places reminded us more of Hong Kong with rougher and readier seating and functional kitchen displays in contrast to a sense of neatness that we felt in Tokyo.

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As the night got busier, the pedestrianised streets of Ximending also filled with street hawkers mostly selling food.

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Like the Hong Kong I remember a decade ago, the cat-and-mouse lives of these vendors meant they were constantly on the watch for the street police. This woman below is hiding out in a side alley off one of the main shopping streets of Ximending.

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More often than not, we found them rushing off with their carts down side alleys whilst a lone policeman on a bike came cruising along.

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This entry posted in : Attractions. Food. Shopping. Taiwan. Tourism.

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