Today we’re in Jiji, Nantou County, and the theme of this trip is “tunnels.”
To get to Jiji, you can take a train. The Jiji line starts at Ershui Station, which is in Changhua. You can pay by tagging on and off with an Easycard or iPass.
Railroads in the very beginning were built to transport not people, but resources. The Jiji branch line was first built for transporting sugar canes, then it was widened for camphor, bananas and building materials for a dam in the 1930’s during the Japanese occupation.
The dam at Sun Moon Lake was built to generate electricity, and the scale of the construction was huge and the local office anticipated that the emperor would visit, so they built a station house for this stop on the railroad.
This is Jiji’s famous “green tunnel,” on both sides of the road are camphor trees. These were planted in 1940 when Japan celebrated the 2,600 year of its founding. Each household was asked to plant three trees, and camphor being the valuable and native resource that it is, was the tree of choice for Jiji residents.
At the stop after Jiji, you’ll find the Shuili Snake Kiln, our other tunnel.
Because from far away it looks like a snake, that seems to have just had a feast, people called this kind of kiln a “snake kiln.” Another reason for the name is, in Taiwanese the counter for long objects has the same sound as “snake,” and the counter word later became mixed with the reptile and the name stuck.
Jiji might not sound like much. But it's not just a small town with lots of banana snacks. It’s amazing culturally and historically. I had so much fun learning about what camphor trees were used for, how the station house was built, why it was built and about the snake kiln and the people it served. The green tunnel is beautiful and the stories are so interesting. You should come!

鐵道之旅 南投集集漫遊趣