From the moment it was first released, Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away became a timeless classic, and decades later, the movie still enthralls adults and children alike to this day. It's hard to forget the film's stunning and moody setting- a mystical bathhouse attended by spirits and lit with glowing red tea lanterns.
Although it was never officially confirmed, many believe the location in the film was inspired by a real-life place: Jiufen, Taiwan. Travel vloggers Ewa and Jeremy, aka @nom_life, visited Jiufen- and the resemblance to the Ghibli classic is uncanny.
Even if its influence was never officially confirmed, it's hard to deny how closely the locations in Spirited Away resemble the lantern-lit streets and serene tea houses of Jiufen. The Yu Zai Fan Shu Tea Stall is a true hidden gem in its own right, too- how many establishments require you to walk through a 'secret' hidden tunnel to get there? So cool!
Still, it's worth going off of the beaten path to pay it a visit, as you'll be treated to fragrant tea, delicious food, and incredible views of the surrounding countryside. And as Ewa says, unlike Chihiro's parents in the film, you won't turn into a pig from eating here!
Naturally, people were entranced by the cinematically dreamy Taiwanese town. "I’ve been out-Taiwanesed! Didn’t know about this tunnel or tea house," admitted @floofydaisy. "You’re selling it, I wanna go," exclaimed @annaaaaaho. "I went here in 2014. Totally lives up to the hype. I'd go again," vouched @rick481.
Taiwan's beauty stands on its own, and while its resemblance to Spirited Away will likely trigger nostalgia in those who grew up with the film, you certainly don't need to be an anime lover to appreciate the timeless, serene beauty of Jiufen. If you ever get the chance to visit Taiwan, don't pass up the chance to pay a visit to this uniquely gorgeous little town!
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