The JIJI BRANCH RAIL LINE (集集線鐵道; jíjíxiàn tiědào) beginning southeast of Changhua and stretching 29.5km to an old depot near Sun Moon Lake, is one of the country’s four narrow-gauge railways that have been preserved for tourists. It chugs its way through tranquil countryside, stopping at a handful of historic towns that offer glimpses of a Taiwan that is fast disappearing. Much of the area is linked by easily navigable bike paths and dotted with a growing number of family-run homestays, many in restored traditional homes.

First opened in 1922 by the occupying Japanese to transport construction materials to Sun Moon Lake, the railway begins in the quaint town of Ershui – about thirty minutes by train from Changhua – and runs west through Jiji and Shuili before terminating in the rustic old village of Checheng, just south of Sun Moon Lake.

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