The most important of Wanhua’s “big three” temples (the others being Qingshui and Qingshan), Longshan Temple (龍山寺; lóngshān sì) is the ideal place to soak up Taiwan’s vibrant religious traditions. Located a block north of Longshan Temple MRT Station across Mangka Park, the temple was established in 1738 (making it Taipei’s oldest), renovated 1919–1924 and partially rebuilt after US bombing destroyed much of the complex during World War II. It’s principally a Buddhist temple dedicated to the Bodhisattva Guanyin, but there are more than a hundred deities worshipped here, mostly from the Taoist pantheon.

The main entrance on Guangzhou Street borders a pleasant courtyard, replete with artificial waterfall on the right-hand side. Before entering the temple proper, take a look at the two dragon pillars outside the Front Hall, the only bronze pair in Taiwan. Once inside you’ll see prayer tables and worshippers facing the Main Hall in the centre where Guanyin is enshrined – the principal image of the goddess has proved virtually indestructible over the years, surviving local conflicts, earthquakes and even the US bombing. Note the two gold censers (incense burners) in front of the hall, with their vivid cast images of “silly barbarians lifting a corner of the temple”, supposedly eighteenth-century depictions of the Dutch. This is the busiest part of the temple, but the deity-packed Rear Hall also receives a steady stream of visitors. The goddess Mazu is worshipped in the centre and fringed by guāngmíng lights, each representing a donation made in the hope of attracting good fortune. To the far right is a separate shrine dedicated to the gods of literature, primarily Wenchang Dijun in the middle, patronized by students and anxious parents at examination time. Guan Di occupies the shrine on the far left and in front of this in a side hall is a newer altar dedicated to the Matchmaker, a sort of Chinese cupid.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Taiwan features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Taiwan beyond Taipei: venturing off the tourist trail

Taiwan beyond Taipei: venturing off the tourist trail

Taiwan, the place the Portuguese once called the “beautiful island”, has long been Asia’s forgotten country. And yet it is home to a trove of national par…

20 Jun 2018 • Mike MacEacheran local_activity Special feature
Cool Taipei: 8 tips for exploring the city

Cool Taipei: 8 tips for exploring the city

As the only democracy in the Chinese speaking world and the most progressive city for LGBTQ+ rights in Asia, a legacy of artists and activists have worked to ma…

12 Apr 2018 • Colt St. George insert_drive_file Article
10 street foods you need to try in Taiwan

10 street foods you need to try in Taiwan

Taiwanese xiǎochī, or “small eats”, are justly famed, and no trip would be complete without several street food feasts. Night markets are among the best …

11 Nov 2015 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Privacy Preference Center

Necessary

Mandatory - can not be deselected. Necessary cookies help make a website usable by enabling basic functions like page navigation and access to secure areas of the website. The website cannot function properly without these cookies.

PHPSESSID,aelia_cs_selected_currency,cookie_notice_accepted,RS,bp-message,bp-message-type,id,UIDR,w3tc_logged_out,__cfduid
__cfduid

Statistics

Statistic cookies help website owners to understand how visitors interact with websites by collecting and reporting information anonymously.

__utma,__utmb,__utmc,__utmz,_ga,_gid,__atssc,__atuvc,__atuvs,di,dt,ssc,ssh,sshs,uid,uit,xt
__utma,__utmb,__utmc,__utmz,_ga,_gid
__atssc,__atuvc,__atuvs,di,dt,ssc,ssh,sshs,uid,uit,xtc

Marketing

Marketing cookies are used to track visitors across websites. The intention is to display ads that are relevant and engaging for the individual user and thereby more valuable for publishers and third party advertisers.

__gads,PISID, BEAT, CheckConnection TempCookie703, GALX, GAPS, GoogleAccountsLocale_session, HSID, LSID, LSOSID, NID, PREF, RMME, S, SAPISID, SID, SSID,__utmv, _twitter_sess, auth_token, auth_token_session, external_referer, guest_id, k, lang, original_referer, remember_checked, secure_session, twid, twll,c_user, datr, fr, highContrast, locale, lu, reg_ext_ref, reg_fb_gate, reg_fb_ref, s, wd, xs
__gads,PISID, BEAT, CheckConnection TempCookie703, GALX, GAPS, GoogleAccountsLocale_session, HSID, LSID, LSOSID, NID, PREF, RMME, S, SAPISID, SID, SSID
__utmv, _twitter_sess, auth_token, auth_token_session, external_referer, guest_id, k, lang, original_referer, remember_checked, secure_session, twid, twll
c_user, datr, fr, highContrast, locale, lu, reg_ext_ref, reg_fb_gate, reg_fb_ref, s, wd, xs