Cherry blossoms @ Tian Yuan Temple (天元宮)

It kind of looks like the cherry blossoms are
growing out of my head!
Cherry blossoms are even more beautiful on
a sunny morning.
When I went to Tokyo, I missed the cherry blossoms there by a couple of weeks. Due to my schedule, I had no choice. Nonetheless, I don't regret it because Danshui is home to many cherry blossom trees in the mountains at the base of the scenic Tian Yuan Temple (tianyuan gong; 天元宮).

Every year, the flowers draw massive crowds from Taipei. Luckily, I lived 10 minutes away from the temple, so I could hop on the bus there without a hassle. However, the trip could take hours depended where you're coming from. If Taipei is your starting point, take the MRT to Danshui Station and take bus 875 of the cherry blossom viewing express straight to the temple. Naturally, the express only exists during cherry blossom season, yet the lines are long - extremely long. At the peak of cherry blossom season, they are even long on weekdays! However, the weekday crowd is definitely smaller than the weekend hoard.

The ride up the mountain to Tian Yuan Temple is fun, and the sights are majestic. One thing I love about the greater Taipei area are the rural pockets of semi-isolated communities and farm land. The morning I made my pilgrimage to the temple, it was gorgeous outside which significantly enhanced the view. I wasn't traveling far from home, but I still felt I was going on vacation. Once you're in northern Danshui's mountains, it feels like you're in a completely different city.

This was one of the few darker cherry blossom trees.
This statue stands at the base of the
temple compound.
Tian Yuan Temple includes an expansive garden with a variety of flowers. Although I never visited the temple outside of cherry blossom season, I'm sure the grounds are beautiful even when the blossoms aren't in bloom. Flowers aside, the temple, a gorgeous five story structure, is mesmerizing on the inside and out. I love the vibrant colors on the exterior and the statures on each floor of the interior. Climbing up to the top floor is great exercise and might work up a sweat! However, the view is certainly worth the effort.

The temple is actually about a two to three minute
walk from the parking lot.

Walking under a canopy of cherry blossoms
is like being in a fairytale!
The flowers look a bit like cotton candy, right?

The circular shape of Tian Yuan Temple
reminds me of the Temple of Heaven in Beijing.
The detailing on the roof is gorgeous.

I loved the rainbow detailing on this ceiling.
I wonder if it relates to the Buddhist concept of the "rainbow body."
The doors looked like they belonged in a castle.
I am not familiar with the names of any of the gods represented by the statues in the temple, but I felt they were magnificent nonetheless:

As the grounds are expansive, there is plenty of room for photo-ops!
If you visit the temple on a hot day like I did,
you can enjoy the shade under one of the many
canopies and pagodas on the grounds.
I really enjoyed my morning stroll through the Tian Yuan Temple grounds and climbing up to the top of the temple to take in the view of Danshui from the mountains. I'd say it's definitely worth a visit, especially during cherry blossom season. However, I'm not sure if I would have had the patience to make the trip if I didn't live in Danshui. The line for the bus at Danshui station was extremely long, a little over an hour wait. It takes about an hour or more from most places in Taipei to get to Danshui, so if you aren't close to Danshui already, it might be smart to make the trip early in the morning.

Another obligatory shot by the flowers.
Below is footage from my visit. Enjoy!

No comments:

Post a Comment