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Beitou Park: A Century’s Worth of Joy and Pleasure

Old picture of Beitou Park from the Japanese Colonial EraAs the third oldest park in Taipei City (the first being Yuanshan Park and the second being the 228 Memorial Park), the Beitou Park was completed in 1913. Taking up an area of 3.98 hectares, it is also the first hot spring park in Taiwan.
 
Located right across from MRT Xinbeitou Station, the park is traversed by the Beitou Creek and is also the home to the Beitou branch of Taipei Public Library. It also contains a number of historical sites from earlier eras, including the Beitou Hot Spring Museum (former Beitou Public Bath), the Beitou Park Outdoor Hot Spring Bath, the Plum Garden, and the Beitou Stone Arch Bridge.
 
The original purpose for the construction of the park is to welcome then-crowned prince Hirohito to Taiwan. Other changes implemented in response to the royalty’s visit include the transformation of the Takenoyu bathing area into the Beitou Hot Spring Public Bath – which resembled a British Victorian-style building – and the overhaul of surrounding area into a park. The purpose for building the Xinbeitou Railroad (today’s Xinbeitou Branch Line) was to provide transportation for passengers visiting the hot springs.
 
Visitors at the park will also notice a circular-shape fountain at the entrance which performs an hourly water display. After undergoing numerous upgrades and overhauls, the fountain today is quite a sight to behold.
 
Meanwhile, the water fowl fountain at the center of the park was constructed after the completion of Beitou’s watercourse and life-supporting pool for the local disaster shelter. Despite the removal of the spout a number of years, it was restored in 2013 by city hall to recreate the familiar fountain scene which locals love. The third fountain in front of the library is a Japanese-style fountain which appeared in movies such as Turn Left, Turn Right.
 
The current Beitou Park Outdoor Hot Spring Bath (also known as the Millennium Bath) was built by city hall and opened to the public in 1999. Comprising a total of 6 pools, the admission fee is affordable, attracting large number of visitors who wish to soak in the Green Sulfur Spring. Also known as the “Beauty’s Spring,” green sulfur hot spring has a yellowish-white color and is effective for relieving muscle pain and chronical skin disease. Beitou and Japan’s Tamagawa are the only known places in the world which have green sulfur hot springs.