The quiet Confucius Temple honours China's most influential sage, scholar and philosopher. The temple is enclosed within a central courtyard, where buildings and gardens blend seamlessly. It is fashioned after the temple in Confucius’ hometown of Shandong in mainland China, and is a wonderful window into Taipei’s spiritual life.
Built in 1879 during the Qing Dynasty, the temple was destroyed during Japanese occupation of China decades later and rebuilt in 1927.
Enter through the Hong Gate with its swallow-tail ridge and walk over the Pan Bridge where the ornamental railings are shaped like bamboo with pillar heads like bush tops. Relax in gardens designed with harmonious feng shui principles. Simplicity, a principal value of Confucian teaching, is maintained in this temple through the limited use of adornments.
The main temple, Dacheng Hall, is one of the few traditional timber buildings in Taipei. Notice the seven-tiered pagoda on the roof; it’s designed to drive away evil spirits. The two vertical cylinders commemorate the people who hid their books in the roof when an early Chinese emperor sought to burn them. A black plaque with gold lettering highlights Confucius’ philosophy: Educate without Discrimination. Inside the hall, find delicate religious artefacts and many examples of Chinese musical instruments, including drums, bells and chiming stones. Notice the white stone pillars carved into coiled dragons.
If you are in Taipei in September, be sure to visit on September 28, the birthday of Confucius. Participate in chanting, drumming and feasting, rituals and ceremonies dating back to the Han Dynasty. Tickets go on sale a week in advance, so be sure to book early.
Confucius Temple is open Tuesdays to Sundays including national holidays. There are guided tours in Chinese, English, Japanese and Korean. Located on Dalong Street in the Datong District of Taipei City, the temple is easily accessible via bus or MRT train, stopping at Yuanshan station.