Ximending ( Taiwanese POJ: Se-mn̂g-teng; Romaji: Seimon-chō; sometimes Ximenting) is a
neighborhood in the Wanhua District of
historical spelling of this area was Hsimenting
which is based on the Wade-Giles
romanization of Mandarin Chinese
The use of the character 町 is unusual in a Chinese context; It is a
(a part of a ward
) in the Japanese municipality system
Ximending in Taiwan usually refers to Ximending in Wanhua District,
Taipei City. This area is in the northeastern part of Wanhua
District in Taipei City and it is also the most important consumer
district in the Western District of Taipei. The well-known
Ximending Pedestrian Area was the first pedestrian area built in
Taipei and is the largest in Taiwan. Ximending generally
refers to the area surrounded by Zhonghua
Road, Kangding Road,
Hankou Street, and Chengdu
Since many bus lines gather in Zhonghua Road, Ximending is also an
important area for bus transfers.
Ximending is also accessible via exit 6 of Taipei Metro Ximen Station
and the future Songshan Line
The trendy shopping district of
Ximending is a popular gathering place for young people.
The Ximending Pedestrian Area is named after the administrative
division Seimon-chō (西門町), which existed during Japanese rule
. The area of
Seimon-chō included modern-day Chengdu Road (成都路), Xining South
Road (西寧南路), Kunming Street (昆明街), and Kangding Road (康定路).
However, today the Ximending Pedestrian Area not only includes
Seimon-chō but also Wakatake-chō (若竹町) and Shinki-chō (新起町).
The name of Ximending was derived from its position outside the
west gate of Taipei City. In the beginning during Japanese rule,
Ximending was an area of wilderness, through which there was a road
connecting the west gate of Taipei to the town of Bangka
. Later, the Japanese decided to follow the
example of Asakusa in Tokyo to set up an entertainment and business
earliest entertainment facilities constructed included the
Taihokuza in 1897, Eiza (now called New Wanguo Market) in 1902, and
the Red House
Theater in 1908.
Ximending at night
Ximending became a well-known theater street in Taipei in the 1930s
and grew even more prosperous after the defeat of Japan. In the
1950s, every theater was full to capacity and scalpers ran wild.
Gradually, more theaters opened one after another; At one point,
Wuchang St Section 1 had over ten theaters. However, in the 1990s,
as Taipei City developed toward the Eastern District
and away from
Ximending, it began to lose business. In 1999, the city government
and local stores established Ximending as a pedestrian area,
prohibiting the entrance of vehicles on weekends and national
holidays, a move that attracted young consumers and brought back
business. Today, Ximending has over twenty theaters and six
thousand vendors, and is a popular area for small concerts, album
launches, and street performances.
Ximending attracts an average of over 3 million shoppers per month.
It has been called the "Harajuku
Taipei. The local bookstores sell Japanese magazines, books, CD
albums, and clothing, making it a haven for the "Harizu", or
Japanese culture adorers. Individual vendors gather in the streets
as well as the large business buildings, such as Wannien Department
Store and Shizilin Square in the early days, and Wanguo Department
Store and Eslite 116 in the later period.
Due to the density of young people, Ximending is comparable to
Shilin Market and the Eastern District to be areas with the highest
crime rates. In addition, Ximending is well-known for student prostitution