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Special Industries

A look at the prosperous old days

Sun Moon Lake was a part of Shuishalian in the past. Due to its superb geographical location and mild weather, the area not only boasts plentiful harvests, but is home to a range of industries. The wood of Checheng, the unique pottery of Shuili’s Snake Kiln, and the handmade paper and liquor of Puli are all worth some appreciation. Explore the region’s special industries and nearby tourist attractions, while taking a look at Sun Moon Lake’s prosperous old days!

Handmade paper in Puli

Puli has a rich water supply, and it is easy for people to acquire the materials needed for making paper locally. Thus, in 1935, during the Japanese Rule, the Japanese started building paper factories in Puli, and used the “flow sheet-forming” method to make paper. This marked the start of the handmade paper industry in Puli.

At first, only cotton paper and rice paper were created. Later on, owing to the improvement of paper-making machineries and processing skills, as well as the use of flax and wood pulp, Puli’s paper industry grew rapidly. By 1970, Puli’s paper industry reached its peak. There were as many as 50 paper factories in Puli, which exported paper to countries like Japan and South Korea, as well as Southeast Asia.

However, as time goes by and trends rise and fall, Puli’s paper industry has now turned into a combination of culture and tourism. At Guang Xing Paper Mill, Puli Paper Museum, and Puli Paper Church, people not only can enjoy making paper, but also learn about the art and culture of paper. Come and have a close look at Puli’s paper industry at its peak.

Yuchi’s black tea and coffee

Located at the center of Taiwan, Shuishalian is characterized by layers of mountains and hills, where Taiwanese tea is grown.

During the Japanese Rule, researchers already found out that black tea was the most popular tea around the globe. Assam black tea was then introduced to Taiwan for boosting its economy and exports. Maolanshan by the Sun Moon Lake was suitable for growing black tea, as it had a wealth of mists and dews of the lake. Taiwan Tea Experiment Station was thus established in Maolanshan. Soon after, Yuchi and Puli became the main regions for planting black tea.

There is a vast range of tea in Taiwan. EETS No. 8, EETS No. 18 (“Hong Yu,” meaning “red jade” in Mandarin), and EETS No. 21 (“Hong Yun,” meaning “red resonance” in Mandarin) are the most popular ones.

Other than black tea, Yuchi’s coffee has received major international awards in recent years. Many tourists have come to Yuchi for coffee since then. And Yuchi Township Office now devotes to promoting its coffee, and it holds specialty coffee competitions that are zealously embraced by the public. Aside from having a pot of hot black tea in Yuchi, be sure to have a cup of fresh, locally produced coffee if you come to the Sun Moon Lake!


Nantou’s pottery industry dates back to 1796. The potteries were made as useful everyday ware, with a simple, unadorned touch. As Shuishalian was rich with clay and wood during the Japanese Rule, the pottery industry expanded to areas such as Jiji, Shuili, and Yuchi.The potteries were made mainly in “snake kilns,” and they were sold to all parts of Taiwan. Those were the golden days of the region’s pottery industry. Later on, traditional potteries were replaced by factory-made, mass-produced ones. The region’s pottery industry thus declined.

In recent years, traditional kilns transformed themselves to be cultural parks. Visitors can try pottery DIYs at drop-in classes, and tours of traditional kilns are also available. Come and learn about the high time of the traditional pottery kilns.

Railways and the logging industry

In the 1960s, for transporting wood from Danda, Checheng became the area’s most important wood processing and distribution depot. The logging industry not only made Checheng prosper. Shuili, Checheng and Jiji were hailed together as “small Taipei.”

As time went by, the logging industry declined, and Jiji Railway was turned into Taiwan’s first tourist railway in 1994. Now tourists can take retro-style trains and immerse themselves in the nostalgic Checheng Train Station, known as the last stop of Jiji Railway. Take a walk and explore the fabulous old logging culture there!


Textiles by indigenous people: the indigenous tribes in Shuishalian include Thao, Bunun, Atayal, and Seediq. The tribal women in the region are good at making textiles, and Thao people’s “dagobum,” a special textile pattern, is especially famous. Traditional indigenous textiles are made of ramie and plant-based dye. Nowadays, indigenous people use synthetic fabrics with creative elements to make a range of handicrafts. Tourists can enjoy craft tours, too, which allow them to have look at Taiwan’s indigenous craftsmanship.

Bamboo crafts and bamboo charcoals:With a vast variety of bamboo to use, Shuishalian is a hub for bamboo artists. Bamboo crafts are practical and beautiful. As to charcoals, they can be used to reduce humidity and eliminate odor. Bamboo vinegar is a side product of charcoals. It can serve as sterilizer or mosquito repellent. These bamboo products are not only loved by the Japanese. They contributed to the birth of a bamboo industry in the region.

Natural paint and lacquer crafts:Natural paint is a precious material. Craftspersons like to make gilded lacquer paintings, lacquerware, carved lacquer, and basket lacquerware with it.


With its mild weather and sweet water, Puli serves as a magnificent place for brewing liquor. After WWII, the Kuomintang government continued with the tobacco and liquor monopoly of the Japanese Rule, and successfully brewed “Taiwan Shaoxing liquor.” Since then, Puli Shaoxing Brewery has been making Taiwan Shaoxing liquor only. Today, the liquor is the most famous and popular of its kind in Taiwan.

Nowadays, Puli Shaoxing Brewery has even become a major tourist attraction. The government now allows private companies to brew liquor, too. Since Shuishalian is blessed with a mild climate and fertile land, the brewery sector has grown steadily. The local breweries provide a wide range of liquor for customers to choose from. Visitors can enjoy such diversity, while having fun with DIY wine-brewing.

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