Just 45 minutes out of Taipei by train, YingGe is home to Taiwan’s early ceramics industry. The heavy smoke from the kilns has gone, but Old Street and the Ceramics Museum offer a great mix of commerce and culture.
Here’s a simple itinerary for a day’s visit to YingGe:
Arriving at YingGe mid-morning, walk around the pottery shops along YingGe’s Old Street. Enjoy a simple western lunch at the stylish Fortune and Wealth Pottery Place Art Restaurant at No. 96-98 Cheng Street. After lunch, get acquainted with the history of Taiwan’s ceramics industry with a 2-3 hour visit to the Ceramics Museum (closed on Mondays). Enjoy a coffee in the museum mid-afternoon, before wandering the grounds outside.
To get to YingGe, take the train from Taipei Main Station, then make the 10 minute walk to Old Street. To get to the ceramics museum from Old Street, follow the walkway over the railway line down the hill to the back of the museum. Weekdays should be pretty quiet and less touristy. More activities occur along Old Street and at the museum on weekends, but the place can feel overcrowded. You can hire headphones for an audio tour, or follow the English descriptions placed throughout the museum. There are often guest exhibitions of other countries’ ceramics too. For refreshments, there is a café on both the basement level of the museum (which serves light food) and on the third floor which only does tea or coffee.
Check out the Ceramics Park at the back of the museum and its outdoor displays based along on themes of Water, Wind, Earth and Fire.
Something for the kids
There are quite a few places in YingGe, both near the station, Old Street and at the museum that offer pottery classes for kids. You can buy pre-made pots and paint them or you can start from scratch with a blob of clay to really get your hands dirty.
The museum offers classes that structure a creative process around designing a type of plate. You can even get your finished product fired in a kiln, but you’ll need to collect your work about 1 month later.