Taipei Confucius Temple

Confucian Temple in Zhongshan & Datong
Image by Daniel Aguilera / Getty Images
Image by Daniel Aguilera / Getty Images

Constructed by the famous Fujian craftsman Wang Yi-shun in the late 1920s, this temple is a beautiful example of Minnan-style architecture and of Taiwan's delightful decorative arts. There are no statues or imagery of the great sage – where you would expect one there is a spirit tablet. There are informative displays (in English) on the history of Confucius, the temple and the Six Confucian Arts (including archery and riding); many are interactive and fun for inquisitive children (open 9am to 5pm).

Also recommended are the free Confucius-themed shows in the 4D cinema. Nine screenings (first one at 10am, last at 4pm) are held throughout the day. On Saturdays at 10am, the temple stages traditional performances in the main hall (Dacheng Hall). English audio guides are also available.

Confucius' birthday is celebrated on 28 September with a 6am ceremony presided over by the mayor of Taipei. It's a colourful event and free tickets are handed out several days before the event. If you miss out, you can line up at 5.30am on the day itself to try and bag a spare.

The grounds and main temple hall are open until 9pm, but the exhibitions in the side rooms close at 5pm.