This small, atmospheric temple appears from the outside as a narrow, elaborate shopfront in the Ximending area. But walk through the gate and you'll find one of Taipei's most intriguing temples, a place where Japanese and Chinese worship patterns existed, and still exist, side by side.
The original Tianhou Temple (devoted to the goddess Matsu, also known as Tianhou, or the Empress of Heaven) was built in 1746, and demolished during the last years of Japanese rule to make way for a roadway. The current structure was erected in 1948 on the grounds of a former Japanese temple devoted to Hongfa Dashi. As you face the exit you can see a statue of Hongfa Dashi to the right, while on the left is a group of Jizō (the Ksitigarbha bodhisattva) statues. Even today many local worshippers will pray to the Japanese deities as they make their way round the temple.