Yonglian, Baohe and Dazhong temples are all located in the vicinity of the area officially known as “Lujhou temple entry commercial community” in New Taipei City’s Lujhou District, which at night transforms into a bustling night market. The nominal commercial district, however, lacks the unique characteristics that would typically draw in tourists. The New Taipei City Government will be guiding local industries this year in using Lujhou’s shenjiang (heavenly generals) culture to develop creative products, hopefully putting the area on par with the market area surrounding Senso-ji — a temple in Japan dedicated to Kannon (Avalokitesvara) — and turning the commercial district into a New Taipei City landmark.
New Taipei City Economic Development Department Deputy Director-General Huang Cheng-cheng says that the Lujhou commercial district near the temples is concentrated at the intersection of Chenggong Rd and Desheng St and neighbors Sanmin Senior High School MRT Station, giving the area strong development potential. Last year the local government assisted the Lujhou District Commercial District Prosperity Association in applying for local industry development funding from the Ministry of Economic Affairs. An educational program will be set up to help innovate traditional industries by infusing them with shenjiang imagery, introducing creative and design concepts, and offering classes on related subjects.
Huang Chin-fu, president of the association, says that since the MRT Luzhou (Lujhou) Line opened it has definitely brought more visitors to the commercial district surrounding the temples. It is a pity that the number of return visits, however, is kept so low because the area has nothing locally that would attract tourists from other areas, Huang says. He also hopes that the century-long history of local shenjiang culture can be used to create a distinguishable imagery and even become part of a cultural symbolism that belongs uniquely to New Taipei City.
1. bustling adj.
(huo2 yue4 de5; mang2 luan4 de5; xi1 rang3 de5)
例: This ghost town was a bustling city of miners in the 19th century.
2. distinguishable adj.
(ke3 qu1 bie2 de5; ke3 bian4 bie2 de5)
例: As far as pop songs go, this one isn’t that distinguishable from the rest of the lot.
3. souvenir n.
伴手禮；紀念品 (ban4 shou2 li3; ji4 nian4 pin3)
例: Although the island is a well-known tourist destination, I never saw souvenirs being sold anywhere.
Huang says that the project, which includes collaborating with local companies to develop shenjiang creative products and souvenirs, is expected to commence next month. Special areas will also be set up to display and sell agricultural products from New Taipei City, which will provide job opportunities to disadvantaged people who will serve as vendors, Huang says. Between 80 and 100 temple lanterns will be hung outside of local shops to give the commercial district a more historic atmosphere, Huang says, adding that the market area around Japan’s Senso-ji will serve as their primary object of study in trying to attract more tourists.
The bureau says that the “Lujhou District shenjiang cultural industries development project” is a three-year project that aims to combine shenjiang imagery with local life, consolidate local industries, help businesses combine their networking resources and reach consensus on various issues. In the process, strengthening local industries and stimulating consumer spending should help the commercial district become a veritable tourist market, the bureau says.
(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)