Originally founded in 1738, Longshan Temple is one of Taipei's most well known temples. Popular with both locals and tourists, it's a great a place to take in the culture and people watch! It is no secret that I like to visit temples when I'm in Asia. I find them to be truly fascinating places - a mixture of history, culture, and religion.
The temple suffered damage due to war and mother nature in its nearly 300 years in existence but it has been continuously restored and today, you can see some amazing detailing on its roofs and pillars of dragons and phoenixes.
One of my fascinations with temples is the fortune telling aspect of it. Fortune telling is by no means a small industry in Taiwan. Fortune tellers from all schools of fortune telling (horoscopes, tarot cards, face reading, etc.) frequent Taiwanese talk shows to share their readings, and many locals go to temples to get their fortune read, and to ask for guidance from the gods.
I've written in the past about getting your fortune read at Wong Tai Sin temple in Hong Kong. Like at Wong Tai Sin temple, in Longshan Temple you can experience kau cim (or qiu qian in mandarin). You can find large buckets with sticks in them at the temple, and while asking the question you want answered in your mind, you can pull out one of the sticks. The stick will have a number on it and you then go to the wooden drawers to find the one with the corresponding number to find your fortune reading. When I visited the temple last year, there was a book with English translations of the readings (albeit the translation being a little difficult to understand).
At Longshan Temple, you'll also find bwabei blocks (or moon blocks). These can be used in conjunction with qiu qian or separately on their own. They are typically used for questions with yes or no answers. I had never seen these blocks before visiting Longshan Temple, so I asked a local security guard how to use them, and he explained while asking your question to the gods with sincerity, you drop the two blocks. If the blocks land with one with the rounded side facing up and the other with the flat side facing up, the answer is yes (bottom left). If they both land with the rounded side facing up, the answer is no (bottom center). And finally, if they both land with the flat side facing up, the answer the gods are supposedly laughing at your question and are unsure of the answer (bottom right). The blocks have to land the same way three times consecutively for a valid answer from the gods.
And if you still have more questions to ask, you can find a number of fortune tellers at the nearby Longshan Temple Underground Mall!
Want to get here?
Hours: The temple is open daily from 6AM-10PM
Address: No. 211, Guangzhou Street, Wanhua District, Taipei. The closest MRT station is the Longshan Temple MRT station. It takes about 5 minutes to walk from the station to the temple.
Estimated time to spend here: ~1 hour
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