Also known as Heihsi Matsu Temple, the popular Lecheng Temple of Taichung was built in honor to goddess Matsu and is situated on the eastern district of Taichung adjacent to Dahei Xi (Black Creek). The temple consists of two storeys and is one of the largest and most elaborate temples in Taichung.
According to historical information, the temporary temple that was originally approved by the Meichou Matsu temple found in Fujian Province, China was built during early Qianlong period. But, after several years, the first building was insufficient to accommodate the increasing number of Matsu worshippers. As such, a new temple was constructed in 1791 on the present site close to Hanshi Village, which today is the East district of Taichung. The temple underwent restoration work in 1928 and 1963 and assumed a modern appearance with the fusion of different periods and architectural styles. Today, you will see a composite of Qing-era architecture and modern forms from Chinese KMT era and Japanese colonial era.
Lecheng Temple has an extensive setting added to its splendid appearance. It is positioned southwest, surrounded by a front court and roads. Declared a Category III national historical site, the temple includes the stanchion hall, the main worship Hall and the crossing-water corridors. The stanchion hall is located at the temple’s main entrance, followed by the main hall at the center. The two Guarding Dragon structures are attached to the main hall by crossing water corridors. In front of the complex is a unique façade of Dragon gate, stanchion hall and the Tiger Gate. At the courtyard, fronting the temple is a couple of green stone lions and a number of granite slabs that graphically shows the temple’s antiquity guarding the front gateway.
Looking inside, one notices the temple is more complex than most temples in the country. Indeed, your eyes won’t be tired of the interesting pieces and decorations. For instance, the stone columns adorned with intricate dragon patterns, the Ching-tou Stone Lions and the sculptures created from Xiao-chin clay are some of the unique features inside the temple. On the left of the temple is an incense burner, built in 1828, where ghost money are burned for the deceased loved one. The striking roofs are structured in Chinese style, which include many woodcarvings of lions, dragons, flowers and human sculptures.
Besides it being a Matsu temple, there are also various gods worshipped in Lecheng temple namely, Jade Emperor, Guan Yin, Xuan Wu, Guan Yu, Cai Shen, Songzi Niangniang, Wenchang, Hua Tuo just to name a few. It will take time you time to worship and pay respect for all the gods inside the temple. An interesting spot is the room for ‘The Old Man under the Moon’, who is the god of good marriage. Thus, a large number of young couples come in this section and worship for him.
Lecheng Temple is a worth-visiting place in Taichung. It is quite busy during the first and 15th day of every lunar month as well as during national holidays. The temple is located at No. 48, Hansi St., Dung Chiu, Taichung City. It can be accessed by taking Jen You Bus Company Route 5 and get off at Ming Kung Tang Hospital stop.