Chiayi is not exactly what you would call a shopping disrict. The place is best known for its mountains and hiking trails, historical sights, temples, lakes, and nature reserves. However, shopping is not entirely absent here. There are a few places where you can go shopping in Chiayi.
The city’s shopping area is concentrated along Zhongshan Road. This is the street where Chiayi Train Station is found. Along this road, you will find shops selling various goods, local products, and even food products. There are also restaurants where you can sample Chiayi’s best cuisines.
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You can also visit the night markets. There are only two night markets where you can go shopping in Chiayi City. If you walk along Zhongshan Road, you will see a fountain that is no longer being used. The road intersecting that fountain is Wenhua Road, which is where the major night market of Chiayi is found. This night market is open every day from 6 pm onward, during which about half of Wenhua Road is closed to traffic and converted into a pedestrian area.
Wenhua Road is lined with shops where you can buy clothes in the latest fashion, bags, shoes, jackets, and other stuff. Wenhua Road is also famous for the local food. When evening sets in, hawkers and vendors set up their stalls along the side of the road. You can try the popular turkey on rice, oyster omelet, and other food treats.
The other one is Carrefour night market. The Carrefour night market is found along Bo Ai Road, beside Carrefour. Aside from the usual Jiayi shopping stalls and food stalls, Carrefour night market offers games and activities that its visitors can participate in, such as bingo, pachinko, shrimp catching, and archery.
Besides the night markets, you can also go to local shopping malls like Nice Plaza, which is located at Zhongziao Road. This mall has a shop where everything is sold for just $NT39, making it popular among shoppers.
Most of the time, tourists who go shopping in Chiayi are looking for just one thing: Koji Pottery. Koji, also called Cochin, refers to the traditional art of creating artistically designed ceramic ware. The craft was said to have originated from Chiayi, although some sources say it came from China and was brought to Taiwan. Today, there are only a few people who know how to make Koji Pottery, and most of them are found in Chiayi City. Thus, it has become one of the many things that the city is known for, and the government has taken steps to preserve the art of Cochin pottery.
For those who are familiar with it, Cochin pottery is part of their Jiayi shopping, as it is one of the city’s best products. Most of the time, shops offering Koji workshops also sell Koji pottery. One of the most famous Koji artists in Chiayi is Lu Sheng-nan, a former prisoner who devoted his time to Koji making and eventually became a successful businessman. When you go shopping in Chiayi, do not forget to include Koji pottery in your list of things to buy.