• Popular Sights



Popular Sights

Ita Thao

Once known as Dehua Village, this is the main Thao settlement. Traditional Thao performances and cultural exhibitions are offered here, as well as a shopping area full of Thao atmosphere.
Ita Thao Lakeside Trail
This 0.4-kilometer trail starts opposite the Youth Activity Center and terminates near Ita Thao Wharf. Sounds of insects and birds are incessant along this lakeshore board walkway, and the smell of wild ginger blossoms fills the air.

Syuentzang Temple

From Barawbaw (the Thao name for Sun Moon Village, also known as Riyue Village), continue along the lake's ring road in a westerly direction. From the 4.8 kilometer marker, you can reach the Syuentzang Temple. The front of this temple, built in 1965, faces Lalu Lake, while the rear faces Qinglong Mountain. A fengshui master has claimed that the temple occupies a precious land where a "green dragon plays with a pearl". The temple is divided into two levels, one where the remains of the monk Xuanzang are worshipped, and the other, where the golden Sakyamuni Buddha is worshipped. Xuanzang was an eminent Tang Dynasty monk who was ordered by the Tang emperor to go to India and bring back the Buddhist scriptures. It was more than 10 years before he returned to China, bringing back over 650 sutras. Together with his disciples, he translated 75 sections, producing 1335 volumes of scripture, and making a great contribution to the development of Buddhism in China.
During World War II, the Japanese stole Xuanzang's remains from Nanjing. They were enshrined and worshipped at the Jion-ji Temple in Japan's Saitama Prefecture. In 1955, the remains were taken to Taiwan, where they were enshrined and worshipped at Xuanguang Temple, located next to Sun Moon Lake. After Xuanzang Temple was completed in November 1965, the remains were relocated there. Syuentzang Temple is built in the Tang Dynasty architectural style, and the square bricks on the ground create a smooth and unadorned appearance. Inside the temple is a horizontal board with the words "national treasure", written by President Chiang Kai-shek. On the outer walls of the temple are carvings of Master Xuanzang during his travels to the west. There are also three stele inscriptions. The left stele commemorates the friendship between the Chinese and Japanese. The middle provides a life history of MasterXuanzang. The right stele commemorates friendly Buddhist exchanges between the Chinese and Japanese. In addition, there are two revered stone statues in front of the door. In front of the temple is a large drum, and when ascending the steps, one can see a bell and mallet used to wake people.

Ci En Pagoda

Ci En Pagoda was built by the late President Chiang Kai-shek in memory of his mother. It was completed in April 1971 and sits on the 954 meter-high Shabalan Mountain. The pagoda is 46 meters tall, bringing its top to an even 1,000 meters above sea level. It has an imposing traditional Chinese style and is divided into nine stories. Visitors can climb to the top, where they have a magnificent view of the lake and the surrounding mountains.
The building in front of the pagoda was used as a rest house by President Chiang. It was designed by the Highway Bureau at the same time as the pagoda, and its design was modified by President Chiang himself. It was competed in January 1971, and became one of the late president's favorite places to visit.
Tsen Pagoda Hiking Trail
This trail is about 700m in length, and leads to the Pagoda. If one visits this area in the right season, one will find that this site is the perfect spot for watching fireflies. Black-Winged Firefly (luciola gorhami ritsema) makes its annual appearance in late April through to early May; and the "Mountain Firefly" (Lychnuris praetexta) can also be seen here during the months of October and November.

Syuanguang Temple

Syuanguang Temple, located around 2.5 kilometers from Xuanzang Temple, was built around 1955. The relics of the Buddhist monk Xuanzang are enshrined here. Xuanzang was a famous Tang Dynasty Buddhist monk. By order of the Tang emperor, he was sent to India to seek Buddhist scriptures. After more than 10 years, he returned to China, bringing back more than 650 sutras, and together with his disciples, he translated 75 of these. He also acquired 1,335 scrolls.
His efforts made great contributions to the spread of Buddhism in China. During the war between China and Japan, a Japanese person managed to acquire a fragment of Master Syuanzang's bones from Nanjing. It was taken to Ci'en Temple in Japan's Saitama Prefecture, where it was enshrined.
In 1952, this piece of bone was brought to Taiwan, and after Syuanguang Temple was built at Sun Moon Lake in 1958, Master Syuanzang's bone piece was placed there and enshrined. This temple lies between Sun Lake and Moon Lake. Inside is a golden idol of Master Syuanzang, above which is written, "Great National Scholar". A wharf has been built by to the waters, with its back to the mountains.
Visitors can take a boat to this wharf, where they can then ascend the stairs to visit the temple. Cinglong Mountain Hiking Trail The trail begins from the pier of Xuanguang Temple to Xuanzang Temple. It is 560M long. Tourists can visit the temples via the trail, thus it is also regarded as a "Pilgrim Path".





Wunwu Temple

During the Japanese occupation period there were two temples on the banks of the lake: Longfeng Temple in Shueishe Village and Yihua Hall in what is now Yitashao. But when the Japanese built their hydroelectric power plants, the water levels rose, and the temples had to be removed. The Japanese electric company paid compensation, and the temple managers decided to combine their resources and build a single new temple at Songboling on the northern shore of the lake. The result was today's Wenwu Temple.
The architecture of the temple has the palace style of northern China. It is of a large and imposing structure, with three separate halls. On the second floor of the front hall is a shrine devoted to the First Ancestor Kaiji and the God of Literature; the central hall is devoted to Guan Gong, the God of War, and the warrior-god Yue Fei; the rear hall is dedicated to Confucius. This is the only Confucius Temple in Taiwan that keeps its central door open. Temple officials say that they do this because the temple is on the bank of Sun Moon Lake and has many tourists, so they keep the door open for the convenience of the visitors. The bronze statue of a seated Confucius makes this also the only Confucius temple in Taiwan that contains an image of the sage. In addition to Confucius, there are also statues of his disciples, Mencius and Zihsih. These three images originally came from Mainland China. They were taken to Japan to escape the Boxer Rebellion near the end of the Qing Dynasty; later on, they were reproduced and brought to Wunwu Temple."