Ceramics and culture in Yingge, a Taipei day trip.
Escape from Taipei for the day to Yingge (鶯歌), a small town located a short train ride away in New Taipei City, and once the thriving center of the Taiwanese ceramics industry. Several large kilns dot the town's riverbank, still in use today by the many potters and artisans that have studios in the area. It's easily walkable, and affords some pretty views.
The main attractions in Yingge are a fantastic (and free) museum of ceramics, displaying historical and contemporary craft, and a lively 'ceramics old street', where many former artisans' studios have been converted into shops selling all types of ceramic art, from tea sets to large garden vessels.
A visit to both makes for a fun and easy day out. The museum has a diverse collection and rotating exhibits of contemporary ceramic artists. The historical section of the museum displays the evolution of ceramic products made in Yingge, arranging them by functionality which offers a unique view into the early Taiwanese lifestyle. The museum grounds are really pleasant and conducive to lounging -- they include a sculpture park, plenty of green space and even a wading pool for hot summer days.
Pick up a tropical fruit popsicle from the freezer in the gift shop for your stroll around the grounds -- not only tasty, they come with a well-designed popsicle stick that is also a portable fork! Great for tucking into fresh fruit from the night market stands later on, and on the rest of the trip.