© Tourism Bureau (Photo credit: Chen Jin-jin) Taitung County’s Chishang and Luye towns and Hualien County’s Fuli and Yuli townships, are the main areas in the East Rift Valley where rice is grown. The Chishang plain is the main space for local residents’ activities. The town’s people are honest. It is a town with many ethnicities, including Hakka, Pingpu, Amis, Minnan, and mainland Chinese immigrants who came to Taiwan in the 1940s. Among the ethnic groups, the Hakka accounts for 35.5% of the population, making Chishang Township full of Hakka characteristics and various Hakka cultural and art activities. The Hakka people migrated to Chishang to cultivate the land. They brought with them Hakka people’s strong sense of determination, and of working hard and being close to the land. As a result of their hard work, what was once wilderness is now good farmland where the well-known brand of Chishang Rice is grown. The contribution of the Hakka people is indispensable. Every year in December, the farmland where rice is planted will start to lie fallow and continue to rest until the following January and February. During this time, farmers plant rapeseed as a healthy and natural fertilizer for the land. Therefore, from mid-January, the farmland normally used for rice plantation in Chishang turns into a field of yellow rapeseed flowers. The following are the three main locations in Eastern Taiwan for admiring fields of rapeseed flowers: 1. Chishang’s Sea of Rapeseed Flowers (Bolang Avenue and Paradise Road) © Tourism Bureau (Photo credit: Chen Cheng-wei) The main location of rapeseed flowers in Chishang is on both sides of Bolang Avenue. The straight Bolang Avenue, together with the towering Jinchengwu tree on one side, is one of the beautiful sceneries in Taitung. When winter arrives, the rapeseed plants on both sides of the avenue are in full bloom, livening up the road in bright yellow. The rapeseed blossoms continue to color the landscape to the last stretch of the avenue where it turns into the S-shaped Paradise Road, making this a truly beautiful place for rapeseed flower viewing. Rapeseed flower attractions in Chishang Township: Fude Palace, Dapo Pond, Daguan Tower and the north end of Chishang Bridge 2. Guanshan’s Sea of Rapeseed Flowers © Tourism Bureau (Photo credit: Lin Bo-chi) Along the sea of rapeseed flowers in Guanshan, there is a continuous range of mountains. The vast rapeseed field is accompanied by mountain scenery, which gives people a vast and distant feeling. In addition, rapeseed flowers can be eaten, so visitors can also go to a restaurant to experience the unique taste of rapeseed. Rapeseed flower attractions in Guanshan Township: Guanshan Township Farmers Association Leisure Tourism Center, Water Park, Hairui Township 3. Luye Sea of Rapeseed Flowers Luye Township is also one of the main areas for cultivating rice in the East Rift Valley. Of course, rapeseed can also be found here. The vast rapeseed field here is like displaying farmers’ year-long hard work with blooming flowers for everyone to see. The yellow color brings a sense of warmth in the winter and showcases farmers’ dedication to their land, to tourists visiting the area. Rapeseed flower attractions in Luye Township: Ruihe Village, Yonglong Village and Heping Village 4. Hakka Cultural Park The Hakka Cultural Park is also a cultural attraction worth visiting while you are in Chishang Township. The park has a rich and diverse exhibition area and activities that allow visitors to experience Hakka settlers’ way of life. On the first floor of the museum are audio visual classrooms and a Hakka cultural relics exhibition hall. The audiovisual classrooms regularly play documentary films and high quality Hakka television programs for public viewing. On the second floor, there are special exhibition rooms and a Hakka TV Hall and a library. The more than 100 kinds of Hakka cultural relics displayed inside the special exhibition rooms were collected in recent years by students at Guanshan Middle School. The Hakka TV Hall was set up in cooperation with Hakka TV Station. The TV station plans, sets up and regularly updates the contents of the exhibits. The Hall also features scenes from Hakka TV programs. Visitors can even get a feeling for what it’s like to be a television presenter. Before entering the park, you will see an image at the entrance that is a high column shaped like oil paper umbrellas, symbolizing the spirit of Eastern Taiwan’s Hakkas in crossing the mountains and sea to settle in their homeland. The architectural style in the park reflects the eastern Taiwan rural architectural styles, including the use of cloisters and natural materials (stone, wood, bamboo, plants, etc.), plus partial steel to form a type of rural courtyard that fits the image of Eastern Taiwan. The park is designed to let visitors experience the lifestyle, livelihoods and culture of Hakka settlements in the East Rift Valley. The various parts of the park include: the parking lot, the entrance plaza, the service area, the herbs area, the arts and crafts experiencing area, the dimsum village, the nostalgia industry area, the Hakka Culture Academy, the Children’s Recreation Area, the Villagers Farming Area, and the Scholars Avenue, among others.