The Yangming Park is located north of Beitou District, about 17km away from the urban area. During the Japanese colonial period, it was called “Caoshan” as it was covered with silver grass and rarely visited. In 1950, the government renamed the place “Yangmingshan” and established the Yangmingshan Administration to build the Yangming Park. The park, located at an elevation of 445m on the Datun Volcanoes, is the only park in Taipei City on a dormant volcano with fumaroles and hot springs. Sitting in front of Mt. Qixing, the left of Mt. Shamao, the right of Mt. Datun, and the opposite of Mt. Guanyin, the park runs up and down along the mountain with warm and humid weather. It is a cool place for summer. The park was managed by Yangmingshan Administration. In 1977, the Yangmingshan Administration handed over the park’s administration to the Parks & Street Lights Office. After several expansions, an area of up to 40 hectares has been cultivated. Entering the park from Hushan Road, a large fountain of 19m in diameter, 90cm tall, and 75cm water depth is the first thing in sight. The mist diffusing over the fountain brings a magnificent view. The “Flower Clock” known as the park landmark is built on the south side of the plaza. At the center of this 12m diameter structure are stylish flowerbeds with colorful flowers on top, and green grass at the bottom. Beautiful music is played every hour to add fun to the environment. Walking up the stairs right across from the clock leads to the hand-grown dragon juniper trees on both sides of the bronze of late President Chiang Kai-Shek. They grow tall and strong, making them iconic in the place.
Go up from the bronze area stands the “Xinhai-guangfu Building.” As one of the park landmarks, it is a two-story majestic Chinese-styled building built in 1971 (Xinhai) with donation from Chin-Fa Lee, an overseas Chinese living in Japan. Located at the center of the park, the building is an ideal spot for leisure and viewing the Taipei Basin. Koi fish of different colors is kept in the pond in front of the building. Emerging plants and flowers are grown by the pond and on the side slope to enrich the water view and visual effect. The 9m-tall Lee’s Memorial Tablet is erected in the hillside on the northeast of the plaza. It was made from a natural rock on which late President Chiang Kai-Shek wrote the characters “孝友崇義.” The text was the work of late Cheng-Yue Chang and written by Hsi-Ying Hsu, both were senior advisors to the president, to commend how the Lee brothers donated land for building the republic. The bronze statue of Yang-Ming Wang, a great Ming Dynasty scholar from Yijao of Zhejiang founding the theory of “intuitive knowledge” and “unity of knowing and doing,” sits on the north side of Lee’s Memorial Tablet to honor his achievements. The plum blossoms are added to the great green meadow background to mark out Wang’s cultural and philosophical temperaments. The waterway zigzagging across the park and aquatic plant area are the features distinguishing this park from other parks. The water of the waterway comes from natural mountain streams, clear and abundant, great for cleansing fatigue and trouble and enjoying family time. The cherry blossom forest in the park blossoms in spring. Walking around the picturesque blossoming cherry blossoms is both romantic and poetic. The azalea and camellia garden sits next to the second car park on Yangjing Highway. As the flowering season of both flowers is different, and the length of each season varies, the garden is great for both flower viewing and academic research.
The Datun Waterfall in the northwest of the park is a natural waterfall of the Datun Mountains. It is also named according to the mountain’s name. The waterfall is divided into three levels according to the terrain structure. The water is clear, and the flow is steady throughout the year. As water never stops running day in and day out, the waterfall is known as a local wonder. At the first level, water gallops from the green. At the second level, water ejects like snowflakes. At the third level, water roars like thundering storms. Late President Chiang Kai-Shek wrote “陽明瀑” (Yangmin Waterfall) on the mountain wall, adding the splendor to the magnificent waterfall.
Native Taiwan cherry blossoms and Japanese cherry blossoms are extensively grown in the park. Other flowers including the plum blossom, azalea, and camellia are also widely grown. These flowers blossom from December to April. Spring is the liveliest season of the park. Besides the boom of various plants, many wild plants also begin to bud. Looking over the park, purple, crimson, and white are the colors of the blossoming Taiwan cherry blossoms, winter jasmine, African touch-me-not, azalea, wax begonia, red nanmu, and Chinese hydrangea that occupy the park. Looking from afar, it’s like a red flower sea. Watching closely, it’s like clouds, gorgeous and splendid. As the park is swarmed with visitors coming to see the flowers every year, the Yangmingshan flower season is thus established. When it rains in spring, the mountain becomes mist occasionally in March. Visitors can “view flowers in the rain” or “see the sights in the mist” in any one of the park kiosks. Such a kind of ecstasy is indescribable with words.
Summer is cool and fresh. Besides the thick shades formed by different types of trees in the park, butterflies picking nectar from flowers, squirrels frolicking among the trees, cicadas chirping in the wild, and the on and off of lights of thousands of households down the mountain from the observation deck are all the sounds and sights in summer. Therefore, the Yangming Park is an ideal place for a walk in the countryside, cooling off, enjoying seeing sights in summer. In the park, there are over 600 Fragrant Maples and Green Maples turning their leaves from green to red as the season changes and when cold mass comes. The maple red looks striking among the mountain green. When the red maple leaves fall off, the fun of strolling in the green in autumn is never second to that of spring in Yangming Park. In winter, including camellia, Taiwan gordonia, color cabbage,and plum blossom, are in blossom in the park. Blossoms that fears not the cold boom on the branch to decorate the scene of Yangming Park with a touching temperament.