Chiayi (/ˈjɑːˈ/,[3] Taigi POJ: Ka-gī; Chinese: 嘉義), officially known as Chiayi City, is a city of the streamlined Taiwan Province, Republic of China located in the plains of southwestern Taiwan surrounded by Chiayi County with a population of 263,188 inhabitants as of January 2023.

Chiayi City
Ka-gi, Kagi, Chiai, Chia-i
Chiayi City
Clockwise from top left:Hinoki Village, Chiayi Confucius Temple, Fountain at the Lantan Reservoir, Chiayi City Sports Arena, Chiayi Municipal Culture Center,Chiayi Sun Shooting Tower, National Chiayi University
Flag of Chiayi City
Official seal of Chiayi City
Peach City (桃城) or Jia City (嘉市)
Location of Chiayi City
Country Republic of China (Taiwan)
Province Taiwan Province (de facto dissolved)
RegionSouthwestern Taiwan
First mentioned1787
Renamed to Kagi17 April 1895
Autonomous city1930
Provincial city25 October 1945
Downgraded to county-administered city16 August 1950
Provincial city status restored1 July 1982
SeatEast District
2 districts
 • TypeChiayi City Government
 • MayorHuang Min-hui (KMT)
 • Total60.03 km2 (23.18 sq mi)
 • Rank21 out of 22
69 m (226 ft)
 (January 2023)[2]
 • Total263,188
 • Rank18 of 22
 • Density4,400/km2 (11,000/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+8 (National Standard Time)
Postal code
Area code05
ISO 3166 codeTW-CYI
FlowerHong Kong orchid tree
(Bauhinia blakeana)
TreeHong Kong orchid tree Edit this at Wikidata
Chiayi City
Chiayi (Chinese characters).svg
"Chiayi" in Traditional (top) and Simplified (bottom) Chinese characters
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese嘉義
Simplified Chinese嘉义
Japanese name

Hoanya people inhabited present-day Chiayi under its historical name Tirosen prior to the arrival of Han Chinese in Taiwan and was ruled by the Dutch and Kingdom of Tungning under various names. During the Qing dynasty, Tirosen was governed as part of Taiwan Prefecture in Fujian under Zhuluo County and the city was renamed to Kagee in 1787. The city was once again named Kagi during the Japanese era but the earthquake destroyed much of the town. Kagi became administered as part of Tainan Prefecture from 1920. Following the surrender of Japan, the Republic of China, who deposed the Qing in 1911, took control of the city in 1945 as Chiayi City and became administered as a provincial city of Taiwan Province before being integrated in Chiayi County in 1950 as a county-administered city and later restored its status as provincial city in 1982. In 1998, Taiwan Province became streamlined and Chiayi City became governed directly by the Executive Yuan.

The city is known for Alishan National Scenic Area and warm humid subtropical climate in the summer months. Left with the landmarks of Japanese colonial rule, Chiayi City has the round-island railway system and Alishan Forest Railway where the city is the starting point along with various Japanese temples.


Like the county, Chiayi City's former Chinese placename was Tsu-lo-san[4] (Chinese: 諸羅山; pinyin: Zhūluóshān; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Chu-lô-san), a representation of the original Formosan-language name Tirosen. A shortened version, Tsulo, was then used to name Tsulo County, which originally covered the underdeveloped northern two-thirds of the island. In 1704, the county seat was moved to Tsulosan, the site of modern-day Chiayi City. Following the 1723 Zhu Yigui rebellion, the county was reduced in size. In 1787, the county and city were renamed Chiayi (嘉義; lit. 'commended righteousness') by the Qianlong Emperor to acknowledge the citizens' loyalty during the Lin Shuangwen rebellion.[5]


Early historyEdit

First inhabited by the Hoanya aborigines, the region was named Tirosen (variants Tirocen, Tiracen). With the arrival of Han Chinese immigrants in southwestern Taiwan, the name evolved to become Tsulosan (Chinese: 諸羅山; pinyin: Zhūluóshān; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Chu-lô-san) in Hokkien. Eventually, Tsulosan was shortened to simply Tsulo. Because of the choice of the characters, it has been mistakenly suggested that the origin of the name came from the expression "mountains surrounding the east". "Peach City" is another name for Chiayi City due to its peach-shaped territory in ancient times. The tip of the peach is around Central Fountain and was called "Peach-tip" by citizens.

Tsulosan was once the foothold to which people from the mainland immigrated. In 1621, Chinese Peter [zh], who came from Zhangzhou, Fujian Province, first led his people to cultivate this land after they landed at Ponkan (modern-day Beigang).

Dutch FormosaEdit

Records from the Dutch era show Tirosen as the usual form of the name; it also occurred as Tirassen, Tirozen, Tilocen, Tilossen, Tilocen, and Thilocen.[6] The place was north of Mattau (modern-day Madou, Tainan) and south of Favorlang (Huwei, Yunlin).

Kingdom of TungningEdit

In 1661 (the 15th year of Yung-Li, Ming dynasty), Koxinga defeated the Dutch based in Taiwan and founded the Kingdom of Tungning. He established one province, Cheng-Tien-Fu [zh], and two counties, Tien-Hsing [zh] and Wan-Nien [zh], demarcated by the Hsin-Kang River (Chinese: 新港溪, now the Yanshui River). Chiayi was under the jurisdiction of the Tien-Hsing County.

Qing dynastyEdit

In 1683, when Qing rule began, the island was governed as Taiwan Prefecture under the administration of Fujian Province. In 1684, Tsulo County was established and initially encompassed the underdeveloped northern two-thirds of Taiwan. (Taiwan and Hongsoa counties were divided from Wan-Nien County during the Kingdom of Tungning, which was changed from Tien-Hsing County.) In 1704, the county seat was moved to Tsulosan, the site of modern-day Chiayi City, and had wooden city walls.

In 1727, the county magistrate, Liu Liang-Bi rebuilt the gatehouses and set a gun platform for each gatehouse. The four gatehouses were named: "Chin Shan" (襟山) for East, "Tai Hai" (帶海) for West, "Chung Yang" (崇陽) for South, and "Kung Chen" (拱辰) for North. In 1734 (the 12th year of Yongzheng), magistrate Lu-Hung built piercing-bamboo to better protect the city.

In 1786, the Lin Shuangwen rebellion was an attempt to siege Tsulosan but failed to overcome the defense of the inhabitants. Consequently, on November 3 of the next year, the Qing Emperor conferred the name Kagee (嘉義; lit. 'commended righteousness') to praise the citizens' loyalty.

In the mid-1800s, a custom of annual riotous mass stoning developed in the city.[7][better source needed]

In 1887, a separate Taiwan Province was declared and the island was administratively divided into four prefectures; the city of Kagee belonged to Tainan Prefecture.

Japanese ruleEdit

Chiayi City under Japanese rule

In 1895, Taiwan was ceded to Japan in the Treaty of Shimonoseki. The 1906 Meishan earthquake devastated the entire city wall except the Eastern Gate. The Japanese authorities reconstructed the city. Industries and trades started to flourish. According to the census taken in 1904, Kagi was the fourth most populous city in Taiwan, with a population of over twenty thousand.[8]

The Great Kagi earthquake (later also known as the 1906 Meishan earthquake) struck the city in mid March 1906.[9]

In looking over some of my more recent Notes, it seems impossible to make the foregoing references to Ka-gi without adding a few words about that dreadful earthquake which devastated the region in March 1906. I was there soon after, and had a profound feeling of sadness on seeing whole streets covered with fallen beams and other debris ; on seeing, too, so many traces of the awful suffering on every side. Within Ka-gi city, and a limited area around, 1,216 persons were suddenly thrust out into the eternal world. Not fewer than 2,306 persons were seriously injured, and 13,259 houses were laid low. The great mysterious Power then tore the earth into deep, open chasms in several places. Many of the narrow escapes and calamities were very affecting ; particularly that of our blind evangelist Toa-un, who ran out of doors with his wife as the shaking began. The demented mother, however, could not bear the thought of her two helpless young children being left behind, and she darted in to rescue them, when my poor blind pupil became childless and a widower in an instant of time. No sooner had the Governor-General at Tai-pak received telegraphic information of the magnitude of the calamity, than instructions were issued for a large company of surgeons, nurses, and assistants to proceed at once to Ka-gi. Wide hospital-sheds were erected without delay, and the work of relief was carried on with a rare amount of self-denial and promptitude. Even already, the city has lost much of its most desolate appearance, and the projected improvements give promise that it will have a more attractive look than ever. – William Campbell, 1915

In 1907, the construction of Alishan Forest Railway to Mount Ali was begun. In 1920, the city became an autonomous group as Kagi Town (嘉義街), Kagi District, within Tainan Prefecture, which included modern-day Tainan City, Chiayi County and Yunlin County. In 1930, the town was upgraded to an autonomous city under the same prefecture.

Republic of ChinaEdit

Chiayi City in 1946–1950

After the handover of Taiwan from Japan to the Republic of China in October 1945, Chiayi City was established as a provincial city of Taiwan Province. The city consisted of 8 districts, which were Bajiang, Beimen, Beizhen, Nanmen, Tungmen, Tungshan, Ximen and Zhuwei Districts. In 1946, the districts was reorganized to 6 districts in which Bajiang and Nanmen were merged to become Xinnan, Beimen and Beizhen were merged to become Xinbei, Tungmen and Tungshan were merged to become Xindong, Ximen and Zhuwei were merged to become Xinxi District and there were 2 addition of districts from Tainan County which were Shuishang and Taibao Districts.[10]

Chiayi saw some of the most violent events during the 228 Incident. In early March, local militas surrounded the Shueishang Airport and fought against the KMT military.[11] There were over 300 casualties.[12] On 12 March 1947, negotiators for peace, including Tan Teng-pho and Phuan Bok-tsi [zh], were arrested after arriving at the airport and were executed on 25 March. The Kuomintang also executed many civilians in Chiayi.[13]

On 16 August 1950, because of the re-allocation of administrative areas in which Taiwan was divided into 16 counties, five provincial cities and a special bureau, Chiayi City was downgraded to a county-administered city and merged with Chiayi County to be the county seat. As a result, a shortage of capital hindered its development.

On 1 July 1982, Chiayi City was elevated again to a provincial city as a result of pressure from local elites.[14] On 6 October 1990, the East District and West District were established.[15]


Map of Chiayi (labeled as KAGI) and surrounding area (1944)
Map of the region including Chiayi (labeled as CHIA-I SHIH (KAGI) 嘉義市) (1950)
Map of the city of Chiayi (labeled as CHIA-I SHIH (KAGI) 嘉義市) (1950s)

Chiayi City is located on the north side of Chianan Plain, south west of Taiwan Island. On the east side is the Mount Ali, on the west side is the Chiayi Airport, on the north side is the Puzi River and on the south side is the Bazhang River. The distance from east to west of Chiayi City is 15.8 km (9.8 mi) and from north to south is 10.5 km (6.5 mi) with a total area of 60.0256 km2 (23.1760 sq mi). Chiayi City is completely surrounded by Chiayi County. Most of Chiayi City land are broad flat fertile plains. The terrain slowly rises from west to east. Chiayi is also one of the closest Taiwanese cities to the Tropic of Cancer, with the latitudinal line lying just south of the city.


Chiayi City has a warm humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cwa) that closely borders a true tropical climate. Northeasterly winds during fall and winter mean that rainfall is depressed during that time, while southwesterly winds during summer and the later portion of spring bring most of the year's rainfall, with more than 60% falling from June to August. Humidity is high year-round, even during winter.

Climate data for Chiayi (1991–2020 normals, extremes 1968–present)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 31.7
Average high °C (°F) 22.5
Daily mean °C (°F) 16.8
Average low °C (°F) 12.9
Record low °C (°F) 1.8
Average precipitation mm (inches) 27.5
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm) 5.1 5.5 6.8 8.1 10.4 13.8 15.3 17.9 9.4 2.9 3.3 4.1 102.6
Average relative humidity (%) 77.9 79.3 79.3 79.8 79.9 77.5 77.2 80.1 80.1 78.9 78.7 76.8 78.8
Mean monthly sunshine hours 161.4 139.7 157.9 157.0 175.5 186.6 206.4 182.2 186.2 197.0 158.9 159.2 2,068
Source: Central Weather Bureau[16][17][18][19][20]


Huang Min-hui, the incumbent Mayor of Chiayi City.

Chiayi City is a provincial city of Taiwan Province of the Republic of China. The city is governed by the Chiayi City Government, while the residence is represented in the Chiayi City Council. The current Mayor of Chiayi City is Huang Min-hui of the Kuomintang.

Administrative divisionsEdit

Chiayi City is divided into two districts. East District is the city seat which houses the Chiayi City Government.

Map Name Chinese Taiwanese Hakka Population (2016) Area (km²)
  East 東區 Tang Tûng 122,877 29.1195
West 西區 Se 147,396 30.9061


Result of the 2022 mayoral election of Chiayi City

Chiayi City voted one Democratic Progressive Party legislator to be in the Legislative Yuan during the 2020 Taiwanese legislative election. It has historically been a very pan-Green city. During the martial law era, most people of Chiayi supported tangwai politicians. However, the voting gap between the DPP and the KMT has narrowed in recent years.[21] And in 2022 Taiwanese local elections, Chiayi City re-elected Huang Min-hui of Kuomintang to be the mayor.


Chiayi city is a 100% purely ethnic Hokkien inhabited city.[citation needed]

Historical population
1985 253,573—    
1990 257,597+1.6%
1995 261,391+1.5%
2000 266,183+1.8%
2005 272,364+2.3%
2010 272,390+0.0%
2015 270,366−0.7%
2020 266,005−1.6%
Source:"Populations by City and Country in Taiwan" (in Chinese). Ministry of the Interior Population Census.



Green energyEdit

On 17 December 2015, Chiayi City Government launched a program to set up solar panels at schools and offices in the city to reduce green house gases. The program is expected to produce 3.55 million kWh of electricity annually and to help reducing carbon emission by 1,700 tonnes.[22]

Tourist attractionsEdit

The spotted deer sculpture in the 228 National Memorial Park.

Chiayi is the city of wind music in Taiwan. The wind music festival started as a local event in 1988, when it was more like a joint performance by local wind music bands. Over the years the festival has become the most anticipated annual event in Chiayi.[24]


Major sporting events held by Chiayi include:

Notable residents/nativesEdit

  • Tan Ting-pho (1895–1947), Taiwan famous painter.
  • Sow-Hsin Chen (1935–2021), American physicist, Professor.
  • Vincent Siew (1939), Taiwanese politician, Vice President of the Republic of China (2008–2012), Vice-Chairman of the Kuomintang.
  • Huang Min-hui (1959), former mayor of Chiayi City, vice chairperson of Kuomintang, a member of the Legislative Yuan (1999 and 2005).
  • Lo Chen-Jung (1961), Taiwanese left-handed baseball pitcher.
  • Wu Bai (1968), Taiwanese rock singer.

International relationsEdit

Twin towns — sister citiesEdit

Chiayi is twinned with:



Chiayi City is served by Chiayi Station and Jiabei Station of the Taiwan Railways Administration. Chiayi Station is the starting point for the Alishan Forest Railway. The city is also accessible from THSR Chiayi Station in Chiayi County.


Chiayi Bus Rapid Transit connects Chiayi City to Chiayi HSR station in the neighboring Taibao City. Chiayi City Bus serves the urban areas of Chiayi City.


Chiayi City is served by Chiayi Airport in the neighboring Shuishang Township.

In popular cultureEdit

Chiayi City and its street foods, including the famous Chiayi turkey rice, were featured on the Netflix TV series, Street Food, in season 1.[25]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Xiàn shì zhòngyào tǒngjì zhǐbiāo cháxún xìtǒng wǎng" 縣市重要統計指標查詢系統網. Zhōnghuá mínguó tǒngjì zīxùn wǎng 中華民國統計資訊網 (in Chinese). Archived from the original on 12 June 2016. Retrieved 1 July 2016.
  2. ^ Minzheng chu (2016-07-01). "Jiāyì Shì 105 nián 6 yuèfèn rénkǒu tǒngjì zīliào" 嘉義市105年6月份人口統計資料 [Population Statistics of Chiayi City for June 2016]. Jiāyì Shì zhèngfǔ 嘉義市政府 (in Chinese). Archived from the original on 16 September 2016. Retrieved 1 July 2016.
  3. ^ "Chia-i". Merriam-Webster Dictionary.
  4. ^ Campbell, William (1903). "Explanatory Notes". Formosa under the Dutch: described from contemporary records, with explanatory notes and a bibliography of the island. London: Kegan Paul. p. 549. ISBN 9789576380839. OCLC 644323041.
  5. ^ "Taiwan in Time: Rebels of heaven and earth - Taipei Times". 17 April 2016.
  6. ^ Campbell, M. W. (1903). "Explanatory Notes". Formosa Under the Dutch: Described from Contemporary Records, with Explanatory Notes and a Bibliography of the Island. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co. p. 549. ISBN 9789576380839. OCLC 644323041.
  7. ^ Campbell, W. (1915). Sketches from Formosa. London: Marshall Brothers. pp. 79–81. It was on a later occasion I arrived in Ka-gi to find the people engaged in their absurd periodic custom of stonethrowing.
  8. ^ Takekoshi, Yosaburō (1907). "Chapter XIII: Population and Future Development of the Island Resources". Japanese Rule in Formosa. Translated by Braithwaite, George. London: Longmans, Green, and Co. p. 200. OCLC 753129. OL 6986981M.
  9. ^ Campbell, W. (1915). Sketches from Formosa. London: Marshall Brothers. pp. 82–83.
  10. ^ "臺灣建制市的市轄區變遷". Retrieved 2022-03-20.
  11. ^ 二二八民變-台灣與蔣介石,143-146;1947台灣二二八革命,166-185;責任歸屬研究報告,61-63
  12. ^ (2019-02-26). "「要殺光嘉義市民!」菁英遭遊街槍決、民眾被掃射…二二八「民主聖地」挺身抗暴最慘烈-風傳媒". (in Chinese (Taiwan)). Retrieved 2022-03-20.
  13. ^ "The 228 Massacre in Chiayi: "The Airport and Train Station Were Washed with Blood"". The Taiwan Gazette. Retrieved 2022-03-20.
  14. ^ "Rezoning Taiwan". Taiwan Today. 1 February 2011. Retrieved 9 December 2020.
  15. ^ "History". East District Office, Chiayi City. Archived from the original on 2017-03-14. Retrieved 2016-01-06.
  16. ^ "Monthly Mean". Central Weather Bureau. Retrieved 29 November 2022.
  17. ^ "氣象站各月份最高氣溫統計" (PDF) (in Chinese). Central Weather Bureau. Retrieved 29 November 2022.
  18. ^ "氣象站各月份最高氣溫統計(續)" (PDF) (in Chinese). Central Weather Bureau. Retrieved 29 November 2022.
  19. ^ "氣象站各月份最低氣溫統計" (PDF) (in Chinese). Central Weather Bureau. Retrieved 29 November 2022.
  20. ^ "氣象站各月份最低氣溫統計(續)" (PDF) (in Chinese). Central Weather Bureau. Retrieved 29 November 2022.
  21. ^ "大選關鍵區》嘉義市藍綠皆配角、派系也式微,誰抓得住民主聖地?|天下雜誌". 天下雜誌 (in Chinese). Retrieved 2022-03-20.
  22. ^ Chiang, Chun-liang; Hou, Elaine (2015-12-17). "Chiayi City Launches Solar Power System Program". Focus Taiwan News Channel. Central News Agency. Archived from the original on 2015-12-18. Retrieved 2015-12-18.
  23. ^ "Chung Cheng Park". Travel in Chiayi. Archived from the original on 2015-06-10. Retrieved 2013-11-16.
  24. ^ "The Sound of Wind Music: 2008 Chiayi City International Band Festival". 2009-01-17. Archived from the original on 2009-02-03. Retrieved 2009-02-06.
  25. ^ Brown, Joshua Samuel (22 May 2019). "Taiwan Culture and Cuisine Shine on New Netflix Series "Street Food"". CommonWealth Magazine. Medium. Retrieved 26 July 2020.

External linksEdit

23°28′48″N 120°26′59″E / 23.48000°N 120.44972°E / 23.48000; 120.44972