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Hualien County
Clockwise, from top: Liyu Lake; a section of the Cross Island Highway in Taroko Gorge National Park; Hualien Railroad Station; a paddy field in Shoufeng with a Central Mountain Range backdrop; Qingshui Cliffs near Suhua Highway; Qixingtan Beach in Xincheng; a cigarette production house in Fenglin
Clockwise, from top: Liyu Lake; a section of the Cross Island Highway in Taroko Gorge National Park; Hualien Railroad Station; a paddy field in Shoufeng with a Central Mountain Range backdrop; Qingshui Cliffs near Suhua Highway; Qixingtan Beach in Xincheng; a cigarette production house in Fenglin
Flag of Hualien County
Official seal of Hualien County
Coordinates: 23°58′34″N 121°36′17″E / 23.97611°N 121.60472°E / 23.97611; 121.60472
Country Republic of China (Taiwan)
RegionEastern Taiwan
SeatHualien City
Largest cityHualien City
Boroughs1 cities, 12 (2 urban, 10 rural) townships
 • County MagistrateHsu Chen-wei (KMT)
 • Total4,628.5714 km2 (1,787.1014 sq mi)
 • Rank1 of 22
 (March 2023)
 • Total318,736[1]
 • Rank20 of 22
Time zoneUTC+8 (National Standard Time)
ISO 3166 codeTW-HUA
BirdMaroon Oriole (Oriolus traillii)
FlowerLotus (Nymphaeaceae)
TreePeepul (Ficus religiosa)
Hualien County
Traditional Chinese花蓮

Hualien County (Mandarin Wade–Giles: Hua¹-lien² Hsien⁴; Pīnyīn: Huālián Xiàn; Hokkien POJ: Hoa-lian-koān or Hoa-liân-koān; Hakka PFS: Fâ-lièn-yen; Amis: Kalingko) is a county on the east coast of Taiwan. It is Taiwan's largest county by area, yet due to its mountainous terrain, has one of the lowest populations in the country. The county seat and largest city is Hualien City. Hualien County is located in the eastern part of Taiwan—the Pacific Ocean lies to its east and the Central Mountain Range lies to its west. Narrow and long, Hualien is the largest county in Taiwan in terms of area.

Most of its population resides in the Huadong Valley, which runs north to south between the Central and Hai'an mountain ranges. Hualien's natural beauty attracts many visitors and some of its natural attractions include Taroko Gorge, Qingshui Cliff, and Qixingtan Beach.

Much of modern-day Hualien County was populated by the Sakizaya people before the arrival of the Spanish, Dutch, and Han Chinese under Qing annexation. The region was renamed Karenkō Prefecture in 1895 during Japanese colonial rule. In 1945, after the end of World War II, the Republic of China took control of Taiwan and renamed the former Karenkō Prefecture as Hualien County of Taiwan Province. Taiwan Province would be reorganized once again in 1998 and Hualien County fell under the direct jurisdiction of the Executive Yuan.

As of February 2023, Hualien's organic cultivation area was 3,175 hectares, the largest of any county in the country. Hualien is the largest organic agricultural production base in Taiwan.[2]


Early history

Modern-day Hualien City was originally called Kilai (Chinese: 奇萊; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Kî-lâi), after the Sakizaya Taiwanese indigenous peoples' settlement.[3]

Spanish settlers arrived in 1622 to pan for gold. Picking up the sounds of native words, these settlers called the area Turumoan (多羅滿; To-lô-boán). Han Chinese settlers arrived in 1851. Qing dynasty records give the name of the region as Huilan (洄瀾; Hoê-liân; 'eddies') due to the whirling of waters in the delta.

Empire of Japan

Main article: Karenkō Prefecture

During Taiwan's Japanese colonial period (1895–1945) the island's Japanese governors opted not to transliterate the name "Kiray" because the Japanese pronunciation of the word resembled the Japanese word for "dislike, disgusting" (嫌い, kirai). The official name became Karenkō (花蓮港, Karenkō). Karenkō Prefecture consisted of modern-day Hualien County. Toward the end of World War II the Governor-General of Taiwan moved many Japanese residents of Taiwan to the area to develop agriculture. The county was named after lotus flowers.

Republic of China

After the handover of Taiwan from Japan to the Republic of China in October 1945, Hualien was established as a county named Hualien County of Taiwan Province on 9 January 1946. In 1951, Hualien was the first county in Taiwan to be governed according to the ROC local autonomy law. Today the Hualien area serves as the key population centre on the east coast it is one of the five main 'life circle' regions in Taiwan, together with Taipei, Taichung, Tainan and Kaohsiung.

2021 train derailment

On 2 April 2021, a Taroko Express derailed at the north entrance of Qingshui Tunnel after striking an unattended flatbed truck that had fallen onto the tracks. The incident is the deadliest train accident in Taiwan since 1948, with at least 50 passengers reported dead and more than 150 injured.


Central Mountain Range
Hualien (1951)

Hualien County is situated in eastern Taiwan. It faces the Pacific Ocean with Japan (Okinawa Prefecture) lying to its east, the Central Mountain Range, Taichung City, Nantou County, and Kaohsiung City to its west, Yilan County to the north, and Taitung County to the south. It stretches around 137.5 km (85.4 mi) from north to south, with its east-west width ranging from 27 to 43 km (17 to 27 mi). Its area is about 4,628.57 km2 (1,787.10 sq mi), approximately an eighth of Taiwan's total area.

Despite its vast area, only 7% of the county area is populated. The remaining area is occupied by rivers (7%) and mountains (87%). Prominent mountain ranges include the Central Mountain Range in the west and the Hai'an Range in the east. The main rivers in the county include the Hualian River and Xiuguluan River and their branches. Subtropical plains, with a mean width around 3–6 km (1.9–3.7 mi), dominate the valleys between both mountain ranges. Due to the inhospitable nature of the surrounding mountainous terrain, Hualien people reside mostly on the alluvial fans of the Huatung Valley plains.[4]


Hualien County Council
Hualien City, the county seat of Hualien County.

Administrative divisions

Hualien County is divided into one city, two urban townships, seven rural townships, and three mountain indigenous townships. Some towns have Japanese names because these towns were named by Japanese during the Japanese ruling period from 1895 to 1945. Hualien City is the county seat and houses the Hualien County Government and Hualien County Council.[5]

Type Name Chinese[6] Taiwanese POJ Hakka Formosan Japanese Origin
City Hualien City 花蓮 Hoa-lian or
Fâ-lièn KalinkoAmis, NabakuwanSakizaya Karenkō (花蓮港)
Fenglin 鳳林 Hōng-lîm Fung-lìm MarlimuAmis
Yuli 玉里 Gio̍k-lí Ngiu̍k-lî PoskoAmis Tamasato (玉里)
Fengbin 豐濱 Hong-pin Fûng-pîn FakongAmis, BakungKavalan Toyohama (豊浜)
Fuli 富里 Hù-lí Fu-lî KongpoAmis Tomisato (富里)
Guangfu 光復 Kong-ho̍k Kông-fu̍k Fata'anAmis
Ji'an 吉安 Kiat-an Kit-ôn CikasuanAmis Yoshino (吉野)
Ruisui 瑞穗 Sūi-sūi or
Lui-sui KohkohAmis Mizuho (瑞穂)
Shoufeng 壽豐 Siū-hong Su-fûng CiamenganAmis Kotobuki (寿)
Xincheng 新城 Sin-siâⁿ Sîn-sàng SinjiyuTruku, TakidisAmis
Wanrong 萬榮 Bān-êng Van-yùng MalibasiTruku
Xiulin (Sioulin) 秀林 Siù-lîm Siu-lìm BsuringTruku
Zhuoxi 卓溪 Toh-khe Cho̍k-hâi TakkeiBunun

Colors indicate the common language status of Hakka and Formosan languages within each division.


Hsu Chen-wei, the incumbent Magistrate of Hualien County.

Hualien County voted one Kuomintang legislator to be in the Legislative Yuan during the 2022 Taiwanese local elections.[7] The incumbent Magistrate of the county is Hsu Chen-wei of the Kuomintang.


Climate data for Hualien City (1991–2020 average)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 29.6
Mean daily maximum °C (°F) 21.4
Daily mean °C (°F) 18.3
Mean daily minimum °C (°F) 15.8
Record low °C (°F) 4.6
Average precipitation mm (inches) 54.6
Average rainy days 13.4 14.2 14.2 14.1 15.8 11.6 8.2 10.4 13.2 12.5 12.4 11.2 151.2
Average relative humidity (%) 75.6 76.9 77.4 78.9 80.2 80.4 77.1 78.0 77.8 75.2 75.7 74.0 77.3
Mean monthly sunshine hours 68.7 67.8 85.7 98.1 124.3 180.9 255.6 228.0 163.1 124.3 93.2 74.2 1,563.9
Source: Central Meteorological Bureau[8]

Demographics and culture

Historical population
1985 361,549—    
1990 352,233−2.6%
1995 358,981+1.9%
2000 353,630−1.5%
2005 345,303−2.4%
2010 338,805−1.9%
2015 331,945−2.0%
Source:"Populations by city and country in Taiwan". Ministry of the Interior Population Census.
Population density around the county (December 2009).


Hualien County has 318,995 inhabitants as of January 2023 and is divided into 1 city and 12 townships. Its late development means that many aboriginal cultures such as Amis, Atayal, Bunun, Truku, Sakizaya, and Kavalan are well-preserved. As of 2014, aborigines make up 27.5% of the population of Hualien County (about 91,675).[9] The Hakka people comprise about 30% of inhabitants.[1]

The county has seen negative population growth since the early 2000s due to emigration to other places outside Hualien County, with an average reduction of 1,393 people per year over the past 18 years.

According to a 2015 survey on national happiness index, Hualien County was rated as the happiest place to live in Taiwan among other 20 counties and cities due to strong levels of satisfaction with work-life balance, living condition, education, environmental quality and the performance of the local government.[10]


The internationally famous Buddhist Tzu Chi foundation is headquartered in Hualien City. There are also many temples around the county. Buddhism and folk religions are popular in Hualien County.[11] Hualien County also has the highest concentration of Roman Catholics in Taiwan, with 9.46% of its population identifying as such.[12]


Hualien County is home to the Hualien Stadium and Hualien Baseball Stadium.

Because of its awesome scenic view, fresh air, fine weather, and plenty of well-maintained bike trails, Hualien County is a popular destination for cyclist enthusiasts and marathon runners. Many cycling tournaments and marathon events are held each year in Hualien County. Notable events include the Taiwan KOM Challenge[13] and Taroko Gorge Marathon.[14]

Hualien also hosted the 2009 Asian Canoe Polo Championships.


Cement plant in Xincheng Township.

There is cement mining activity in the county. The Asia Cement Corporation plant in Xincheng Township contributes nearly 29% of Taiwan's annual cement production.[15]


The Hualien County Department of Education lists 6 institutions of higher learning within the county's borders as well as 15 high schools, 35 junior high schools and 151 elementary schools, though some of the listed elementary campuses have been closed for years due to their remote location and subsequently low enrollment.

Primary and secondary education

Secendary education

Higher education

National Dong Hwa University Library

Hualien County is home to National Dong Hwa University, Tzu Chi University, and Dahan Institute of Technology.

The National Dong Hwa University is the first and most prestigious university in Hualien, boasting the largest student body, largest concert hall, and largest library of any institute of higher education there. The National Hualien University of Education, which was merged with the National Dong Hwa University in 2008, was the first normal school in Hualien; only nine schools of its kind exist in Taiwan.

Mandarin education


Hoping Power Plant

Hualien County houses the hydroelectric Bihai Power Plant with an installed capacity of 61.2 MW and coal-fired Hoping Power Plant with a capacity of 1,320 MW, the fourth largest coal-fired power plant in Taiwan. Both power plants are located in Xiulin Township.

Due to its power plant, Hoping is also the location of a deep water bulk cargo port. Hoping Port is located in Hoping Village, Xiulin Township.[16]

Tourist attractions

Taroko National Park


The national parks in the county include Matai'an Wetland Ecological Park, Taroko National Park and Yushan National Park. Notable mountains and cliffs in the county include Hehuan Mountain, Pingfeng Mountain, Qilai Mountain, and Qingshui Cliff. Other natural areas include the Liyu Lake, Shihtiping, Mugua River Gorge, Walami Trail, Niushan Huting, East Rift Valley, Rareseed Ranch, Lintianshan Forestry Culture Park, and Qixingtan Beach.


Museums and historical buildings in Hualien County include Dongli Story House, Hualien Sugar Factory, Pine Garden, Saoba Stone Pillars, Hualien Cultural and Creative Industries Park, Lintian Police Substation and Old Lintian Police Station, Chihsing Tan Katsuo Museum, and Hualien County Stone Sculptural Museum.

Theme parks

Farglory Ocean Park is in Hualien County.

Places of worships

Hualien Martyrs' Shrine, Hualien Sheng'an Temple, Hualien Chenghuang Temple, Xiangde Temple, Eternal Spring Shrine and Hualien Al-Falah Mosque are located in the county.


The one night market in the county is Dongdamen Night Market.


Hualien Airport

See also


  1. ^ a b Yu, Tai-lang; Pan, Jason (17 February 2014). "Aborigines Now Make up 28% of Hualien County". Taipei Times. Archived from the original on 2015-02-16. Retrieved 2014-02-17.
  2. ^ "國內有機及友善耕作種植面積概況". (in Chinese). 2013-05-14. Retrieved 2023-03-25.
  3. ^ 撒奇萊雅族. Taiwan Indigenous Peoples Culture Park (in Chinese). Archived from the original on 11 May 2015. Retrieved 3 December 2014.
  4. ^ 縣府各樓層平面圖. 花蓮縣全球資訊服務網 (in Chinese). Archived from the original on 2018-07-23. Retrieved 2014-08-27.
  5. ^ Yang, Yi-chung; Chung, Jake (2 September 2014). "Interview: Hualien Commissioner Fu Targets Debt". Taipei Times. Archived from the original on 2014-09-08. Retrieved 2014-09-01.
  6. ^ 現在的花蓮 [Today's Hualien]. 花蓮縣全球資訊服務網 (in Chinese). 17 October 2018. Archived from the original on 12 April 2019. Retrieved 13 April 2019. 秀林鄉. 新城鄉. 花蓮市.吉安鄉. 壽豐鄉. 鳳林鎮.光復鄉. 萬榮鄉. 瑞穗鄉.豐濱鄉. 玉里鎮. 卓溪鄉.富里鄉
  7. ^ "花蓮縣 - 縣長 - 中選會開票結果 - 2022 九合一選舉" (in Traditional Chinese). Liberty Times. Archived from the original on 2024-01-09. Retrieved 2024-01-09.
  8. ^ "CWB Observation Data Inquire System". CWB Observation Data Inquire System. Retrieved April 2, 2021.
  9. ^ Hsieh, Chia-chen; Wu, Jeffrey (15 February 2015). "Amis Remains Taiwan's Biggest Aboriginal Tribe at 37.1% of Total". Focus Taiwan News Channel. Central News Agency. Archived from the original on 2015-02-16. Retrieved 2015-02-16.
  10. ^ "Hualien County Ranked as Country's Happiest Place to Reside, Says Survey". The China Post. Central News Agency. 2 October 2015. Archived from the original on 2015-10-04. Retrieved 2015-10-03.
  11. ^ "About Hualien City". Hualien City Office. Archived from the original on 2013-11-14. Retrieved 2014-08-27.
  12. ^ "Taiwan – Statistics by Diocese – by Percentage Catholic". Catholic Hierarchy. Archived from the original on 14 March 2016. Retrieved 11 July 2016.
  13. ^ "2015 Taiwan KOM Challenge". Archived from the original on 2015-06-28. Retrieved 2015-06-25.
  14. ^ "Taroko Gorge Marathon 2016". Event Carnival. Archived from the original on 2015-05-11. Retrieved 2015-06-25.
  15. ^ Kuo, Chia-erh (13 June 2017). "Asia Cement Denies Mine Site in Hualien Expanded". Taipei Times. Archived from the original on 16 June 2017. Retrieved 15 June 2017.
  16. ^ Guide to Port Entry (2016 ed.). London, UK: Fairplay Publications. 1 January 2016.