Ximending generally refers to the area surrounded by Zhonghua Rd., Kangding Rd., Hankou St., and Chengdu Rd. Since many bus lines gather in Zhonghua Rd., Ximending is also an important area for bus transfers. The MRT Ximen Station for the Blue Line and Green Line is also set up here.
The Ximending Pedestrian Area is named after the administrative division Seimon Machi (西門町), which existed during Japanese rule. The area of Seimon Machi included modern-day Chengdu Rd. (成都路), Xining S. Rd. (西寧南路), Kunming St. (昆明街), and Kangding Rd (康定路). However, today the Ximending Pedestrian Area not only includes Seimon Machi, but also Wakatake Machi (若竹町) and Araki Machi (新起町).
The name of Ximending was derived from its position outside the west gate of Taipei Prefecture. In the beginning during Japanese rule, Ximending was an area of wilderness. Later, the Japanese decided to follow the example of Asakusa in Tokyo to set up an entertainment and business area. The earliest entertainment facilities constructed included the Taihokuza in 1897, Eiza (now called New Wanguo Market) in 1902, and the Red House Theater in 1908.
Ximending is now called the “Harajuku” in Taipei. The local bookstores sell Japanese magazines, books, CD albums, and clothing, making it a heaven for the “Harizu”, or Japanese culture adorers. Individual vendors gather in the streets as well as the large business buildings, such as Wannien Department Store and Shizilin Square in the early days, and Wanguo Department Store and Eslite 116 in the later period.