The cash crop of tobacco was imported into the Hualien area during the Japanese occupation, with the purpose of increasing the income of the Japanese immigrant villages located in the Hualien-Taitung areas. Lintian Immigrant Village, located in Fenglin Township, became a major center for the planting of tobacco. The tobacco buildings were used to store and smoke-roast the tobacco leaves. There are ten tobacco buildings located in Fenglin Township's Darong Village and Beilin Village area, making it Taiwan's most concentrated area of tobacco buildings. These tobacco buildings also happen to be better-preserved than most. Because tobacco is a strong cash crop, the tobacco buildings became a symbol of financial ability. In early years, one just had to see how many tobacco buildings each household owned, in order to guess the household's level of affluence.
Tobacco buildings come in two shapes, namely the Osaka-style and the Hiroshima-style. The smoke outlet of the Osaka-style tobacco buildings protrudes from the roof. Because of its tall, large size, it is efficient at expelling smoke. However, due to it facing more wind, it is easily damaged during a typhoon. The Hiroshima style tobacco buildings have the exact opposite circumstances. The smoke outlet does not protrude from the roof, so the building is more secure during a typhoon, however, fires easily occur. Most of the tobacco buildings in the Fenglin area are of the Osaka style. In recent years, the township office has started to repair several of these buildings one-by-one. As a result, these local cultural assets will be turned into tourist spots that provide educational and recreational functions.
The tobacco industry requires intense manpower. During cultivation, one must be very careful to prevent blighting, and during the flue curing process, in order to control the moisture content, close attention to timing must be observed. In the past, timber was used for firing, and the tobacco farmers had to work in shifts, with no sleep or rest for 24 hours. Along with modern progress, electric firing is now done, and computers are even used to control the electric firing chambers. The tobacco farmers no longer keep watch by the arid chambers, and the cured tobacco leaves are of an even better quality than before.
Address:Darong Village and Beilin Village ,Fenglin Township, Hualien County,Taiwan (R.O.C.)