As the COVID-19 pandemic takes a toll on the tourism industry, one place in Taiwan has managed to attract the attention of foreigners and it’s all because of its sudden emptiness.
A Reddit user recently visited the Miyahara Ice Cream store in Taichung, only to find that the once-packed tourist hotspot was nearly completely empty.
The social media user then posted the photo with a comment, “Never seen this place so empty,” surprisingly leading many other foreigners to enquire after the location and the building’s history.
With the ice cream shop’s vast interior and intricate designs in full view, one Reddit user asked if the picture was a scene from Hogwarts, while another seconded the comment, replying that it reminded him of “Gringotts”, the wizard bank in the Harry Potter universe.
Many foreigners in the discussion forum also recalled their previous experiences in the store with one commenting: “Last time I went it was so crowded this shot would have been impossible. So many people, the stairs above were blocked off unless you had a reservation for the restaurant, and the 3rd floor was closed. Talk about disappointed.”
Another marveled at the photograph as they had never seen the entirety of the ice cream shop before, as it was always packed, while a subsequent commenter stated that they thought it was a bookstore at first, as they couldn’t imagine an ice cream store looking this regal.
Miyahara Ice Cream, once an optometry store, was built in the 1930s during the Japanese occupation era in Taiwan.
When Taiwan came under the KMT government’s rule, the eye doctor and founder returned back to Japan, and thus, the building was seized by Taichung city authorities.
Miyahara building was later renovated in 2010 and began attracting more people after it began selling pineapple cakes and other Taiwanese delicacies, becoming the popular must-visit spot it is today.