The Tianhou Temple in Taitung is the only government-built temple dedicated to Matzu in eastern Taiwan. Unlike western Taiwan, which has long-established Han Chinese settlements, cultivating the land and pacifying the indigenous population in eastern Taiwan during the Qing era proved challenging. This Matzu temple served to consolidate and unite early settlers. The temple also has historical significance for preserving Han Chinese culture and becoming a center of faith under the Kōminka (Japanization) movement during the Japanese colonial period. The temple houses old artifacts like a plaque that reads "divine blessings are assured to the devout", bestowed by Guangxu Emperor to commemorate the quelling of a local rebellion; and a stone stele that records the development of the area called Mazutian. The right wing of the temple is a martyrs' shrine with spirit tablets, while the main hall enshrines statues of Yuan Wen-to (1822-1884 CE)—Sub-Prefect of Marine Defense and Indigenous Affairs in Southern Routes—and Chang Chao-lien (Chang Chi-kuang, dates of birth and death unknown)—Admiral of the Rear Naval Detachment. These artifacts are one-of-a-kind, and were a pivotal part in the history of eastern Taiwan's development. The Taitung Lantern Festival Pilgrimage—which remains an annual event to this day—was also initiated by Tianhou Temple. The temple's large-scale chiao (offering) ritual for peace, held once every 12 years, is a major ceremony in Taitung City.
Intricate wood carvings and colorful paintings made by craftsmen during the Japanese occupation in the temple
Stone carving dragon pillar in front of the temple in the 6th year of the Japanese occupation of Showa (1931)
Female and male stone lions at the main entrance during the renovation during the Japanese occupation
During the Guangxu reign of the Qing Dynasty, Zhang Zhaolian presented a copy of the plaque to the temple to thank Mazu Yongquan in Tainan's Great Tianhou Temple for helping to quell the chaos.
In the 14th year of Guangxu in the Qing Dynasty (1888), the officers and soldiers of the Dazhuang incident were besieged and the water source was cut off. According to legend, the admiral Zhang Zhaolian asked Mazu to dig the water source.
The Mazutian stele records that Admiral Zhang Zhaolian assigned the righteous land in Dapo Village of Chishang Township to Mazu Land in order to make the temple sustainable and leased to Tianhou Palace by tenant farmers.
The stele of Tianhou Palace in Pinan in the 17th year of Guangxu in the Qing Dynasty (1891), detailing the miracles of Zhang Zhaolian's suppression of the Dazhuang People's Revolution, the emergence of Mazu, and the construction of the Tianhou Palace in the 15th year of Guangxu (1889)
In the 7th year of Guangxu in the Qing Dynasty (1881), to commemorate the development of the "Houshan" sages and martyrs, the memorial tablet of Zhaozhong Temple and the statues of generals and military generals were enshrined
After the Dazhuang incident settled down, the Tianhou Palace built a temple, and the emperor Guangxu of the Qing dynasty gave a plaque "Ling Zhao Chengyou" to show his merits.