Ethereal images emanate a quiet beauty that’ll take your breath away. 

With its rich cultural history, unique architecture, and plethora of World Heritage Sites, Japan is a dream setting for photographers. However, it takes a real talent to capture the beauty of the country in a way we’ve never seen before, and Japanese photographer Koki Ueda has been doing just that, with a series of stunning images that transport the viewer to a dream world, where mountains and shrine gates look like they’re floating in mid-air.

One of Ueda’s most popular images to date features the country’s highest peak and most famous summit, Mt. Fuji. This World Heritage site often stands in as a symbol of Japan, and its near-perfect symmetry and signature shroud of winter snow has been inspiring poets, writers, artists and photographers for centuries.

It can be difficult to capture the true majesty of the mountain, but Ueda was able to capture that, and more, with this photo taken just before dawn. The image shows Mt Fuji as if it were floating on the horizon, highlighting its otherworldly beauty beneath shooting stars as lights in the foreground form a glittery path that leads the eye towards the mountain.

According to Ueda, the photo was taken from Takabotchi Plateau, in Shiojiri City, Nagano Prefecture. At 1,665 metres (5,463 feet) above sea level, Ueda says this is the best vantage point in Japan for seeing Lake Suwa, the city lights, and Mt Fuji, altogether at the same time.

This plateau is a well-known spot for photographing the mountain, and has even appeared in anime like Yurucamp (Laid-Back Camp), but it’s not always easy to capture a good image of Mt Fuji from here, as the mountain is notoriously shy, often hidden behind dense clouds. Winter mornings are considered the best chance of seeing Mt Fuji clearly, and Ueda says it’s sometimes possible to see the mountain surrounded by a sea of clouds at this time, which adds to the drama as well.

▼ The dawn sky and the fog at the foot of the mountain makes Mt Fuji appear god-like, as if it’s peering out from a far-off heavenly land.

▼ Ueda’s images are so striking they received tens of thousands of likes online.

People around Japan were in awe of the magical image, saying:

“This is too beautiful.”
“How stunning! It’s like another world.”
“Wow, this makes me feel like I’m in a dream”
“I live in Nagano but I’ve never seen a vista like this!”
“Thank you for taking such a wonderful photo!”

Photographing iconic symbols of Japan in a floating state is something Ueda excels in, with this image of a torii shrine gate also going viral online.

There’s so much to love about this photo, with its mountain backdrop, electricity poles, snowy rooftops, and the light of a local train cutting through the fog. Then of course there’s the torii shrine gate and the light of a 7-Eleven convenience store at the centre of it all, capturing so much of what we love about Japan in one stunning image.

▼ The photo was taken at Yahiko in Niigata Prefecture, where Ueda is based.

It takes true talent to reveal the beauty of Japan to the world in a whole new light, and Ueda has done that perfectly. Be sure to give him a follow on Twitter and Instagram for more beautiful photos from around the country, and if you’d like to continue the adventure into Japan’s winter wonderland, don’t forget there are these glorious photos of Kyoto in the snow.

Source: Twitter/@fuehrsn via Net Lab
Top image: Twitter/@fuehrsn
Insert images: Twitter/@fuehrsn (1, 2)
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