Moon-viewing pavilion offers out-of-this-world sight.

Generally, temples in Japan close their gates once the sun goes down. On special occasions, though, they’ll stay open later, and these events are a real treat for photographers, since the temple grounds take on a timeless quality as the surrounding modern world fades into the shadows.

So when Mii Temple, also known as Nagarasan Onjo Temple, in the city of Otsu, Shiga Prefecture announced it’d be open after sundown earlier this month, Japanese Twitter user @auki999 grabbed her camera and headed out to snap some pictures.

The glow of the lanterns imparted a comforting warmth to the gateways and courtyard, and what was really special was that the temple, for the first time, was allowing visitors access to its mitzuki butai, or “moon-viewing pavilion.” Built in 1849, as the name implies the structure’s primary purpose is a spot from which to admire the moon on clear nights, but the night of @auki999’s visit coincided with the height of cherry blossom season, allowing her to capture this amazing image.

But as soon as your brain finishes shouting “Wow!”, the next thing it’s going to say is probably “What?” There somehow seem to be sakura both above and below, but this is actually some awesomely clever camera placement at work.

Because of the age of the moon-viewing pavilion, the temple took the precaution of laying down protective acrylic panels in the center of its floorspace. Since the panels are clear, they take on a mirror-like quality when viewed from certain angles, and so it’s the cherry blossoms on top in the photo that are the real ones, with the bottom half being their equally breathtaking reflection.

▼ The technique works in the daytime too.

The moon-viewing pavilion is once again closed off to visitors (at least until the next time Mii Temple holds a special event), but this sakura season @auki999 was also able to photograph some reflecting cherry blossoms at the Jikkokubune Canal in Kyoto’s historical Fushimi district…

…plus some amazing views of Kyoto’s Kiyomizu Temple on a night that it was lit up.

It all just goes to show that taking beautiful photos means being on the lookout for great shots 24 hours a day and in all 360 degrees.

Source: Twitter/@auki999 via IT Media
Top image: Twitter/@auki999
Insert image: Twitter/@auki999
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