Three Pools Mirroring the Moons – Ticket, Opening Hours, Location, and Highlights

three pools mirroring the moon

Three Pools Mirroring the Moon (三潭印月), also known as “Xiao Yingzhou” or “Little Yingzhou,” graces the central-southern part of West Lake, standing as the largest of the three islands that visitors can explore. Shaped like a “田” character, the island’s outer circular rim showcases the elegance of a Jiangnan garden, while the inner region, divided by a cross-shaped arrangement of islands and bridges, forms four smaller lakes, each exuding poetic charm. The island’s cultural and scenic highlights converge at its northern end, featuring the Shrine of the Wise, Kailang Pavilion, various small pavilions, nine stone lions, and the Nine-Curve Bridge, creating an exquisitely detailed landscape.


Basic Information

Estimated Length of Tour2 hours
Ticket Price20 RMB
Opening Hours8.00 – 17.00
Telephone Number0086-0571-87977767

Location and Transportation

To reach Three Pools Mirroring the Moon, visitors can take a West Lake cruise from various docks along the lake. The boats from Huagang (花岗), Zhongshan (中山), and Hangfan (Yue Temple) (杭饭(岳庙)) docks dock on the west side of the island, while the boats from Hubin dock (湖滨) on the east side, providing convenient access to this serene oasis in West Lake.


Highlights of Three Pools Mirroring the Moon

The Three Pagodas

Within the southern lake of the island, three stone pagodas stand, rumored to have been constructed by Su Dongpo during his efforts to dredge West Lake in Hangzhou (the current pagodas are reconstructions from the Ming Dynasty). The pagodas are arranged in an equilateral triangle, with each side measuring sixty-two meters. Standing at a height of approximately 2.5 meters, with about 2 meters exposed above the water surface, each pagoda consists of a base, a cylindrical tower, a treasure top, a hexagonal pavilion, and a gourd-shaped spire.


Moons and Reflections

What adds intrigue is the hollow interior of the pagodas, featuring five evenly spaced circular holes on the spherical surface. On moonlit nights, workers in the garden row boats to each of the three pagodas. Placing a candle at the center of each pagoda, they cover the holes with thin paper. As a result, the holes project the image of the moon onto the lake’s surface, creating numerous reflections. With five holes on each of the three pagodas, a total of thirty moons and reflections are created, blurring the distinction between real and reflected moons. This enchanting night view earned the site its name, “Three Pools Mirroring the Moon.”


Image on the Currency

The captivating scenery of Three Pools Mirroring the Moon has led to its depiction on Chinese currency. In the late 1970s, the 1 Yuan Foreign Exchange Certificate featured a green image of Three Pools Mirroring the Moon on its front. Subsequently, the fifth set of the 1 Yuan banknote showcased a nearly identical scene – a trio of stone pagodas in the water. The widespread recognition further boosted the popularity of Three Pools Mirroring the Moon.

For those wanting a closer look at the stone pagodas, renting a hand-rowed boat at the Huagang Fish-watching Wharf is a delightful option. The boatman can paddle to a spot approximately 100 meters from the pagodas, offering a more intimate and picturesque experience for around 150 yuan per hour.


Vlog about Three Pools Mirroring the Moons


Attrations near the Three Pools

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