Lately, as Google Maps has announced the inclusion of different parts of the world with Street View, the selection of these regions has seemed less and less random and a more deliberate effort by Google Maps to provide a new service that will be an opportune travel tool for tourists. Google Maps introduced Street View for Poland in anticipation of the 2012 European Football Championship later this year, they rolled out a specialized Street View ahead of Google's occupation of a residential street in Austin, Texas, for South by Southwest, proffered some CES-centric maps of Las Vegas earlier this year, and even mapped out some college campuses to help ease those nervous navigatory pre-frosh worries. Following this new habit, Google Maps announced today that Japan's extant Street View will get a few modifications this spring as it's sakura season, otherwise known as cherry blossom season.
From the Lat Long Blog:
Working with the Japan Tourism Agency and Japan National Tourism Organization, we figured out the most popular tourist spots for foreign travelers and listed them on our guide.
This edition covers eight distinct areas — Ginza, Asakusa, Akihabara, Tsukji, Kamakura, Fuji spots, Kyoto, and Osaka — and for each, we recommend spots for sightseeing, eating, and, shopping. We are able to offer interiors panoramic views of many of the guide’s business locations, since many of the business owners participated in our Business Photos pilot program. In total, the guide offers 339 total locations, including 26 great cherry blossom viewing spots.
This Google Street View feature will appear a little different to those familiar with the ground-level panorama feature as it's actually more akin to a travel guide than just a flee-floating, wherever-you-may-roam function. For example, if you were to direct your Google Maps antennae in the direction of Taiso-in Temple, a buddhist temple located in Kyoto, you'll find yourself looking out from the eaves of the temple at a flourishing cherry blossom trea with a little bit of information about the garden. For instance, the Taizo-in Temple caption reads, "The weeping cherry tree by the back gate welcomes you to Taizoin Temple. The Yokoen pond garden has blooming crimson weeping cherry trees and are especially extravagant in the springtime, their pink colors decorating the garden." (Sorry, doesn't appear that there was a way to embed the map while having the Cherry Blossom Season Edition enabled. You can check out the full Maps version here.)
Users can select areas in which to see the cherry blossoms via the right side menu that features all of the cherry blossom-flush locales in Japan. Also, the Cherry Blossoms feature is available in four languages - Japanese, English, Chinese, and Korean.