Google Street View gears up for Japan's tourist season

For Japan's Cherry Blossom season, Google has released a special edition of Street View with information for tourists in English, Japanese and Chinese.

Just in time for Japan's cherry blossom season, one of the biggest tourist events of the year, Google has produced a Street View guide to show you around.

The special Cherry Blossom Season Edition provides some of the best locations to enjoy the sights, with beautiful pictures from last year's blossoms. The guide looks at several of the big attractions in Japan, providing details on shops and restaurants in each area.

Alongside short blurbs of information at every location, users can freely take a virtual walk around some of Japan's most beautiful temples and parks. The information is available in English, Japanese and Chinese.

After last years devastating earthquake, visiting Japan has become a less appealing prospect for many tourists. The Fukushima nuclear plant is still not completely under control, and despite only one nuclear reactor remaining online across Japan, many are still dubious about the radiation levels.

Some tourists do not consider Japan safe, which given the predictions of another quake in the near future, is understandable. Despite this, the number of visitors coming to Japan has been steadily improving and this time of year is a big draw for tourism.

Many are gathering for hanami (flower viewing) parties --- a long standing tradition that sees thousands gathering in parks to celebrate the blossoms throughout the day and into the night.

Usually this means lots of food and drink with friends, and a little admiring of flowers. There is even a saying in Japanese, 'hana yori dango', meaning 'dumplings not flowers' as a joke about most of these parties.

As the flowers only last a few weeks, it is imperative to see them whilst they are blossoming, and forecasts are aired on television to help predict when the season will begin.

Google previously provided images of the devastation of the Tohoku earthquake in Street View, allowing users to see areas from before and after the tsunami.

Image source: Google/ZDNet.