I don’t know when this was released (couldn’t find any announcement on the Google Japan Blog) but it looks like Google finally introduced street view for Japan. I suppose it was only a matter of time once they figured out how to censor people’s faces automatically. They covered an amazing range of streets for Osaka and Tokyo and partial areas near there such as Kyoto, Saitama, and Chiba. Smaller areas are also viewable in Sendai, Hakodate, and Sapporo. I can’t even imagine how many hours it took to drive through all those tiny little streets!
Hopefully, with the ability to actually see where you want to go, this will become another tool in our arsenal to navigate the crazy no-name streets of Japan. Although without any street names, it’s almost impossible to even know where to put the little yellow guy. But with a little bit of searching, you can at least use it to show your family where you lived or are living in Japan!
For instance, if you work for Hitachi, you might end up in their 第二志村寮 like I did. And here’s the crappy old building I used to work at before they moved their headquarters to the fancy and new ダイビル in 秋葉原. Before that, I worked briefly at the ironically named 新丸の内ビル near Tokyo station just before it was torn down to be rebuilt. (I wonder if it’s already been rebuilt and reopened?)
If you have never been to Tokyo or Osaka before, the first thing you’ll probably notice is the never-ending spans of concrete with the occasional tree or bush here and there. It gets pretty hot once all that concrete and metal starts baking in the summer. Who says we need nature? Ha!