This week sees the peak of the cherry blossom flowers in and around Tokyo.
Cherry blossom trees in Tokyo started to bloom on the 26th of March, and are expected to be in their peak bloom, known as “mankai” in Japanese, this week between the 2nd and 8th of April
To coincide with the cherry blossom season in Japan this year, Google Maps has added cherry blossom icons to its maps of Japan for a limited time only. The icons are displayed on popular cherry blossom-viewing spots such as parks, rivers and castle grounds, and are designed to help potential blossom enthusiasts locate a suitable spot for their flower-viewing activities.
When users zoom in on a particular area, cherry blossom icons appear on recommended flower viewing locations nearby. When users tap on one of the icons, an information bar appears with more details on the spot, including an icon to show what stage of blooming its flowers are currently at. This feature is sure to be particularly helpful for cherry blossom aficionados looking for a place to hold their blossom-viewing picnics under the pink bloom-laden boughs.
In areas with a high concentration of cherry blossom spots, a list of recommended cherry blossom viewing spots in the vicinity appears when users swipe up from the bottom of the screen. The list displays information on when and where the bloom will be happening at each location, along with thumbnail photographs and an icon showing the stage of blooming.
Unfortunately, the detailed information is currently only available in Japanese, but the icons can still be used by tourists and visitors to identify nearby cherry blossom spots, potentially saving time and effort of tracking down the perfect picnic spot manually.
Hopefully, if the function is popular then Google may consider rolling out an English-language version next year - cherry blossom connoisseurs will eagerly await new developments from Google with bated breath!
The cherry blossom icon function works on Google Maps when viewed on smartphone (Android and iOS) as well as on desktop browser.
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