Last week I set up a challenge to guess the locations, as portrayed by Google’s April Fools’ Day “Quest” street view. I hope you enjoyed it! Here are the answers.
1. The Peace Park Memorial Arch, Hiroshima
This one’s kind of hard to miss if you’ve been to Hiroshima! The arch is shaped like the roof of an ancient Japanese home, to symbolize a shelter and resting place for the souls of the victims. If you look directly through the arch you can see the A-Bomb Dome framed in the distance, with the Flame of Peace in the foreground.
2. Shibuya Crossing
Probably the most famous intersection in Japan, when the lights change and the little green man lights up, it gets crazy. Honestly this picture doesn’t even do it justice, pedestrian traffic hits its peak in the evening when everyone’s getting off work or going out for the night.
3. Kiyomizu Temple, Kyoto
One of the most famous temples, probably, in Kyoto, or even Japan. You can actually walk through the temple grounds on Google street view, which is pretty cool. But of course it’s better to go and experience it for yourself. You can also drink the water (Kiyomizu = pure water); each of the three streams gives you a different blessing, but you are supposed to only choose one, lest you be seen by the gods as greedy and denied all three. One of the streams is for longevity, the drinking of which may be the real reason why Japanese people live so long (not a scientifically proven theory, of course).
4. Matsumoto Castle
One of the four most famous castles of Japan. If you were clever, you could pick this one out of the gazillions of castles based on the dark blue pixelation, which betrays Matsumoto-jo’s rare black colour. I still haven’t been here, but it’s on my list for sure!
5. Aokigahara (The Suicide Forest)
If you guessed “Mt. Fuji,” you were partially right. Sorry to end on such a morbid note, but I thought it was interesting that they took the time to put this little ghost around the general location of the infamous “suicide forest” at the base of Mt. Fuji. The post-volcanic forest, known for being eerily quiet and for its mythical association with demons, is apparently the 2nd most popular place to commit suicide in the world, after the Golden Gate Bridge. That aside it sounds like the forest itself would be a fascinating place to explore, although I would be afraid to discover a dead body along the way.
Anyways, there you have it! Google quest success!