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Make Cherry Blossom Trees Magically Appear in Your Neighborhood

Gritty urban streetscapes transform into dreamy vistas with this map hack.

Petal avalanche. (Generated from Sakura Dream)

The month of April marks cherry blossom season, and tourists are rushing to the cherry blossom capitals of the world to catch a glimpse of the trees' fleeting pink blossoms and revel in cherry blossom festivals.

For those who can't make a trip, the Unilever-owned Japanese beauty brand Lux has launched "Sakura Dream," a Google Maps hack that will virtually plant the cherished trees in streets around in the world.

Be warned. Much like the notoriously hard-to-grow trees, the current version of the site has a few finicky limitations. It only works in areas where Google has done a street view sweep. (Sorry, Africa.) The graphics-heavy visualization is a bit slow and there's no language translation for the Japanese language prompts.

But when it works, the program can turn the grittiest urban streetscape into a dreamy vista, with gently falling petals enough to inspire the gardener or the urban planner.

Detroit, Michigan (Mike Murphy)
Atlanta, Georgia (Roya Wolverson)
London, England (Jason Karaian)
Paris, France (Philippe Mono)
Times Square, New York City

For those who don't have instant translation on their browser, here's a quick guide to the interface:

As Japan's unofficial national flower, cherry blossom (or sakura) appears on the design of the 100 yen coin. And if the Google Maps hack leaves you with a hankering for the the real thing, the flowers are particularly spectacular in Matsumae, Japan; Copenhagen, Denmark; Macon, Georgia; and Washington, DC. In Washington, where over 3,000 trees line the tidal basin are in peak bloom this week, the National Park Service monitors their progress obsessively.

This post originally appeared on Quartz, an Atlantic partner site.

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