Petal avalanche. Generated from Sakura Dream

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

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.

More from Quartz:

Traveling While Black Is Never Just Tourism

Here’s How to Use the Spock Emoji on Your iPhone

A Japanese Court Has Ordered Google to Take Down Negative Business Reviews

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. A photo of a closed street in St. Louis
    Equity

    The Curious Tale of the St. Louis Street Barriers

    Thanks to an '80s mania for traffic calming, the St. Louis grid is broken by hundreds of bollards and cul-de-sacs. Critics say it’s time to get rid of them.

  2. A young girl winces from the sting as she receives the polio vaccine in 1954.
    Life

    How Mandatory Vaccination Fueled the Anti-Vaxxer Movement

    To better understand the controversy over New York’s measles outbreak, you have to go back to the late 19th century.

  3. Design

    A New Plan to Correct a Historic Mistake in Pittsburgh

    A Bjarke Ingels Group-led plan from 2015 has given way to a more “practical” design for the Lower Hill District. Concerns over true affordable housing remain.

  4. A photo of the Notre-Dame Cathedral fire in Paris.
    Design

    Amid Notre-Dame’s Destruction, There’s Hope for Restoration

    Flames consumed the roof and spire of the 13th-century cathedral in Paris. The good news: Gothic architecture is built to handle this kind of disaster.

  5. Equity

    The Hidden Horror of Hudson Yards Is How It Was Financed

    Manhattan’s new luxury mega-project was partially bankrolled by an investor visa program called EB-5, which was meant to help poverty-stricken areas.