If you’ve always found the Street View experience a little underwhelming due to its distinct lack of animal-led endeavors, then the latest addition to this growing body of work should have you yelping like an excited puppy that’s just been thrown a new toy.
Keen to give us humans the opportunity to see what the world looks like from a pooch’s point of view, Google Japan has now added “dog view” to its Street View content, starting with a tour of the sights of Odate City in Akita Prefecture. The new imagery is brought to us by two Akita dogs, which, as the name of the breed suggests, have strong links with the area.
The panoramic pictures were collected by attaching cameras (no, not the big heavy “Trekker” cameras but smaller, dog-friendly versions) to two cooperative canines called Asuka and Ako. The dogs were taken for walkies around the snowy streets and fields of the northern Japanese city (population 75,000), capturing pictures of mostly snowy landscapes with every step.
A nice touch with the gathered content is the inclusion of the dogs’ fluffy bits, viewable from most angles as you swing around to explore the wintry surroundings.
The project is all part of an effort to promote Odate City and to highlight its long-time connection with its beloved breed of dog. The most famous Akita to have lived is Odate-born Hachiko, who in the 1920s used to wait every day outside Tokyo’s Shibuya station for his owner to return from work.
After the owner died at work, Hachiko continued to head to the station to meet his master for many years after. The heartwarming story inspired the 2009 movie Hachi: A Dog’s Tale starring Richard Gere, and a statue of the loyal dog outside Shibuya station is now a popular meeting point for visitors to the area. Another Hachiko statue can be found outside Odate Station, and is viewable on Street View for all sofa-based travelers thanks to Asuka and Ako’s tireless efforts.
A video released by Google Japan (above) features some behind-the-scenes footage of the dogs on their travels. Hit the translation button beneath the player for English subtitles.