Google’s Street View program is offering a sobering tour of the areas of Japan devastated by the earthquake and tsunami. A special site lets you see before and after shots of the affected areas.
A virtual tour via Street View profoundly illustrates how much these natural disasters have transformed these communities. If you start inland and venture out toward the coast, you’ll see the idyllic countryside change dramatically, becoming cluttered with mountains of rubble and debris as you get closer to the ocean. In the cities, buildings that once stood proud are now empty spaces.
As with anything Street View, you can zoom in and out to take closer looks or get a broad picture of what happened. And you can virtually stroll down the street. Google has also recently started time stamping all its Street View images with month and year so if you’re wondering when the shot was taken, you’ll know.