These days Google Maps has become an invaluable tool for tourists. Now we can step fearlessly into the wilderness of unknown countries, knowing that it’s nearly impossible to get lost. Well, as long as your phone doesn’t run out of battery…

Odate, a town in Akita prefecture, are hoping this can help convince people to step off the beaten track and visit their northern winter paradise. In this year of the dog, they’ve teamed up with Google and are leveraging their soft (and fluffy) power to try to bring a boost to tourism.

That leverage is of course, Akita’s good-est boys and girls around. The Akita Inu breed of dog. Japan’s most famous dog Hachiko, who is forever immortalised by the well-known statue outside of Shibuya station in Tokyo, was an Akita dog himself and born in the region.

In the snowy countryside of Akita, the areas that they want to introduce to the world aren’t easily accessible to the Google Street View van. So these helpful pooches are taking over, to show us the best spots using cameras attached to their backs with a harness.

The dogs take us to five winter wonderland locations. One of the dogs come to pay respects to the ultimate good boy Hachiko at Odate's very own statue. You can also accompany them to some beautiful snowy mountain scenery, warm your paws in a hot spring foot bath, see Roken Shrine and take a break at the Akita Dog Museum. The list of dog views can be seen here.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.