Stunning exploration game lets you walk at your own pace, take photos with an in-game camera, and discover hidden areas without the crowds.

One of the hot topics concerning people in and out of Japan lately is the problem of overcrowding in Kyoto, as the traditional city buckles under the weight of local and international tourists, which has been increasing year after year.

With the city itself looking to ease congestion by recommending early-morning self-guided tours, many visitors are now heading out to some of Kyoto’s top tourist spots well before the break of dawn. And one of those spots, which is open 24 hours, is a gentle slope lined with hundreds of vermilion torii gates, at a shrine called Fushimi Inari Taisha.

A pre-dawn journey to the famous World Heritage listed site is the only way tourists can get a chance to snap photos free from people like the one above, while also getting to experience the true beauty and serenity of the site before the crowds arrive.

Now, though, there’s another way to soak up the atmosphere of a crowd-free visit to Fushimi Inari Taisha, and it can be done from the comfort of your very own home. It’s all thanks to a developer called Matt Newell from the Australian city of Perth, who’s created a stunning 3-D landscape of the famous site, using Unreal Engine 4.

Sit back, relax, and enjoy this tranquil stroll beneath the beautiful torii gates in Kyoto.

According to Newell, the detailed recreation of the torii gates at Fushimi Inari Taisha took roughly three months to complete, and were created using photos and memories from his trip to the site a few years ago.

▼ The patterns and details on the lamp are identical to those found at the shrine.

Newell included a lot of variety in different sections of the mountain, always aiming for a realistic portrayal of the actual site, and made sure to add crossroads and intertwining paths to allow the viewer to choose their own routes of exploration.

The exploration game includes a checklist of locations to discover, along with some hidden areas, and a small ending to cap off the journey. There’s also an in-game camera, allowing you to zoom in and take photos of any place that takes your interest, adding a heightened sense of realism to the virtual visit.

The sense of realism is captured not only in the details, but also in the look and feel of the environment, which, when combined with the first-person perspective that lets you walk at your own pace, leaves you with the same sense of awe and relaxation as a real visit to the shrine.

The best thing about this project is that it’s available to download for free here, allowing people from around the world to experience the hidden magic and charms of the special Kyoto site.

There’s also a VR option available for purchase, which aims to take the realism to a whole other level. But perhaps the most special aspect of the game is the fact that you get to wander around the famous tourist site without all the crowds, and you won’t have to wake up before dawn to enjoy it.

Source: Net Lab
Featured image: YouTube/caves rd
Insert images: Flickr/Vardiga, YouTube/caves rd

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