An epic road trip across Japan – with the Mavic 2 Pro and two G-Classes. Join five international photographers and filmmakers on a trip giving you insights into a rich culture between an ever-changing, innovative digital spirit and a deep love for tradition.
Discover their adventures between Tokyo’s urban canyons and the ancient shrines of the countryside.
A Road Trip of Contrasts
High-tech cities, mountain ranges blanketed in forests, thousand-year-old customs – more than virtually any other land, Japan is an impressive mix of tradition, modernity, urban lifestyle and nature. Max Muench, Alen Palander, Oliver Astrologo, Simone Sampo and Carlos Mario Kurschilgen: five international photographers and filmmakers experience this symbiosis on a road trip with two Mercedes-Benz G-Classes.
Ahead of its time. Towering neon signs glow brightly in the twilight, cars trundle through the mega-city in the shadow of the enormous Shibuya109 shopping mall, early-evening crowds snake their way along pavements and walkways. In the midst of it all is Alen Palander, an urban and lifestyle photographer from Toronto. For him, the Shibuya intersection is an allegory for life in Tokyo. According to estimates, up to 1,000 pedestrians cross this intersection during peak periods – every time the lights change. Further south, the team in the G-Classes comes across another extraordinary traffic structure – the Kawazu-Nanadaru Loop bridge. The road winds upwards like a corkscrew, scaling an altitude of almost 50 meters in the tightest of spaces.
From the top of a skyscraper the crew admires Tokyo’s jungle of high-rise buildings extending all the way to the horizon. With their modern architecture, the skyscrapers stand in stark contrast to the traditional construction of the Japanese temples and shrines. The next stop of the road trip is the holiest and most well-known mountain in Japan: Mount Fuji.
Places Worthy of Protection
The sunrise bathes Mount Fuji in a golden-blue light. The water of the Lake Tanuki mirrors the snow-covered volcano almost perfectly. The terrain becomes more challenging as the altitude rises, but it is worth it.
A Rugged Departure
The crew has a lot of miles to cover before the next stop of this Japanese road trip. Alen is relaxed at the wheel – comfort is a big thing on long road trips. By the time they reach the Hosono Highlands, raindrops are pattering on the windscreens. Ideal conditions for testing the skills of these off-road icons. Time for the next photo shoot.
In Japan, advanced technology meets a love of tradition and a deep affinity with nature. Just like the 40-year-old off-road legend, Japan is admirable in its balance of these apparent contradictions. A very special road trip that guided the five photographers and videographers through the skyscraper jungle, impressive nature and rugged terrain in a country ever contrasting and in harmony with old and new
Check out other videos from the Japan Explorers on YouTube:
And find out more about the crew’s individual work on Instagram: