Two G-Classes on an adventure trip in Japan.
Two weeks full of fascinating contrasts awaited the five-member #japanexplorers travel group. Because Japan and the G-Class have some contrasts in common: they both stand for innovation and values, for culture and modernity.
The off-road icon brought the #japanexplorers on their two-week journey through a land of contrasts and extremes. Like the ”G”, Japan stands for innovation and progress – while preserving its values.
Five international photographers and filmmakers experienced a journey through a unique culture and the uplifting spirit of Japan, the desire for innovation and the deep love of nature and tradition.
Where did the winding roads take our G-Classes? Find out what adventures lay between Tokyo's urban jungle and the country’s spiritual temples of ancient shrines.
High-contrast road trip.
High-tech metropolises, forest-covered mountain ranges, millennia-old customs: In hardly any other country do tradition and modernity, urban lifestyle and nature inersect as seemlessly as in Japan. The five photographers and filmmakers Max Muench, Alen Palander, Oliver Astrologo, Simone Sampo and Carlos Mario Kurschilgen experienced this symbiosis on a tour with two Mercedes-Benz G-Classes.
Ahead of its time.
House-sized neon signs glow garishly in the dusk; cars cruise through the megacity in the shadow of the huge Shibuya109 shopping centre; people meander along the pavements as the day draws to a close. The Shibuya intersection is emblematic of life in Tokyo. According to estimates, up to 1,000 passers-by cross this intersection at rush hour – per green phase.
From a viewing platform in Roppongi, you can experience the sheer size of the city. The high-rise jungle stretches to the horizon. With their state-of-the-art architecture, the skyscrapers form a stark contrast to the traditional construction of the Japanese temples.
To ensure that the gods are well-disposed, a Shinto priest blessed the two G-Classes. It’s a custom that is very popular among Japanese – mainly at the turn of the year or when buying a new car. The two off-road vehicles of the #japanexplorers crew attracted a lot of attention during this act. Fascinated by this meeting of old and new world, the crew watched the action.
The visit to the geishas – locally in Kyoto they are called geikos – gave Oliver Astrologo, a videographer from London, and his colleague Simone Sampo goose bumps. To this day, they are regarded as preservers of traditional arts. Geikos master several Japanese musical instruments, are masters of dance and song and perform a traditional tea ceremony to perfection, to name just a few skills of the cultural enigma.
Wonders of nature.
Sunrise bathes Mount Fuji in blue-golden light. The water of Lake Tanuki reflects the snow-covered volcano almost perfectly. On the way up, the terrain became more difficult and the two G-Classes were able to prove themselves on the winding mountain road. A short time later, the vehicles broke through the cloud cover into the sunlight just a few hundred metres below the top of Mount Fuji.
The crew had to cover many kilometres again until the next stop. Arriving in the Hosono highlands, raindrops pelted the windscreens. Ideal conditions to test the capabilities of the off-road icons. The muddy ground posed no problems for the cars. They mastered steep climbs reliably as usual. The crew enjoyed the wild ride.
In Japan, advanced technology meets a love of tradition and a deep connection to nature. Like the over 40-year-old off-road vehicle legend, Japan finds an admirable balance to these apparent opposites. A special journey – not least thanks to the two versatile vehicles that led the five photographers and videographers through the high-rise jungle, impressive nature and rugged terrain.