AirVūz Blog

November 14, 2018

#QuadGoals: Onigiri-FPV

Noellie Sartoro, better known as Onigiri FPV, is our feature this week for our #QuadGoals series. Noellie share some info on the build of her latest quad, as well as why she enjoys flying it:
“I like flying this quad because I’m never scared to crash it and it’s the ideal quad for me for freestyle. The motor are a good combination of durability and smoothness. Kiss set up is exactly what I was looking for in order to get the footage I get, it’s efficient and consistent.
I mostly enjoy flying to forget everything else in life and to share special moments with other people. I like traveling and meeting new pilots, doing unusual things and chasing stuff. Soon I will try to make something different in FPV by attempting to tell even better stories in my videos. But I can’t say more about it yet.”

Drone pilot: onigiri-fpv

Video created with this quad: HOW CLOSE CAN YOU GET?


Quad build:


November 7, 2018

#QuadGoals: LivyuFPV

Our latest #QuadGoals feature goes to Livyu FPV, a pilot with nearly 80 videos on AirVuz.com. (See his work here.)  He is also one of only a few pilots that makes electronic repair videos for the FPV community, including this one that addresses water damage.
Here’s what Livyu said about this quad:
“This was my first setup with the kiss 32A ESCs and it still performs 100% after more than 8 months of flying weekly. And it’s the best performer in the wind. As this location had two worries: wind and RF interference.”


November 2, 2018

Ireland: A Windswept Countryside Dipped in History

Stunning seascapes, green pastureland, lively villages filled with music and tasty food, the dynamic and compact capital cities of Dublin and Belfast, and prehistoric sites galore – Ireland is packed with wonders. The country has bounced back from the icy winds of recession, and while the city nearly saw the end of its boom years, much of its cultural heritage has survived. A robust realism replaces the hubristic confidence of the years of the “Celtic Tiger” and the Irish, fierce survivors, remain proud of their history and identity.

Dublin

Ireland’s famous capital – the fair city – bestrides the River Liffey and looks seawards to its port and the broad waters of Dublin Bay. The distinctive outline of the Wicklow Mountains forms a magnificent backdrop to the South, while suburbs stretch far Inland as well as north to the Ben of Howth and south to Dalkey Headland. Something like a third of the country’s population lives in the greater Dublin area, and the majority of the country’s business is carried out here. Georgian architectural elegance and the increasingly cosmopolitan café, restaurant and bar scene make the city an irresistible destination, not only for a weekend but longer periods of exploration.

Low-rise but high-tech, elegant and yet raucous, Dublin retains the feel of a small city while flaunting its modernity. A modern tramway will trundle you silently around city streets where the best of the old has been preserved in ancient churches, medieval street patterns, Viking remains and pretty parks.

Western Ireland

This long, rugged coastline offers endless scenic drives (notably The Wild Atlantic Way), pit stops at quiet, empty beaches and some of Ireland’s most exciting water sports. The Burren often seems like another place altogether with its strange moonscape hills and unusual wildlife. Even more remote are the Aran Islands, beaten by the Atlantic gales, their stones heaved up to divide the barren land into small divisions.

Northern Ireland

The six counties which make up the British province of Northern Ireland – Derry, Down, Armagh, Fermanagh, Tyrone, and Antrim – were once part of the historical region of Ulster but were separated from Donegal, Monaghan, and Cavan by the British in 1921. The three major urban areas to visit in the province are Belfast, Derry, and Armagh, once war-torn but now in recovery.

Sligo is well known for its connection to the Yeats family. However, the long coastline of Donegal is the chief attraction, with mountain ranges offering challenging cliff walks and stunning sea views.

Belfast is a major capital city, small enough to get around on foot with a couple of bus rides thrown in. It is a little like one of the United Kingdom’s northern cities with bombastic Victorian architecture overlaid with sleek 216- lines. Its inner city has regenerated into a fascinating cultural center and its murals, once a cry of pain and anger, have become tourist attractions.

The city of Derry has also emerged from the dark years, perhaps not as well as Belfast, but it is a small and fascinating place, its city walls intact and its museum offering an objective version of the ‘Troubles.’ Armagh is the province’s ancient religious capital, its observatory and cathedral well worth a visit. Antrim and Down are the wealthiest of the counties, with small, prosperous towns and some beautiful countryside.

Fermanagh offers a unique lake-land environment and the lively small town of Enniskillen. The highlight of any visit to Northern Ireland is the coastal drive taking in the amazing Giant’s Causeway. The North is a very different prospect to the Republic. The long years of warfare are not forgotten, but visitors will find a warm welcome from gracious people.

Southern Ireland

Follow In the footsteps of the Anglo-Normans as they spread across Ireland, building great castles, churches, and abbeys, and relish one of the great sights of ancient Ireland: the holy hill of Cashel. The Republic’s second city, Cork, has its distinctive character, while the southeastern coast is renowned for its beauty. From the ferry port of Rosslare, and the Viking city of Wexford, make your way to Johnstown Castle and the Irish Agricultural Museum.

Drive through the National Heritage Park to the old towns of Enniscorthy and New Ross, past the lovely abbey ruins at Jerpoint to medieval Kilkenny, one of Ireland’s most compelling cities. The Rock of Cashel is magical. From here, head south through Caher with its castle, and Fermoy with its beautiful river.

From Cork take the road east along the coast to Cobh, overlooking the broad waters of Cork Harbour, and on via delightful old Youghal to the southeast’s other Viking city of Waterford, renowned for its street art festival and lively cultural life. A ferry crosses Waterford Harbour to the abbeys, gardens, castles, and beaches of the Hook Peninsula.

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November 1, 2018

India: Where Ancient Traditions Flow Through Diversity

From imposing Himalayan mountains to beaches caressed by the sun, from sweltering bazaars to exclusive designer boutiques, from sedate temples to lively festivals, from rural villages to torpid cities with avant-garde designs, it is hardly surprising that India has been considered the most multidimensional country in the world.

This vast territory is home to more than one billion people and its eclectic mélange of ethnic groups. For those looking for an enriching spiritual experience, India presents a wide variety of sacred sites and inspiring philosophies. Meanwhile, fans of outdoor activities can rejoice in the sparkling waters of the southern beaches framed by palm trees, mount on elephants and spot big cats in the jungle, or simply breathe the scent of wildflowers during a rejuvenating walk through the forest.

India is a country that overwhelms for its size and diversity. Nothing turns out to be exactly as planned, so the only thing you can expect is the unexpected, which comes in several forms and always sit next to the traveler.

Rajasthan

Rajasthan is a parched land of vivid colors, soaring forts, and fairy-tale palaces that fulfills a visitor’s most exotic dreams. This land created the image of the maharaja hunting, fighting, dallying with his princesses, and dripping in pearls, emeralds, and diamonds. Whether you palace-hop from one fairy-tale historic hotel to the next or indulge in India’s most luxurious contemporary leisure hotels, be sure to spend time in the bazaars to find brightly colored textiles, folk art, and costume jewelry. From the “Pink City” of Jaipur to “Golden City” of Jaisalmer to the white marble havelis alongside calm lakes of Udaipur to the indigo-hues old homes of Jodhpur, Rajasthan is vibrant – and not just in colors.

Delhi

The capital of India has been of the most prominent cities in the world in the past 1.000 years. Today, Delhi has transformed into a modern metropolis spilling out of its geographical boundaries. Ancient monuments that just 50 years ago were surrounded by jungle or farmland have been enveloped by urban sprawl and some are occupied by squatters or dwarfed by modern developments. Among the monuments for which this city is famous are no less than three entirely separate UNESCO World Heritage Sites – the early Sultanate Qutb Minar, Humayun’s Tomb from the early Mughal period and the later Mughal Red Fort-as well as dozens more major ruins and monuments.

Agra

Renowned for Taj Mahal, the emblem of India, Agra was the center of cultural and imperial Mughal kingdom. Explore the ancient culture and history, palaces and gardens. Here you’ll find beautiful marble objects inlaid with precious stones. Notice how the craftsmen create works of art using techniques that have passed through many generations in Agra Marble Emporium. Haggle to buy leather goods and souvenirs in the Sadar Bazaar. Take a break and enjoy the samosas and spicy potato balls and chickpea chaat (a typical snack from the region).

Ladakh

A former Buddhist kingdom, Ladakh is one of the quietest places in India. The region is cut-off from the Indian mainland for most parts of the year, which keeps itself as a relatively less explored tourist destination in India. The landscape is mostly arid with patches of tranquil lakes and lush greenery. Buddhist monasteries, colorful flags, and prayer wheels add to the beauty of this place. The people of Ladakh are probably the most hospitable people in India. Everyone greets you with a smile, and service comes before money. Ladakh also offers some of the most exciting trekking opportunities.

Kerala

With pristine beaches, extending backwaters, and enchanting tea gardens, Kerala has rightly been called “God’s own country.” Kerala is the southernmost Indian state with its topography varying from high hills to the beaches. Along with the natural wonders, this magnificent state is also the home of Ayurveda, ancient martial arts techniques, and the fascinating folk songs and dances.

Pondicherry

Located on Indian’s east coast, Pondicherry is very different from other Indian cities – no chaos, no noise, and no crowd. A former French colony, the French impression can be still seen in its buildings and people. Situated nearby is the unique township, Auroville with its own laws and currency; a place mostly inhabited by foreigners. Pondicherry is a perfect amalgamation of Indian, French, and English cultures.

Arunachal Pradesh

Being the easternmost state of India, Arunachal Pradesh is the most scarcely populated. It lies in the lap of the Himalayas and has some of the most spectacular mountain passes of India. Still, it remains uncharted in the tourist maps due to its inaccessibility by both road and air. If you have some extra time to spare, exploring the “Land of dawn lit mountains” would be worth your time. Along with the mighty Himalayas, Arunachal Pradesh boasts of the world’s second largest monastery, Tawang monastery. Ziro valley is a must visit place in the monsoons due to the beautiful paddy fields as well as Ziro music festival, which is India’s largest outdoor music festival.

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October 31, 2018

#QuadGoals: PikaFPV

You may recognize him from his Pikachu avatar that coincides with his call sign. You may also know him from his awesome FPV videos. He’s PikaFPV, and he’s this week’s #QuadGoals feature on AirVuz. Check out his quad build and watch the quad in action.

“I’m very happy to show you my latest quadcopter, built exclusively for long range and cinematic. I really wanted to build a 6 inch 6S quad running a KissV2 and it is now done. I had the pleasure to push it really far in Switzerland and I am more than happy about it. This quad is a pure wonder to me. The feeling is nothing any other for long range and that is exactly what I was looking for. With close to 6min30 of flying time, it is almost unbelievable for me compared to a 4S flying 4 minutes.

I often go out and explore new locations with family and friends and that is always a good opportunity to bring some stunning footage back and craft some quality edits out of it. (Next up : Guadalupe!!!)”

Drone pilot: PikaFPV

Video created with this quad: Switzerland Dreaming


Here’s my quad’s setup:

AstroX X6

Kissv2 with last FW

Aikon AK 32 blheli 32

T Motor F60 Pro II 1750KV

Foxeer Predator V3

TBS Unify HV

TBS Crossfire micro RX

Gemfan 6042

Yannick L’Huillier Antenna

CNHL 6S 1300/1500mah 120C

MAXAMPS 6S HV 1600mah 150C

Frsky Taranis Qx7

TBS Crossfire TX

TBS Diamond Antenna

Fatshark HDO

FuriousFPV True D 3.8

GoPro Hero 6 and GoPro Hero 7 with Polar Pro ND 4/8 filters

Premiere Pro & Adobe After Effects


October 31, 2018

Peru: Where Ancient Sites Meet Soaring Peaks

The Peruvian Incas, Llamas, and thick dark jungles are enough to conjure up a magical image of Peru. But there is so much more for you to discover in this fascinating and diverse country that’s blessed with culture, attractions, and activities to rival any other South American destination.

A trekker’s paradise, Peru offers distinct environmental regions that provide great trekking options with plenty of trails to choose from. One of the most popular treks is the descent into Canon del Colca near Arequipa. You may also go on multi-day treks into the Peruvian Amazon Basin or go on a high altitude trek into the Andes Mountains from Huaraz. Any visit here will not be complete without a tour of Peru’s share of the Amazon rainforest. Expect to encounter many bird species, jaguars, cougars and of course an abundance of marine life courtesy of the Amazon River.

Machu Picchu

Set within a mystical landscape of high mountains and forests, Machu Picchu is a beautiful lost city once inhabited by an ancient civilization that previously ruled the continent. The first important site you will see when you enter the ruins is the Temple of the Sun, a tower-like wall that displays the magnificent stonework of the Incas. Many of the stones used in the construction of Machu Picchu weigh more than 50 tons.

The visible areas of Machu Picchu account for less than half the construction achievements. It is believed that about 60% of the construction lays underground, providing drainage and foundation for the walls and buildings. The Huayna Picchu Mountain rises above Machu Picchu and offers an adventure opportunity for hikers brave enough to hike up the narrow trails up to its peak.

Nazca Lines

The Nazca Lines are among the most marvelous archaeological features on Peru’s southern coast. The Nazca Lines comprise hundreds of lines, shapes, and figures laid out across Peru’s Nazca Desert. The complex system of lines covers some 350 square miles of arid flats in the southern region of Peru.

About 800 lines make up 300 geometric figures known as geoglyphs, as well as roughly 70 animal and plant depictions known as biomorphs. The biomorphs range from monkeys, lizards, hummingbirds, and human figures, a killer whale and a condor. An excellent way to view the Nazca Lines is by taking a flight over the Nazca Desert which offers stunning aerial views of the geoglyphs.

Lima

Dubbed the “City of Kings,” the Peruvian capital of Lima offers enough things to do to warrant an extended stay. Your first stop in Lima should be the charming historic center. Stop by Plaza de Armas or Plaza Mayor, which rests at the heart of the historic center in Lima. This is the spot at which Lima was founded in 1535. You can admire the colonial fountain which is the centerpiece of the square, as well as some of the most important buildings in Lima which surround this historic plaza.

Plan your visit around noon to watch the changing of the palace guard at Palacio de Gobierno, which is the official home of the president of Peru. Other photo opportunities include Catedral de Lima, the palace of the Archbishop and City Hall, both of which are adorned with ornately carved wooden balconies. Another beautiful religious building worth visiting is the San Francisco Monastery whose interiors offer an oasis of calm in the midst of the city’s hustle and bustle. Its rooms are a showcase of beautifully preserved Baroque architecture, gilded altars and religious artworks.

The Amazon Basin

The Amazon Basin is an empire of water. You could literally spend a lifetime exploring the vast interior of the Amazon Basin, most of which is inaccessible – no human has yet laid eyes on it. In Peru, the Amazon Basin lies to the east of the Andes Mountains. A transition zone stretches from the eastern foothills of the Andean highlands into the vast reaches of the low jungle. This region of highland jungle and cloud forest is referred to as the “eyebrow of the jungle.”Many parks offer guided hikes to specific sections of the rainforest which will give you the opportunity of seeing many unique animals including giant river turtles, pink river dolphins, various monkey species, manatees and if you’re lucky, a jaguar. One good way of experiencing the Amazon Basin is by trekking through its jungle. Many Peruvian wildlife reserves and national parks enable visitors to get up close with the wildlife of the Amazon within their natural habitats. Cruising Rio Amazonas is another excellent way to experience the Amazon Basin.

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October 30, 2018

Myanmar: The Hidden Gem of Southeast Asia

There has never been a better time to visit Myanmar. With previously off-limit areas opening up to travelers and the traditional ways of Asian life enduring, a trip to Myanmar can feel like stepping into a time machine. The Western ways of life have yet to overwhelm these lands, with locals still dressing, traveling, and eating as they have for centuries, and most importantly, the laid-back pace of life allowing visitors to enjoy the simple pleasures.

From the dominating Shwedagon Paya to the astonishing array of sacred stupas scattered across Bagan, to the gravity-defying Golden Rock at Kyaiktiyo, it is clear that you have entered a country where Buddhism dominates the public consciousness.

Explore nature and culture at Inle Lake, get lost in the country’s most famous city at Mandalay, beware of the Nats at Mount Popa, relax on the beach at Ngapali, discover ‘Bagan-lite’ at Mrauk U, and delve into the caves at Pindaya. Myanmar is a country to be savored and enjoyed, a Starbucks and McDonalds-free land where you can still feel like adventurers stumbling upon a new nation for the first time.

Yangoon

Although no longer the official capital of Myanmar, Yangon remains the country’s largest city and maintains the role of the most commercially significant city in the nation. Formerly known as Rangoon, the city’s infrastructure is considerably underdeveloped in comparison to other major cities in Southeast Asia. However, it boasts the highest number of colonial buildings in the region as well as the ‘winking wonder’ of Shwedagon Paya, a Buddhist temple that dominates the skyline. Yangon can also be considered the most exotic of all Southeast Asian cities – street signs are written in the local alphabet, monks wander the streets in burgundy robes, and the locals seem comfortable walking around barefoot.

The city was known as the ‘garden city of the East’ during the British occupation and maintains some wonderful green areas including the Zoological Gardens which date back to 1906, Mahabandoola Garden which houses the Independence Monument, People’s Park, and the largest lakes in the city, Inya Lake and Kandawgyi Lake. There is also a range of small to medium-sized museums and monuments throughout the city including Martyrs’ Mausoleum, National Museum, Aung San’s House, and Bahadur Shah Zafar Grave.

Bagan

Bagan is seen by many as an equal to Angkor Wat in Cambodia. During the golden age of Buddhism, over 10,000 Buddhist temples, pagodas, and monasteries were built, of which approximately 2,200 remain today. The Ananda Temple is Bagan’s holiest temple, built in 1091 it houses four Buddhas facing the cardinal direction, representing the four Buddhas who have attained Nirvana. Shwesandaw Temple is known as ‘sunset temple’ due to the spectacular views of the Bagan sunset from the top levels. Take a hot-air balloon ride to have a bird’s eye view of these magnificent ancient ruins.

Mandalay

The former capital and second largest city in Myanmar, Mandalay is primarily used as a transport and day trip hub by tourists. The city itself may lack immediate beauty, however, hidden beyond the grid of lackluster concrete buildings lurk a host of beautiful churches, Indian temples, pagodas, and stunning mosques. Known for its cultural diversity, Mandalay and the surrounding areas play host to half of Myanmar’s monks, and there is plenty of cultural curiosity and fascination to be found in the variety of arts performances and craft shops throughout the city.

The main attraction in Mandalay is the Royal Palace, which is a walled city within the city. The palace contains several pavilions and chambers as well as a range of palace memorabilia such as religious paraphernalia, court dresses, furniture, armory, and other items.

Inle Lake

Inle Lake is the largest lake in Myanmar after Indawgyi and is one of the highest with an elevation of 880 meters. The area around the lake is densely inhabited by numerous tribes, residing in stilt-house villages. The area is protected as the Inle Lake Bird Sanctuary with herons, warblers, wild ducks, and egrets among the birds inhabiting the lake and surrounding marshlands.

The lake is best explored by hiring a boat. Along with the pleasing scenery, you can also watch and know about Inle fishermen. If you’re lucky, you may have an opportunity to visit the floating market which runs five days a week in various locations around the lake and a stop at one of the restaurants is also a wonderful experience.

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October 24, 2018

#QuadGoals: Sekile

This week’s #QuadGoals spotlight features a former Drone Video of the Week winner: Sekile. He’s got a great collection of FPV videos on AirVuz. Check out the quad build he’s flying right now.

“Hi, my name is Kreso. I live in Croatia. I started to fly drones 5 years ago. First I saw Juz70 flying and FPV drone between trees and I liked it. Since then I built hundreds of drones and FPV became a lifestyle.”

 

Drone pilot: Sekile

Video created with this quad: Harmony Drone Lines


My last build:

6 inch Armattan Chameleon

Brotherhobby Deadpool Returner R5 2306 2450kv motors

DYS Aria 35 Escs

Holybro Kakute F4 V2 Flight controller

Atlalt HV 25-600mW 40CH VTX

Runcam Eagle Pro FPV cam

Dalprop Cyclone 5046 props

This setups runs really smooth on lates 3.5 be


October 17, 2018

#QuadGoals: JU5TbyCHANCE

What’s up everybody, it’s me Jon Wood. You may also recognize me by JU5TBYCHANCE.  I am so unbelievably humbled by this community and opportunities that have presented themselves all through having fun and enjoying the art and freedom of FPV.

Let’s talk about setup!  My go-to setup is a Twin Quad Frames Skilzaw 5.5”, an unbelievably amazing freestyle and mid to long range cruiser.  It’s a super well thought out frame, extremely tough and versatile and has endured countless times of sure abuse.  Twin Quad Frames has supported me for some time now, supporting and encouraging me to push myself and the equipment and I wouldn’t be here without their support.

I have fallen in love with BrainFPV, honored to fly for them rocking their Radix FC and Radix PB.  These are the most amazing, progressive flight controllers offering things no others anywhere on the market can offer but in the end are simple, elegant, and PERFORM greater then anything I’ve flown in my year and a half in the hobby.  The company is customer and community focused, and are a unbelievable team of people and I wouldn’t fly anything else.

Gemfan, Oh Gemfan!!!!! The Flash 5149, and Windancer 5042’s are my go to props, only props that I run on 5” setups.  I also run 6 & 7” Twin Quad Frames with the flash series as well but my primary quads are freestyle skilzaws.  I love the durability both these lines of props have to offer as well as the efficiency and responsiveness that just seems to be a perfect match to my style.  And they are BEAUTIFUL props, sorry I love performance and looks.

Runcam swift mini 2.1mm is my go to FPV camera.  I have tried all that Runcam has to offer and still come back to this trusty camera.  The color works good for my eyes, the clarity is perfect and I have found that I can fly both day and night with this camera without being forced to change settings or quads do to insufficient camera visibility.

As far as motors, I’m all over the place. I recently left the team over at MAD Components motors, just freeing myself up for any opportunities that may be ahead or just the opportunity to fly whatever motor I want for a bit without hesitation.  So I’ve got T-Motors, some MADS left, Airbots, Hyperlites, and a set of AOKfly motors.  2306, 2400 range is my jam though for 4s.  I’m digging the 2207 2200 range for 5s.  I run NoHype lipos from FlyBy Academy.  Great range of batteries, I love the art again on them, they perform and so far have handled some pretty tortious flights.  CNHL minister series are also really good batteries. I have some in my arsenal as well.

TBS Crossfire all the way, every rig, no substitute for me.  Performance is perfect, confidence that it gives you is unparalleled and I wouldn’t trade it for any other system.  Not much other to say about Crossfire, other then truly amazing,  VTX’s I have some mach 2’s, some TBS Unify, and again just an assortment depending on what quad.  I would love to run TBS on everything so working towards that direction.  Lollipop antennas on almost all setups.  just small, fairly priced, tough as nails, and just haven’t let me down yet.

So that about sums up my setups, so all the electronics are the same on almost every rig because I really believe that consistency is key when it comes to improving and progressing.  I like to carry multiple rigs to the field because when one goes down and I’m in the zone I don’t want to grab the backup and have it feel completely different.  So all very very close, all running the BrainFPV BF 3.5.1 firmware, because some awesome filming implementations have been made to the Radix that enhances our capabilities within the goggles for capturing the shots in frame, awesome stuff.  You’ll have to check them out or hit up the FB group and learn all about it.  Love filming, love flying and all of you out there!  Keep ripping and sharing the love of flight.

Drone pilot: JU5TbyCHANCE

Video created with this quad: EVERMORE


The build:


October 16, 2018

Japan: The Explosion of Eastern Culture with Western Standards

The Japanese archipelago’s geography is one of the world’s most contrasted and varied, shaping the character of its inhabitants, who have had to adjust to a difficult environment. It consists of about 3,500 islands and islets lying in a north-to-east chain, extending over 1,864mi/3,000km.

For Westerners, one of the great pleasures of visiting Japan is the discovery of the unique aesthetic that infuses all aspects of daily life. It touches everything, from gardening to bathing, from gastronomy to the formal Tea Ceremony – a great passion with the Japanese—and from the mundane to the highly intellectual, testimony to a thousand-year-old tradition.

Tokyo and around

Vast, sprawling, overpopulated… there’s no shortage of adjectives to describe the largest metropolis in the world. But there is far more to Tokyo than its size, although the city’s character is not so easy to pin down. It needs redefining every time you set foot in one of its many neighborhoods.

With seven prefectures on only 8.6 percent of Japan’s total surface area, the Kanto region holds a third of the country’s population and is the seat of the central government as well. It is no surprise that it is also the nation’s most economically productive. Kanto has an excellent infrastructure and a large workforce, supported by the best universities in the country.

Perhaps more surprising is that less than an hour’s train ride from this hyper-industrialized area will take you to regions with very different identities. Whether it is Kamakura (Kanagawa prefecture), the charming city of temples and gardens, the glittering lakes of the Izu Peninsula, or Nikko (Tochigi prefecture), or the beauty of which shimmers under a lofty canopy of ancient Japanese cedars – Tokyo has plenty of opportunities to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city

Hokkaido

Hokkaido Island is Japan’s northernmost and largest region. The Ainu people settled here before the Jomon era (10,000-300 BC). Visit in February to see the celebrated Snow Festival and marvel at the talent of the artists who create gigantic ice sculptures in the open air. A “Genghis Khan” dinner of barbecued mutton and vegetables will ward off the deep chill of winter, while a foaming Sapporo beer from the local brewery cheers the soul. Even in the depths of winter, the hot water of Lake Shikotsu never freezes. It was formed in the crater of a volcano 40,000 years ago.

Northern Honshu (Tohoku)

Tohoku is Japan’s largest region after Hokkaido and one of the Ainu people’s original homelands. The view from the rugged coastline over the 260 pine-clad islands in the deep blue of Matsushima Bay is considered one of the country’s most beautiful. From here you can follow the trail to Mount Haguro and relax in a sauna lined with stone. Take a flat-bottomed boat through Gembikel Gorge, explore the ancient Buddhist temple of Chuson-Ji in Hiraizumi and the Samurai district of Kakunodate. Or take the waters in one of the onsens around Yamagata.

Shikoku

Japan’s smallest and least-populated region is Shikoku. Its tranquillity has long been a source of comfort and inspiration, with hundreds of tea houses where feudal lords performed the Tea Ceremony and composed haiku. In the surrounding, the garden of Ritsurin-Koen with twisted black pines have been shaped over five generations to suggest dragons or cranes in flight. You can hike the wild countryside of the lya Valley or watch the 100,000 dancers of the Awa Odori festival. Visit the 19th-century Dogo Onsen bathhouse, formerly frequented by the Imperial Family: choose between the Bath of the Gods or the Bath of the Spirits for your afternoon relaxation.

Kyushu

With its intense volcanic activity, Kyushu, “land of fire,” has been Japan’s main point of contact with other cultures. Learn about Japan’s own fine ceramic tradition in the “ceramic cities” of Imari, Arita, and Okawachiyama. In dynamic Fukuoka, you can see contemporary works of art at the Asian Art Museum, followed by an evening in Nakasu. Dine on the wooden bench of a Street yatai, eating noodles in thick pork broth. When you’re ready for a different pace, explore mist-shrouded Yakushima Island’s rainforest, or try a volcanic-sand treatment in Ibusuki.

Okinawa Archipelago

Some 60 islands stretch in an arc across the East China Sea, each a tropical paradise of its own. On Okinawa-honto, spry old ladies may try to sell you fish and exotic fruits at the covered market. Embark on a boat trip to see humpback whales. Ishigaki Island is a short plane ride away, where you can dive the coral reefs and see manta rays, before heading to a small inn on the beach for dinner overlooking the blue-green sea.

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