Nestled in the mountains of Nikko, Japan – home of famed Shrine and Unesco World Heritage Site Toshogu – you’ll find Edo Wonderland. A theme park like no other,everything including the food, houses, characters and entertainment in town replicate the experience of actually being in Japan during the 17th century Edo era.
Last June, Edo Wonderland served as both an inspiration and a backdrop for Jason Paul’s most recent adventure, which sees the German freerunner travel to Japan and join local athletes KENICHI, Zen (Red Bull Art of Motion 2011 participant), YAKUWA and YUUTAROU.
Landing in the middle of a 17th century Japanese town, he’s surrounded by startled villagers, swift samurais and a group of ninjas who put his parkour skills to the ultimate test.
“Ninja, Samurai, Time-Travel and Parkour?” asks Paul. “I feel like one of those things alone is badass enough to make a video.”
“Edo Wonderland was a perfect location, with the accurate set and the Samurai-actors it actually felt like I had travelled back in time. I had to stop myself from having a big smile on my face during the serious chase scenes. It felt like a huge movie set, but with all the freedom and creativity of a small production with friends.
“Having the local Tokyo freerunners dress up as Ninja was really fun. You could see they got really into it and I respect them a lot for taking some serious jumps with traditional Tabi Boots. Those shoes have ZERO padding.
“What made this project interesting to me is that it completes a circle. I was always inspired by the way Ninjas move and the discipline of the Samurai. I took that inspiration into my Parkour. Of course, it developed over time and we gave it our own flavour. To bring those movements back into the historical setting was special to me, such a unique mix.”