Real-life Mario Kart in Tokyo has become a popular activity among foreign tourists. Many have posted pictures and videos of their experiences on the internet with positive feedbacks. Some say it was the highlight of their trip in Japan.
My family and I decided to try it for my birthday last year. We were a group of five. Each of us cosplayed as a different Super Mario character and went cruising around Tokyo Tower, Roppongi, and Shinagawa area on a Saturday night. Once we were on the road, we quickly understood why it was so popular. It’s weird and fun!
It seems there are few organizers offering this activity and the one we went is MariCar based in Kita-shinagawa.
For those who are planning to try it, here are what you should expect.
1. First of all, you need to have a driving license valid in Japan. That means, you have one of the below items.
- Japanese Driving License
- SOFA License for USFJ
- Switzerland, Germany, France, Taiwan, Belgium, Slovenia, Monaco
Domestic Driving License with Japanese Translation by authorized organization.
- International Driving Permit by the 1949 Geneva Convention
2. Make a booking from their website, LINE or FB. Their website is in English, Chinese and Korean beside Japanese.
3. Go to the shop on the scheduled date by the booking time.
4. Think about which costume you are going to wear! It’s not that you have to but why not?!
5. Show your licence and sign a paper. And get changed!
6. Walk to the parking with the guide and learn how to drive the kart and how to stop at the red light.
7. Now, on the public road!
8. Don’t speed but don’t get too far from your squad.
8. Be ready for being your photos taken by strangers from the cars and the sidewalk, especially when you stop at the red light.
9. Relax and enjoy!
Is it easy?
Driving the kart is easy. In fact, it was the first time for my partner to drive in Tokyo that day! (He got the license about five years ago and never drove a car except for about 1 hour in Saitama around his house…)
It’s fun but you must be really careful the whole time. It seemed that some drivers don’t see you because the kart is very small and low. And you don’t wear a seatbelt…
I’m glad the road was not busy when we were driving. If you want to avoid busy hours or places, you may want to discuss with the organizer in advance before you book.
There are few different courses you can choose from. The prices are fixed based on the length of the tour.
We tried the “1 hour Tokyo Tower Course.” We started from Kita-shinagawa and headed to Tokyo Tower where we stopped to take some photos. Then we drove to Roppongi area. When the light went red at the Roppongi crossing, the guide got off his kart and took our photos! Strangers will take your photos, too. After the tour, we found a movie and photos of us on instagram!
Get a discount
They offer discount if you promise you will write a review on their Facebook page, Google Plus or TripAdvisor.
Have a safe drive!