Did you ever play Super Mario Kart as a kid and wish you could do it for real? Well, in Tokyo, you can.* Dress up as your favourite character, jump in a kart and take a sight seeing tour like no other you’ve ever done before.
Go-Kart round Tokyo
If you want a unique way to explore a city, this has to be it. The guys at MariCar have set up what is probably the best tour I’ve done anywhere in the world. First of all, I must clarify that “MariCar is in no way a reflection of the game Mario Kart.” Furthermore, the website continues to say that you’re not allowed to throw “banana peels” or “red turtle shells” from your kart. Behind every rule there’s a hilarious story…
There are 3 different tours to chose from – Middle, Long and Long with Boat Cruise. We opted to keep it simple and booked the Middle tour in advance. This takes in the majority of the best sights of Tokyo including Tokyo Tower, Ginza, Shinjuku and a good few passes of Scramble Crossing at Shibuya.
Once you’ve sorted the paperwork – see further down as this is SUPER important – it’s time to suit up.
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Pick your Character
Because this is described as ‘Super Hero Go-Karting experience’, there are all kinds of costumes available to wear. From Superman and Spiderman to Unicorns and some kind of strange fluffy thing. However, because 95% of people do this with one thing in mind, unsurprisingly most people go for characters from a certain computer game.
A couple of tips for you when choosing your outfit of choice. Whilst the costumes with hoods do look great, they’re a bit of a pain when you’re hitting 60kph on the roads. In addition, sunglasses make an excellent accessory. Not only will they keep the sun out of your eyes on bright Tokyo days, they’ll also keep the wind (and bugs) out.
If you really want to top your karting experience off, bring a bluetooth speaker to pump out some tunes as you drive round the city. Need a playlist? Click here for my Tokyo Karting Spotify playlist. You’re welcome.
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Feel like A Celebrity
The first thing you’ll notice driving around the city is the constant photos. Every set of lights you stop at people will be looking on in disbelief and reaching for their cameras. Make sure you have your photo pose worked out and ready, you’ll be using it a lot! Scramble crossing at Shibuya tends to be the most exhilarating part, especially at night. I challenge you not to let out a roar as you scream away from the lights across one of the worlds busiest junctions.
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Rules are Rules
Once you’re all kitted up, it’s time to jump in your ride. You’ll be glad to know that they are a little more advanced than your normal track kart. They come equipped with front and rear lights, indicators and a horn. Just in case any of you road rage specialists feel left out. Whilst this is all about having fun, you are still driving a road legal vehicle on a public road, so the normal rules apply. This includes the usage of phones whilst driving. Therefore, if you want to get some awesome photos and videos, bring a GoPro or similar to clamp onto the kart.
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Get Your Documents in Order
If there’s one thing I can’t stress enough, make sure you turn up with the correct documents. As a result of greater scrutiny by the local authorities, the company are now required to check you have the necessary docs. Therefore, make sure you check their website a good couple of weeks before you leave home to check what you need. This probably amounts to no more than just an International Driving Permit but be sure to check.
For those of you who live in the UK, the Post Office issues these. However, because not all of them have the service, check this link to see what you need to do.