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real life mario kart japan tour

Real Life Mario Kart Japan Tour

If you’re looking for a wacky and fun experience in Japan, you’ve found it! Did you know that you can go on a real life Mario Kart Japan tour through the city streets? You sure did read that right; this is an actual activity that you can do in Japan in areas like Akihabara, Asakusa, Shibuya, Shinjuku, Tokyo Bay, and more.

You may have heard false rumors that go-karting was banned in Japanese city streets, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s still very accessible and easy to do in parts of the country, all while taking in the breathtaking famous landmarks.

Private go-kart tours are available, as well as hour-long Akihabara go-kart tours through some of the top providers that we’ll share in this article. We’ll break down exactly how the go-karting works, where to get your tickets to ensure you don’t miss out, the different go-kart locations that are available to book at, what costume options you and your crew can pick out and wear, any safety precautions to keep in mind, and the license requirements needed to participate.

Go-karting in Japan: How it works

How go karting in Japan works

Go-karting around Japan Mario Kart style is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that not many can say they’ve done. It requires some previous planning to be organised ahead of time to ensure that nothing unexpected pops up the day of.

You’ll want to make sure that you have the correct driver’s license required which we cover in more detail with full instructions further down in this article.

If you meet both of the criteria above (both the age and driver’s license requirement), you’ll then need to go and book a tour online in advance. We’ll be covering where you can book these tours in just a moment, but on the day of, you’ll receive a brief tutorial on how to drive the karts to make sure you’re all set before taking off with the karting crew. Driving a go-kart can be a little bit different than driving a car because you’ll need to use a separate foot for the gas and the brakes, but it shouldn’t take you long at all to get used to it.

You can choose to store anything you don’t want to bring with you on the adventure in a locker at the kart shop when you change into your character’s outfit. Usually the tour guide that will accompany the crew will set the pace of the tour and the route that you’ll be driving on, so you don’t need to worry about accidentally getting lost or making the wrong turn.

Keep in mind that in Japan, drivers take to the left side of the road, but again, it won’t take you long to get used to this change if where you’re from is different. Remember to be on time for your scheduled tour and maybe even arrive a few minutes early to avoid and rushing, as the road crew may end up leaving you behind if you’re late.

Now that we’ve gone over how it works, let’s get into how to pick up some tickets for the “Super Mario Karts” tours.

Buying Tokyo Japan Go-Kart Tickets

There are a number of different options available for booking and renting a Mario Kart go-kart tour. One of the more popular choices is the Go Karting in Akihabara Tour, which you can easily book online through Klook, Viator, and Rakuten Travel Experiences. The tour offers a 1-hour ride for ¥7,200 or a 2-hour ride for ¥13,217. We should mention that it’s recommended to book at least a month in advance (if possible) during peak times as availability may be limited and we want to make sure that they aren’t sold out when you plan to go!

For those looking for a more customizable, once-in-a-lifetime experience, a private go-kart tour of Shinjuku, Shibuya, and Harajuku is also available to book online. This tour comes with complimentary photographs of you and the crew and costs ¥19,000.

Before choosing a tour, remember to read the fine print for each that you’re interested in to see what their cancellation policy is like. Sometimes things come up and we should mention that while go-karting in the rain is definitely doable, it’s typically preferred to do so on a nice sunny day.

If you’re not in Tokyo but still want to go on a go-kart tour, there are other options available in Osaka and Okinawa.

Go-kart locations in Japan

Below is a list of the most popular go-karting locations in Tokyo including what each offers along with where to book it with a more detailed description after.

LocationTimePriceIncludedBooking
Osaka – explore Tsutenkaku Tower & Kitashinchi1 hrFrom $83.26Costumes, drinks, insuranceBook here
Akihabara – explore Rainbow Bridge, Asakusa, Tokyo Dome, Imperial Palace, & Sky Tree2-4 hrsFrom $131.84CostumesBook here
Akihabara / Asakusa – explore Asakusa district1-1.5 hrsFrom $104.08Costumes, insuranceBook here
Shibuya – explore Arajuku & Omotesando1-1.5 hrsFrom $104.08Costumes, insuranceBook here
Shinjuku – n/an/an/an/an/a
Tokyo Bay / Shinkiba – explore Tokyo Bay, Rainbow Bridge, & Tokyo Tower1-2 hrsFrom $131.84Costumes, insuranceBook here

Osaka – Street Osaka GoKart Tour with Funny Costume Rental

A crew of drivers at the Osaka Mario Kart go kart tour

Overview

This Go Kart tour will take you through Osaka and show you some of the city’s highlights. With plenty of wacky costumes to choose from, your whole crew will be 100% photo-ready. The Go Kart and costume rental, kart insurance, and fuel are all included in the price.

  • You’ll get to see all of Osaka’s top destinations like the Tsutenkaku Tower and Kitashinchi area all while traveling with a smaller group
  • You’ll need a valid driver’s license
  • Tour Osaka in a fun and unique way, wearing a costume of your choice while driving a Go Kart
  • Go through and visit popular all the neighborhoods such as Namba and Dotonbori

What’s Included

  • Tour Guide
  • Gas/Fuel
  • Drinks
  • Go Kart rental
  • Costume rental
  • Insurance fee

Read our full guide for the Mario Kart Osaka Tour here.

Akihabara – Go-Kart Street Tour Adventure with Guide

The Akihabara go kart tour on the streets of Japan

Overview

Akihabara is well known as Tokyo’s manga and gaming district and it’s a very popular location for go-karting. You can choose from either the 1 or 2-hour course, with prices starting at ¥7,200. Costumes are included in the price. You’ll get to see Rainbox Bridge, Asakusa, Tokyo Dome, Imperial Palace, Sky Tree, and much more!

  • Explore Akihabara in a fun new way while riding around in go karts
  • Multiple time slots to choose from daily
  • Cruise around with your own personal tour guide

What’s Included

  • Tour guide
  • Gas/Fuel
  • Go Kart rental
  • Costume rental
  • Taxes and extra fees

Asakusa – Official Street Go-Kart Tour in Asakusa

Overview

A group cruising through the streets of Asakusa at night on the tour

Asakusa is another popular location on this list for go-karting through Tokyo. The 1-hour course takes you through Tokyo’s Asakusa district and costumes are included in the overall price, which starts at ¥14,000.

Explore Asakusa, Tokyo while dressed up in a silly character costume and driving in go karts. You can choose between costumes from comics, games, and anime. You’ll see famous landmarks like Kaminarimon and Sky Tree.

  • Choose from multiple different available time slots throughout the day
  • Explore Asakusa district in a fun new way
  • See awesome attractions and destinations as you cruise by

What’s Included

  • Tour Guide
  • Gas/Fuel
  • Go Kart rental
  • Costume rental
  • Insurance fee
  • Taxes and extra fees

Shibuya – Official Street Go-Kart in Shibuya

A group of drivers cruising around in Shibuya on go karts

Overview

In this go-kart tour, you’ll get to cruise through Shibuya Crossing, Harajuku, and Omotesando in style. The 1-hour course costs ¥14,000 which includes costumes. You’ll feel like a celebrity riding through the city sights as passersby wave and smile. As you drive through Harajuku and Omotesando, you’ll get to experience the Japanese pop epicenter.

What’s Included

  • Tour guide
  • Gas/Fuel
  • Go Kart rental
  • Costume rental
  • Insurance fee
  • Taxes and extra fees
  • Photos of the crew

Read our full guide for the Mario Kart Shibuya Tour here.

Shinjuku – Kart experience in Shinjuku drive metropolitan area

Stopped in traffic in go karts in Shinjuku

Overview

The Shinjuku location offers a private tour of the area, with 1 or 2-hour tours available. Prices start at ¥19,000 and include costumes and photos with the crew.

  • One or two hours long tours available
  • Photos available after for free

What’s Included

  • Tour guide
  • Gas/Fuel
  • Go Kart rental
  • Costume rental
  • Bluetooth speaker
  • Photos

Tokyo Bay / Shinkiba – Official Street Go-Kart Tour – Tokyo Bay Shop

Posing at Tokyo Bay / Shinkiba

Overview

If you want to see Tokyo Bay, Rainbow Bridge, and Tokyo Tower while cruising through the streets in style, then the real life Mario Kart Tokyo Bay / Shinkiba kart tour is exactly what you’re looking for. You can get dressed up in a costume of your choice and the cost comes to ¥17,500 and includes a Bluetooth speaker to blast your favorite tunes.

  • Choose from a variety of costumes from video games, comics, and anime
  • See Tokyo Tower and Rainbow Bridge

What’s Included

  • Tour guide
  • Gas/Fuel
  • Go Kart rental
  • Costume rental
  • Bluetooth speaker
  • Taxes and extra fees
  • Insurance fee

Cruising around in your go-kart in style

Before you start your wacky adventure through the streets of Japan, you’ll need to make sure you look the part. This will include both the costume you pick out and wear along with any safety gear as well.

Most rental locations will include a face-guard mask and complimentary shades to protect your face from bugs and dust while you cruise around. Costumes are also included in the price, but not all locations offer Mario character costumes.

Some shops also take the fun up a notch and offer light-up LED shoes, Bluetooth speakers for blasting your favorite music, and even photos to remember the event. You can bring your own camera (or smartphone) to take pictures, your own costumes, and anything else you want to use during the tour.

Important safety precautions

While cruising around the streets of Japan can be a ton of fun, you’ll want to be mindful of a few safety precautions to make sure you avoid accidents. While many of the rental companies do in fact provide go-kart accident insurance plans (some are even included in the price), you’ll still want to follow the guidelines to stay safe on your travels.

This is a Mario Kart tour and not a race. Don’t go driving like a maniac and running others off the road. Be sure to follow the tour guide’s advice and route and make sure you use the recommended hand gestures and follow the speed limits carefully.

Keep in mind when getting dressed that day that heels, sandals, and long skirts aren’t recommended because they can become a safety hazard.

You’ll also be provided and must wear the helmet that you’re given. Don’t take this off while driving around.

What License Do You Need to Drive a Go-Kart in Japan?

To drive a go-kart on the streets of Japan, you’ll need to make sure that you have at least one of the following:

  • Japanese driver’s license
  • A valid international driving permit (used with your passport and home country license).
    • An international driver’s license (driving permit) can only be gotten outside of Japan and lasts for one year from the date that it is issued. These are quite easy to get and you can grab one from a company like AAA for around $20 without much hassle.
  • Japanese driver’s license, . There are several types of licenses that are accepted, including a full Japanese driving license, a foreign driving license issued in specific countries, a SOFA driving license for members of US military forces in Japan, and an International Driving Permit (IDP) used in conjunction with your passport and home country license.
  • A SOFA driver’s license for members of US military forces in Japan (an American driver’s license with a US military ID is also fine).
  • A foreign driver’s license issued in one of the following areas:
    • Switzerland, Germany, France, Belgium, Estonia, Taiwan, Slovenia, or Monaco. Licenses from these locations are allowed for up to one year from their issuance as long as they have an accompanying translation by an authorized organization. You can get your foreign driving license translated here.

There are no exceptions to the license requirements, and all drivers must comply with Japanese law.

What if you can’t drive?

If you don’t have a driver’s license or don’t feel like driving with the crew, you can still have fun and be included in the Mario Kart experience. Some companies offer the option for non-drivers to ride in an accompanying tuk-tuk vehicle or convertible to take photos of the team on the tour.

The boarding fee of ¥3,000 will usually be dismissed if the person rides in the same vehicle as the tour’s staff.

Summary

As you probably noticed while reading this article, there are plenty of options available for Mario Kart tours through the streets of Japan. There are all sorts of locations that offer this service. While some may differ a bit in their offerings, all of the ones included in our guide are highly recommended and well-rated.

Driving around through the streets of Japan while dressed up in an outfit is a ton of fun and it’s something that you’ll look back on and laugh about for years to come. Where else can you do something this wacky?

Do keep in mind that while we do our best to keep our articles up-to-date and accurate, prices and details are subject to change depending on the companies offering the service. That being said, make sure to have a ton of fun out there!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best places to go go-karting in Tokyo?

There are multiple locations to experience a real-life Mario Kart tour. Popular locations include Osaka, Shibuya, Tokyo Bay, Asakusa, Shinjuku, and Akihabara. You can even opt for a more private street kart tour vs. a group one. Make sure you book your spot in advance to make sure it isn’t sold out when you plan to go!

Is it possible to experience Mario Kart in Japan?

Yes, it is possible to experience a real-life Mario kart tour in Japan. Street go-karting tours let drivers dress up as their favorite Mario Kart characters and drive go-karts through the streets of Japan.

How can I book tickets for Mario Kart in Tokyo?

Tickets for Mario Kart tours can be booked online through the links that we shared above. Simply find the location where you want to book your reservation at, confirm your spot by paying, and you’re in! It is important to book in advance as spots can often fill up quickly, especially at peak times of the year.

Are there any age restrictions for Street Karting in Shibuya?

Yes, drivers will need to be at least 18 years old and have a valid Japanese or international driving permit. For more information on the license requirements, you can read the section in our article above where we cover how easy it is to get this through companies like AAA.

What safety measures are in place for Mario Kart in Japan?

Safety measures include wearing helmets and following traffic rules while on the road. There may also be accompanying hand signals that your tour can recommend while traveling. Drivers are usually also required to sign a waiver before the tour begins.

Is Mario Kart in Japan worth the price?

If you’re looking for a unique experience in Japan, a Mario Kart tour is absolutely worth the price. Prices vary depending on the length of the tour and the package chosen. The unique experience of driving on the streets of Tokyo dressed up as your favorite character is one off the wall adventure that you’ll never forget.

Jonathan Z

Jon is one of the two Jons that runs Kuuki. He's a big fan of Nintendo, cats, and Japanese culture. He dreams of one day living abroad in Japan, but for now will settle for simply writing about it.

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