Tokyo Bucket List: How To Book Real Mario Kart (Street Go Kart) in Tokyo
Street Kart in Tokyo is one of the Tokyo bucket list items that you have to do. This guide tells you how to drive a “Real Life Mario Kart” on the street in Tokyo and everything about this unmissable experience in Tokyo.
Having been to Tokyo several times already, I wasn’t all that interested in the typical touristy things in Tokyo. I was looking for unique and cool things to do in Tokyo and this real life Mario Kart in Tokyo activity came up.
Driving a Tokyo Street Kart is not only a cool experience in itself, but it is also one way for you to see the famous landmarks of Tokyo, just in a very unique way.
In this guide I will tell you everything you need to know about the real life Mario Kart in Tokyo!
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Best Street Go Kart Tours in Tokyo
Years ago there was only one street Go Kart company in Tokyo, but fast forward to 2024, there are now several different tours you can take, with different routes, karts and prices. Although you can no longer dress up as a Super Mario character, the experience of driving a Go Kart on the streets of Tokyo is unique and cannot be found anywhere else in the world.
Below are some of the most popular street Go Kart services in Tokyo to book!
Tokyo Go Kart Tour Option 1 – Shibuya Crossing, Harajuku, Tokyo Tower
This Go Kart tour is probably one of the most popular routes you can book, as it goes through Tokyo Tower, Harajuku and Shibuya Crossing. This is very similar to the one I’ve done (see details below) and I cannot recommend it enough to drive through Shibuya Scramble Crossing.
This tour lasts for 1.5 hours and you start from Shinagawa location first. The tour includes instructor, costumes and photos. You can rent action camera and bluetooth speakers for additional cost.
This tour is the most comprehensive Tokyo Go Kart out there.
Tokyo Go Kart Tour Option 2 – Asakusa, Skytree, Akihabara
This 1-2 hour Go Kart experience takes you to some of the most famous tourist spots in Tokyo, starting in the quirky electronic district of Akihabara, the towering Tokyo Skytree and through the historical Sensoji and the famous SUMO stadium.
This tour includes a guide, photo shoot, costumes and bluetooth speaker. You can pay extra to rent an action camera.
Tokyo Go Kart Tour Option 3 – Akihabara & Beyond (cheaper)
This 1 to 2 hour Tokyo Go Kart experience takes you around the electronic town of Akihabara. The guide will help you take a lot of photos and you can rent costumes as well. With this Go Kart tour you also get to drive by Sensoji, Skytree, Ueno, Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, etc.
Some of the above are seen on the 2 hour route instead of 1 hour.
Tokyo Go Kart Tour Option 4 – Shibuya (cheaper)
This Street Go-Kart tour is by the original street kart company that I used before. This tour is only one hour and takes you through Harajuku, Omotesando and Shibuya Crossing (multiple times). Honestly I don’t think anything beats driving through Shibuya Crossing, it really is once in a life time opportunity.
I would highly recommend this tour and company as I had such a great experience with them (and again, Shibuya crossing is so awesome). Since this tour is only one hour, it is also cheaper than some of the other Go Kart tours out there.
Tokyo Go Kart Tour Option 5 – Tokyo Bay (drive at top speed)
This 2 hour real life superhero Go Kart has the most unique course, it goes through the Tokyo Bay Area. Again, this is by the original street kart company that I used before.
With this tour, you get to drive through the famous Rainbow Bridge, Tokyo Tower and Odaiba area (Odaiba is where teamLabs PLANETS and Gundam statue is, but no guarantee you will see them on this tour though).
Rainbow Bridge is where you can go pretty fast with the Go Kart (faster than when you drive on regular streets of Tokyo). So if you are looking for a thrilling experience, this would be the best Go Kart experience for you.
What is Real Mario Kart (or Super Hero Go Kart Racing) in Tokyo?
Eventually in 2018 the case was settled and Nintendo won. Now MariCar can no longer advertise itself as real life Mario Kart.
Instead it has rebranded as Real Life SuperHero Go-Karting in Tokyo. MariCar also cannot rent out Nintedo’s Super Mario Brother costumes, but it doesn’t stop them from renting out costumes that look similar to the Super Mario Brothers!
Even if you cannot dress up as Super Mario or Luigi, you will still have a lot of fun driving a Go Kart on the streets of Tokyo.
Now post pandemic, there are other companies that popped up on the scene to offer similar services but with different routes.
Is it legal to drive a Go Kart in Tokyo?
Yes, it is legal to drive a go kart on the streets of Tokyo and dress up as super hero characters and yes you can take photos and videos!
These Go Karts are compliant with Japan local governing laws and their safety regulation exceeds the requirements imposed by the police. Therefore you can rest assure it is perfectly legal to drive these Go Karts on the streets of Tokyo.
Do I need a license to drive Go Kart on the Streets in Tokyo Japan?
You absolutely need to have a valid driver’s license in order to drive Street Go Kart in Tokyo. Below are the types of license you need.
- Japanese Driving License
- SOFA Driving License for US Forces in Japan
- International Driving Permit from AAA or AATA with your Driver’s License
- Japanese translation of driving license if your driver’s license is issued in Switzerland, Germany, France, Belgium, Slovenia, Monaco, and Taiwan
- Some of the countries like Indonesia, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia are not allowed to drive in Japan
What side of the road do you drive on in Japan?
People drive on the left side of the road (same side as UK, South Africa, New Zealand, etc). If you are coming from the United States/ Canada/ most of Europe, it will be the opposite from you.
This means that when you drive the Go Kart on Japanese streets, you are driving on the other side of the road with regular cars if you are coming from North America. You should be prepared to drive on the opposite side of the road!
The good thing is since you will be following a guide and other drivers, you should be ok.
Where are the Real Mario Kart in Tokyo?
- Tokyo Bay
When you book your experience, be sure to book the right course since it will take you to different routes and different meeting locations.
Which Course Should I Choose For the Real Mario Kart in Tokyo?
With the reduction of service by Street Kart and the emergence of new Go Kart services, you have a few different courses you can choose from.
As mentioned above, there are now many different routes you can pick from
- Skytree route: Sensoji Temple -> Skytree -> Akihabara (1 hour)
- Shinjuku route: Shinjuku -> Harajuku -> Shibuya (including Shibuya Crossing) (1.5 hours)
With the Original street Kart company, you also have 2 options to choose from:
So depending on which company and route you take, you will be seeing different things. The two different companies may also have different costume options.
There are several different appointment time you can book depending on availability and your personal reference. We thought the evening ones would be nice to see Tokyo all lit up and the weather was cooler.
We also didn’t know what to expect for the activity, so we decided to go with the option that goes to Shibuya just because Shibuya is one of the most famous spots in Tokyo so I thought it would be amazing to be able to drive through Shibuya (and it was).
Based on my personal experience, if you are going in warm weather (like in the summer), you should definitely book a later one so you are not sweating in your costumes. If you are visiting in the winter then it’s better to do it during the day time so it’s warmer.
You also should arrive at least 15 to 20 minutes early so you have time to check in and change into your costumes. If you arrive late, you will miss the tour.
How much does real world Mario Kart Cost?
When I booked with Street Kart, they also offered additional add on items such as “Action Camera” (I think it’s a Go-pro rental) and photo shoot experience. These additional add-ons are charged by the hour. You can even purchase fake mustache, costume, and microSD cards for a fee as well.
The Real Life Mario Kart in Tokyo Experience
We booked our Go Kart experience in Tokyo a couple of months before we visited. On the day of the experience, we showed up at the designated meeting point.
Our appointment was at 5pm and most people were already there trying on different costumes by 4:45pm.
Most people end up choosing to be either Mario or Luigi so I decided to be something less common: Bowser…! If you want to be able to choose the costumes before they get picked by others I would recommend getting there earlier. Note that you can no longer choose Mario Kart costumes.
Even though it was late September when we did the real life Mario Kart, Tokyo was still very hot and humid so it really felt uncomfortable (even though cute) to be in an overall. It does get better when you start driving because of the breeze.
After getting into our costumes, we followed our team leaders to a parking lot to get set up and get familiar with the Go-Karts and traffic rules on Tokyo Streets.
It took about 30 minutes for all of us to be up and running and finally it was time to go! I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous. It was a bit scary trying to get out of the parking lot when cars were coming at us without reducing their speed.
I also wasn’t used to driving on the opposite lane and be lower than every car on the street. The first 20 minutes were relatively nerve wrecking trying to get used to the Go-Kart and making sure I don’t get hit by real cars on the road.
However, I quickly realized that Japanese drivers are quite nice and 99% of the cars on the road tried to avoid us by driving in a completely different lane.
Our first stop was Tokyo Tower, which was about 30 minutes from Shinagawa (where we started). We got separated from the rest of the group on the road but the company was really good about having 3 guides to follow the group (one in front, one in the middle, and one at the end) so we never had to get worried about getting lost.
After you get a hang of driving in the Go Kart it’s actually not bad and it became more and more relaxing and fun. I always wanted to do something unique and driving to Tokyo Tower was definitely one of those Tokyo bucket list items that I did.
After driving to Tokyo Tower and staying for a bit to walk around, we were back on the road again and drove through Roppongi and towards Shibuya.
While driving on the road, most pedestrians were so amused by us that they would wave at us and try to take pictures and videos of us. Talk about being a celebrity!
The best part of the trip was undoubtedly driving through the Shibuya Crossing.
For those of you who don’t know what that is, Shibuya Crossing is the big multi-way crossing in the middle of Tokyo that show up in all the movies.
It was also featured in the movie The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift. The best part of the whole evening was probably when we drove around Shibuya, not once, but 3 times! They totally make it worth awhile for you and your camera even though you are discouraged from holding your phone to film while driving.
What you should know before doing Real Life Mario Kart in Tokyo:
This is definitely a Tokyo bucket list item and the best way to explore Tokyo even if you have been to Tokyo multiple times. If i could go back to Tokyo I would try a different course during the day.
That being said, if you want to do this real life Mario Kart in Tokyo, make sure to do the following to avoid disappointment!
Book your experience way in advance to book as they are quite popular and are in high demand
If you come to Tokyo in the summer, be ready to sweat as the temperature can be really hot and humid (80s F/ 30C). It’s better to do Go Kart in Tokyo in the fall after October.
Rent (or bring) a face mask with you to do the real life Mario Kart if it’s not too hot; the fume from the go-karts in front of you can be quite strong and irritating.
Give yourself 3 hours for a 2 hour course (1 hour for changing costumes, setting up, returning the Go-Kart, paying, getting photos from them, etc)
The Go Kart services now offers action camera rental as well as photo shoot experience so if you don’t have a GoPro you can consider paying for those options.
Ladies! Do not bring a big purse with you as the Go-Karts only have a small pouch for your phone and keys. You will have to leave your larger bags and belongings in their office.
Try to come during non-rainy season as they cancel the events if it rains! (You do not want to get soaked anyway)
If you are pregnant, over 331 lb or taller than 5’9 (180cm) you won’t be able to participate, sorry! Clearly kids cannot participate either since they do not have a driver’s license.
Enjoy and be safe! Follow Japanese driving rules and road etiquette
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