Let’s-a-go on the Japan circuit.
- MariCar is in a legal battle with Nintendo Co. and has been ordered by a court to pay damages and stop the lending of Nintendo character costumes. However, for the foreseeable future, you can still wear costumes, etc. (Updated Oct. 9, 2018)
When you arrive one of the more-than 10 MariCar locations, you’ll choose from an array of costumes from Goku to Donald Duck. For your safety, the guide will give you an explanation of the local traffic laws (no turtle shell throwing allowed) and how to be safe while driving (no drifting for boosts either). After you get the green light, off you go on a street tour of the city on your go-karts that have been modified for street racin’. (Seriously, it’s not a race, though!)
All you have to do is choose your route, and your guide will take you around the best sights the city has to offer. Some travelers recommend it as an exhilaratingly efficient way to see famous landmarks like Odaiba’s Rainbow Bridge or Tokyo Skytree from a unique vantage point. The guide will also take photos of you (when it’s safe), ensuring you’ll have some proof of your time buzzing along the asphalt. (For you GoProers — you can even strap the camera to your head for some sweet footage.)
Availability and pricing
There are eight different locations in the Tokyo area to do “short, medium, or long” courses ranging in price from ¥6,000 to ¥15,000. Short courses are about one hour. Medium and long courses are one and a half to two and two and a half to three hours, respectively.
However, each store has its own selection of courses so make sure to check MariCar’s website before you head out. If your travel itinerary doesn’t include Tokyo, then you can still check out MariCar if you visit Osaka, Kyoto or Okinawa.
Requirements and safety
You will need a driver’s license that is valid in Japan in order to drive a go-kart. In some cases, this means securing an international driver’s license before you head to Japan. A list of approved licenses is available on MariCar’s website. According to data, from February 2017 to March 2018, there were 50 accidents involving go-karts in Tokyo including some that resulted in minor injuries. The karts are very low to the ground which means that it can be difficult for drivers of regular vehicles to see them. This is something to keep in mind before hitting the road.
See below for a list of areas where you can do MariCar.