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How To Play Mario Kart In Japan — On A Real Street With Real Traffic

Travelers Today       By    MJ De Castro

Updated: Jul 31, 2018 04:13 PM EDT

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MariCar Japan
People visiting Japan can now pretend to be part of the world-famous Nintendo game "Mario Kart" by joining a go-kart tour. Riders only need to have a valid Japanese driving license or an international driving permit to join.
(Photo: Maricar Akihabara | Facebook )

Fans of Super Mario will finally make one of their dreams come to life with the new go-kart scheme in Japan.

The go-kart drew comparisons from the famous Nintendo Mario Kart game. Called MariCar, the go-kart rides provide unique tours in three major Japanese cities including Okinawa, Osaka, and Tokyo. Before hitting the road on their go-karts, riders will dress up in a onesie depicting the game characters.

Manager of MariCar Tokyo Catherine Ishii said that the one-of-a-kind ride will take people out of their daily lives.

"You wear costumes, you ride go-karts that kind of look like toys but actually is like a real car, so wearing the costume kind of puts you in the zone and then you're on the kart, and then you do the tour and it amps up the experience," says Ishii.

What To Expect

Anyone who has an international driving permit or a Japanese driver's license can ride the go-kart.

The vehicle can reach a speed of 49.7 miles per hour. Instead of being in competition with each other on who can reach the finish line first, the drivers must abide by the speed limit and road rules.

Ishii said that although people are going at 24 to 31 miles per hour, it feels like they are already reaching close to 50 because they are really close to the ground and it is an open-type of go-kart.

Aside from the famous Super Mario Brothers inspired costumes, riders can also pick onesies that depict Minions — or even Superman.

Ishii added that she thinks it is silly to a degree, which will surely make people smile. The scheme even inspired copycat events. For example, a number of Australian cities are now offering Mushroom Racing, which is a Mario Kart-inspired experience. However, instead of being on the open road, the ride will take place in an enclosed circuit.

Disputes Over MariCar

The gimmicky kart tour has faced challenges as some of its MariCar drivers were reportedly involved in a number of accidents since the tour started in Tokyo three years ago.

Furthermore, it was also tangled in a legal dispute with video game manufacturing giant Nintendo, after the institution filed a lawsuit for the company after offering Mario Kart-inspired rides without asking for permission.

However, MariCar was permitted to keep its trademark that will let them continue having tours after the Japan Patent Office ruled against the game-manufacturing giant. The MariCar website now has a disclaimer, which states that it does not claim to be a reflection of the famous game.

See Now: The U.S. had the highest number of Most Wanted properties, dominating the Loved By Guests Awards 2018

japan, Nintendo, Super Mario, go kart
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