Japan has captured the hearts of many travellers for many reasons. There are so many things to love about the diverse country that’s known for its sumo wrestlers, high-speed trains, cherry blossoms and amazing food. You can find fresh, flavoursome food around every corner, beautiful scenery, culture and friendly people. There are also lots of very unique and quirky experiences on offer….
It doesn’t seem like that long ago when I was playing Mario Kart on the old Super Nintendo against my sisters. Hours of fun were had throwing banana peels and firing turtle shells at each other, disguised as our favourite characters while we raced to the finish line. It was a fun game but I never thought I would be in my own Mario Kart race as an adult…. Until I went to Japan.
Before embarking on my journey to Japan, we undertook some pre-travel research. I often spend hours researching different countries to prepare myself for upcoming overseas adventures. It wasn’t long before we discovers that you could drive a go-kart on the streets of Tokyo, dressed as your favourite Mario Kart character. Yes, it’s true! Only in Japan, right? With this newfound knowledge, my travel partners and I wasted no time in securing an international license before we jetted off.
It wasn’t long before the day had arrived and we were at the MariCAR office, deciding what character we wanted to transform into, while reminiscing about our childhood memories playing the much loved video game. Was this really happening? I had to ask myself this question several times. Were we actually about to drive go-karts on the roads of Tokyo, a city of more than 13 million people, dressed as characters from a video game? It was happening!
The nerves subsided as I placed the puffy Toad hat on my head, stepped into my onesie and was briefed about how to drive the motorised go-kart. Before long, we were off and we had formed the most glorious convoy I had ever seen. A human-sized Mario, Luigi, Yoshi, Bowser and Toad were weaving through traffic on the busy streets of one of the world’s most populated cities. The smile on my face couldn’t have been bigger!
Watch the video above from 40 seconds to see us driving in the streets of Tokyo.
People walking on footpaths stopped and waved at us every 2 minutes. Captivated bystanders were taking photos of us as we waved and smiled back, enjoying every moment of a very surreal time in my life. I felt like we were being followed by paparazzi. We even drove through the very famous Shibuya Crossing! Before long we returned to where the fun began and my jaw hurt from smiling so much.
I will always remember the day I was a real-life video game character in Japan and can’t wait to return to the remarkable country! If there’s one thing you need to do when you visit Japan, it’s this.
Where: Meeting point is their office 4-12-9 Sotokanda Chiyoda ward Tokyo, Japan. See the MariCAR website for directions.
Cost: Prices start from about $83 AUD for 1.5-2hrs and includes rental fee, fuel cost, costume rental, driving guide, accident insurance and tax.
Visit the MariCAR website for more information.