MariCar is a (trademark avoidingly named) Japanese company that offers Mario Kart style tours of three different Japanese cities: Tokyo, Osaka and Okinawa. Nintendo character costumes (plus others) are available for participants, who then climb aboard their street-legal but still very terrifying go-karts for a guided tour of the city. Green shell, green shell, banana peel!
"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."
Anyone with an international driving permit or a valid Japanese driver's license can join the tour.
The karts can reach speeds of 80 kilometers per hour.
But instead of racing to overtake each other, MariCar drivers have to abide by public speed limits and the rules of the road.
"Even if you're only going like, 40 or 50 kilometers per hour, it feels like 80 and 90 because it's an open type of go-kart and you're really close to the ground," says Ishii.
Admittedly, that does sound like a good time. I need to go to Japan. Anybody know their way around and wanna take me? I have a valid passport, and I'm an excellent travel companion. Just ask my friend Jess, we recently went to Thailand together. "He made me get him registered as an emotional support animal so he wouldn't have to pay for a plane ticket." That is true. "Then he cried the entire 19 hour flight." Airplanes are terrifying!
Keep going for a couple videos that people have filmed while taking the tours, and search Youtube for more if you're interested.
Thanks to my friend Jackie, who insists we go, and insists she gets to wear a Link costume even though that was obviously going to be my first choice.