How to Mario Kart Through the Streets of Osaka

…or not. Not according to the official website, anyways, which states that “Street Kart is in no way a reflection of Nintendo, (or) the game 'Mario Kart'.” So, Street Kart it is! You can even rent out and wear your favorite Mario Bro- er, Street Kart costume while you race your friends through the streets of downtown Osaka. Let’s see if you’re fast enough to outrun the horde of Nintendo lawyers who’ll be hot on your heels! (more on that later…)

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A Real Life Video Game

If you’re a samurai sword wielding, nihongo-jouzuing, naruto-running weeb who was expecting Japan to look like a kawaii anime wonderland, this type of thing is perfect for you! It really is for everyone, though — I mean who wouldn’t want to feel the rush of racing go-karts and dodging trucks left and right flying down down Toad’s Turnpike in real life?

Here’s a video showcasing the kart racing in all it’s glory, although this one is shot in Tokyo:

The company in the video above, though, isn’t active today. If you are familiar with some of the history behind “Mario Kart” style go-kart racing in Japan, you might be familiar with the company known as “Maricar” and it’s downfall.

In 2020, Nintendo won a lawsuit against the former company known as Maricar. Although Maricar was not the only company that was offering a street go-kart type service, Maricar had been renting out costumes of various Super Mario characters for customers to wear while racing. While this made for some really cool photos, Nintendo noticed and sued Maricar for using their intellectual property — Nintendo won, and Maricar is no more.

Fortunately, you can still participate in street go-kart racing with the various other companies that offer the service.

One such company is Street Kart. If you want to try go-kart racing in the streets of Osaka, Street Kart is the company to go with. (Mainly because it’s the only one offering the service right now).

Great, but why Osaka?

The obvious first choice for go-kart racing might be Tokyo, but Tokyo is so big that it’s almost impossible to tour the whole city in one ride.

Osaka, on the other hand, is definitely doable. Street Kart even offers a go-kart tour of the entire city, hitting all the popular destinations like the ancient Shinsekai and the blazing neon Dotonbori all in one go! Check out the tour in the image below:

Also, for the best experience, we highly recommend you go in the evening. Downtown Osaka is known for being a bustling, brightly-lit neon paradise reminicient of cyberpunk 2077 which is truly a sight to behold against the dark night sky.

Something to consider is that the locals are not big fans of the go-kart racing. Some locals complain that the karts are dangerous, loud, and there was even a hit-and-run incident involving a local cyclist. Although no one was seriously injured, it hasn’t helped the image of kart racing in the busy streets of Osaka — be careful when you’re out there. The company doesn’t provide helments, so bring your own if you want one.

How much does it cost?

All Prices are listed below.

How do I sign up?

1. You must have either a Japanese Driving License or an International Driving License. If you’re planning on using an International Driving License, you should already have one in hand when you land in Japan. Make sure you bring your Passport and Driver License along with the International Driver License.

In America, getting one is as easy as showing up to your local AAA office with your Driver License and 20 dollars.

2. Sign up directly through the Street Kart official website, or through any number of affiliate websites.

3. Arrive, attend the safety briefing, and pick out a costume.

4. Go!

Thanks for reading!

It’s due to people like you that we’re allowed to keep on keepin’ on. If you’re interested in adding some other destinations in or near Osaka to your itinerary, check out some other points of interest below!

As always, we’re glad to receive any comments, questions, or concerns in the comments.

Osaka City, Osaka
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