MariCAR – Real Life Mario Kart in Osaka!
See the city like never before!
Always on the look-out for new experiences, Candice and I were beyond excited when we heard that the famous Tokyo Mario Kart company, MariCAR, would be opening up shop in Osaka! Wasting no time, we made reservations and were quickly on our way to their Nodahanshin location to get suited up and hit the streets. In a night full of memorable firsts, being able to see Osaka from an entirely new perspective was truly unforgettable. So, if you want to see the city in a new light, like a thrill and don’t mind being papped like a celebrity, then this is the tour for you!
Reservations with MariCAR can be made over the phone, by e-mail or through Facebook. Staff speak English and are really helpful when it comes to answering any questions you may have. In order to be able to drive the carts, you will need either a Japanese driving license or a valid international drivers license. For more specific details on license requirements you can visit the MariCAR official site link here.
After making reservations, you’ll need to make your way to the MariCAR Osaka headquarters in Nodahanshin. We have included a map below, but you might want to leave a little extra time as it’s a bit difficult to find, especially if you are visiting at night.
When you arrive at the MariCAR garage, you’ll be led to an aisle of costumes. Here is where the fun begins! The costumes come in a large variety of characters and sizes. Although I could see Candice was tempted by the Mini Mouse outfit, we ultimately decided that the evening called for the classic Mario and Luigi duo! After picking out our sizes we slipped the costumes on over our clothes. Even with the costume providing an additional layer, we were both pretty cold throughout the whole tour. So if you are someone that chills easily and don’t want to be cold for two+ hours it’s definitely wise to layer up and bring a coat. For safety reasons, drivers are allowed to bring only their phone and drivers license with them in the car. Other personal items can be left in secure lockers at the MariCAR base.
Prior to hitting the road, MariCAR staff will walk drivers through a short safety demonstration, explaining the vehicle and driving formation. Members of the MariCAR team accompany drivers on the road and will be there to provide any assistance should it be needed.
The Driving Experience
*I sadly don’t have a Japanese driver’s license, so was unable to drive the carts. Luckily, I was able to follow Candice on her adventure and snap a few pics from the MariCAR convertible bug that follows the team.
After a quick demo on how to use the go-carts and the safety procedures, we were led to our vehicles. Once we sat down and started our engines, you could feel the excitement building! Before the actual tour around Osaka began, and I finally got to live out my nostalgic 90’s dream, we were first given a few minutes to practice driving around nearby the block.
Since this was my first time on a go-cart, I was very nervous about the whole experience; but after a few laps I felt I got the hang of driving it! Note, I did get a bit nauseous in the beginning because I was a little scared and the road was a bit bumpy but the whole staff was very understanding and accommodating. To avoid my mistake, I suggest making sure you look straight ahead instead of at the go-cart in front.
MariCAR in Osaka has two tours a day. Adrienne and I opted for the night tour and the experience was stunning; I can only imagine that the streets of Midosuji will be even more beautiful as they are lit up for the holiday season!
2 Hour Course (costume included) – ¥8,000 Or ¥6,000 for spreading the word about MariCAR via social media
3 Hour Course (costume included) – ¥10,000 Or ¥8,000 for spreading the word about MariCAR via social media
Rental Costume Only – ¥3,000 – (optional) for members in the party without a license there may be the option of riding in the convertible that follows the team. Please call first to check the availability of this service.
For more about MariCAR you can visit their official website here.