It’s the video game that sees Nintendo characters whizz around on go-karts as they race on gravity-defying tracks.
But tourists in Japan can go one better – and zoom around in a real-life Mario Kart game. Sort of.
MariCAR tours allow fans of the game – or anyone who’s partial to a zany outing – to dress as characters from it and tour Tokyo, Osaka and Okinawa in go-karts.
Tourists tour around Tokyo on go-karts dressed as characters such as Mario and Luigi from the Nintendo game Mario Kart
The MariCAR tours are open to anyone with an international driving permit of valid Japanese driver’s license and start with guests choosing a costume
The go-karts can even play a range of music – and even the soundtrack to the popular video game
And the organisers aren’t prejudiced regarding the outfits – they have all manner of costumes available so guests can dress as a Nintendo character, Minion or even Superman.
The karts can reach speeds of up to 50mph and come equipped with a 4k camera so guests can capture their wacky tour for posterity. They can also play music, including the soundtrack to the game.
The tours in Tokyo take in well-known areas including Harajuku and the Shibuya Crossing.
However, unlike the video games, drivers don’t try and race each other but instead have to abide by public speed limits and the rules of the road. And the throwing of red turtle shells is strictly prohibited.
The karts can reach speeds of up to 50mph and in Tokyo the tours take in well-known areas across the Japanese capital
Unlike the video games, drivers don’t try and race each other but instead have to abide by public speed limits and the rules of the road
One of those taking part in the tour holds up a star, pictured left. A stream of participants drive on the road dressed as Nintendo characters, pictured right
Revving up your holiday: MariCAR says that touring Tokyo in this way amps up the experience
Catherine Ishii, manager of MariCAR Tokyo, told CNN: ‘It’s something to take you out of your 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.’
However, the tours have proved controversial with several accidents being reported involving the go-karts since the tours started in 2015.
One tourist dressed as Luigi waves to the camera after being snapped while taking part in a MariCAR tour in Tokyo
One of the go-karts whizzes past an ancient temple in Tokyo during one of the MariCAR tours in the Japanese capital
Other tourists gather around to take pictures of those taking part in one of the tours
Mario Kart sees players race on gravity-defying tracks as their favourite characters from Nintendo’s back-catalogue, including Mario, Luigi, Link, Yoshi and Princess Peach. Here MariCAR tourists pose at a petrol station
In 2017, Nintendo filed a lawsuit against MariCAR for offering the experience based on its game.
But a court ruled that MariCAR could continue to offer the tours as long as it carried a disclaimer on its website saying it is ‘in no way a reflection of the game Mario Kart’.
The MariCAR tours are open to anyone with a Japanese or international driving licence.
Mario Kart sees players race on gravity-defying tracks as their favourite characters from Nintendo’s back-catalogue, including Mario, Luigi, Link, Yoshi and Princess Peach.
Mario Kart Tour is the latest in a line of classic video game properties the company plans to bring to iOS and Android devices.
Nintendo launched Super Mario Run in December 2016, followed by a smartphone version of its Animal Crossing franchise in October 2017.