Take in the hustle and bustle of Tokyo ‘Super Mario’ style

Tokyo, go-kart

Rental go-karts in Ginza street offer tourists the chance to roam Tokyo’s busy streets. Source: Shutterstock

Have you always wanted to drive a go-kart around one of the world’s busiest metropolitan cities dressed up as your favourite video game character? Well, it seems that in Tokyo, you can!

In the vein of the Super Mario Kart racing game made popular in the ’90s, locals and tourists can roam around the city in street-legal vehicles with 50cc engines that are powerful enough to reach 60 km/h.

The cost? For a two-hour tour, about JPY8,000 (US$71) and a valid driver’s licence to get behind the wheel, according to the BBC (via Sankei Shimbun).

During busy periods, booking a go-kart can be difficult as there are less than 1,000 of them – mostly owned by hire companies who rent the vehicles to foreign tourists.

To add to the fun, the tourists are encouraged to rent the go-karts out in groups, and the experience could even be more exciting as customers can turn up in fancy dresses, provided they are safe.

You might not see this activity taking place elsewhere in the world, and that’s because these go-karts are allowed to operate based on a legal loophole in the Road Transport Vehicle Act, which classifies them as both scooters and four-wheel carts.

Locals and tourists can roam around the city in street-legal carts with 50cc engines powerful enough to reach 60km/h. Source: Shutterstock

Currently, scooter drivers are not required to wear seatbelts, and the go-kart drivers do not need to wear helmets.

However, the luxury of roaming freely without any safety gear may change soon as new regulations might be introduced in wake of several accidents earlier this year.

Following the incidences, the Transport Ministry wants operators to ensure safety on the go-karts by adding headrests, direction indicators, rear-view mirrors, and a red light that stands at least one metre from the ground so that the go-karts can be seen by other road users.

And if you ever find yourself in the city and want to cruise around in the go-karts, the hiring companies would most likely ask you to observe Japanese driving rules, which is important as for some, it may be their first time driving on the left side of the road.