Akihabara Go Kart: Experience Real-Life Street Karting in Tokyo

If you are over 18 and visiting Tokyo, there might be no better way to see the city than zipping through the iconic streets in a go-kart with the wind blowing in your hair. Akihabara Go Kart offers this thrilling experience in the famous anime and electronic destination of Akihabara.

Visitors flock to Akihabara daily to explore stores specialising in anime, manga, and video games. Akiba Cart combines this culture with a fun sightseeing experience. They also have many cosplay costumes to wear while driving their go-karts. 

If you have only ever explored Akihabara’s energetic streets and bright lights on foot, why not try exploring it on wheels while dressed as Pikachu?

Disclaimer:  This article contains affiliate links.  If you book after clicking on one of these links then we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Akihabara Street Kart Tour Experience
  • Drive a go-kart though Akihabara and central Tokyo while dressed in a costume
  • One or Two Hour Guided Tour Options
  • Your guide will take photos to share later.

Akihabara Go Kart

While Akiba Kart is based in Akihabara, the tour will also take you to other iconic spots around Tokyo, including the Imperial Palace entrance and the gorgeous Tokyo Station. Enjoy these beautiful locations with completely unrestricted views and prepare to wave to bystanders who will want to snap photos of your group. 

So buckle up, pick your costume, get your GoPro camera ready, don’t forget that international driver’s license, and let’s explore the crazy experience of Akihabara Go Kart.

Brief History of Street Karting in Tokyo

StreetKart popularised go-karting on the streets of Tokyo back in 2015. Known originally as MariCar, this experience had drivers dressed up in Mario Kart costumes while exploring various areas of Tokyo in red and black go-karts. But, in 2017, the fun looked like it was about to end.

Nintendo sued MariCar for their use of its characters without permission and ultimately won the lawsuit in 2017. MariCar was fined 50 million yen (US$ 340,000). 

After an unsuccessful appeal, MariCar was rebranded as StreetKart and now avoids using Nintendo’s intellectual property. Other companies have joined the race, and various street-karting tours are available across Tokyo in locations such as Tokyo Bay, Shibuya, Asakusa, Shinagawa and Akihabara. See these locations on the below map.

A collection of go-karts at Akihabara Go Kart
A collection of go-karts at Akihabara Go Kart

Is Street Karting in Tokyo Legal

This whole idea of street karting through Tokyo might leave you with many questions as a foreigner visiting Japan. The first one might be, is Akihabara Go Kart even legal?

Yes. Street-karting is entirely legal in Japan. It is legal to drive go-karts on the streets of Tokyo, and you are permitted to wear costumes. Also, no seatbelt or helmet is required when driving a go-kart in Japan. All the go-karts at Akihabara Go Kart meet local Japanese laws and safety standards.

The Akiba Cart website tells visitors to have their cameras ready to take lots of pictures and videos. This is also legal, but only when the vehicle is stationary. Another option for video is to wear a GoPro on your head, chest, or shoulder and record the entire journey.

Wearing a GoPro on a head mount before the experience begins
Wearing a GoPro on a head mount before the experience begins

How Street Karting Works

To experience Akihabara Go Kart, you must be 18 years or older. You also need to have a valid driver’s license. You only need a normal Japanese driver’s license if you are a Japanese citizen. 

If you are a tourist, you must have and present a valid International Driver’s Permit, your home drivers licence and passport.

Customers must book their Go Kart Akihabara in advance and arrive at least 15-20 minutes before their booking time. If you are late, the tour might leave without you. You will show your reservation confirmation, licence, and passport when you arrive.

You can then go to the waiting area to store your belongings in a locker and get ready for your tour. You can select one of their many costumes for the experience or bring your own. 

This is also the time to get your camera or GoPro set up. Akiba Cart has GoPro’s available for rent. Or, if you already have your own GoPro, they have head and chest mounts that you can borrow to record your adventure. 

There are also free glasses and facemasks, which you can wear for free during the experience. 

Before heading out on the go-kart, you will attend a driving tutorial. The guide will explain how to work the kart and the Japanese rules for driving on public streets. 

After that, it is time to go. Follow the guide in a single file as you drive around the streets of Akihabara and Tokyo.

You will return to the store starting point when the tour is complete. You can then get changed out of your costume and collect your personal belongings.

Collection of costumes available at Akiba Cart
Collection of costumes available at Akiba Cart

Tokyo Street Kart Course Options

When booking a Tokyo Street Kart tour, you will soon discover there are many different options to choose from.

One street-karting choice is the Tokyo Bay Go-Kart experience from Street Kart. This trip lasts for 2-hours, and you will drive across the iconic Rainbow Bridge, pass the Tokyo Tower, and drive through the unique area of Odaiba.

Shibuya is one of the most popular areas for foreign visitors to Tokyo, and there are two different go-karting options in this area. Street Kart offers a 1-hour street-karting experience that explores Shibuya, Harajuku, and Omotesando. Monkey Kart offers a 90-minute Shibuya street-karting experience. This will take you from Shibuya to Tokyo Tower and around Roppongi.

Another popular area for go-karting is in Asakusa. A two-hour tour from Japan Kart takes you around famous areas of east Tokyo. Samurai Kart also offers a two-hour go-kart experience in Asakusa. This will have visitors drive by the Asakusa symbol Kaminarimon and witness the huge Tokyo Skytree.

If you want to experience go-karting, Akihabara Go Kart is one of the most popular tours available. Visitors can select from either a one or two-hour tour. Explore the streets of Akihabara while also seeing other areas of Chiyoda ward and iconic locations such as Tokyo Station. This article will review and guide you through the Akihabara Go Kart experience.

Akihabara Street Kart Tour Experience
From $US 57

Akihabara Street Kart Tour Experience

  • Drive a go-kart though Akihabara and central Tokyo while dressed in a costume
  • One or Two Hour Guided Tour Options
  • Your guide will take photos to share later.
Shibuya Street Kart Tour
From $US 96

Shibuya Street Kart Tour

  • One Hour Small Group Tour
  • Drive a go-kart though the Shibuya Crossing while dressed in a costume.
  • Your guide will take photos to share later.
Asakusa Street Kart Tour
From $US 96

Asakusa Street Kart Tour

  • One Hour Small Group Tour
  • Drive a go-kart though Asakusa, near the Tokyo Skytree and northern Tokyo while dressed in a costume.
  • Multiple tour provider options
  • Your guide will take photos to share later.
Shinagawa Street Kart Tour
From $US 136

Shinagawa Street Kart Tour

  • 2-3 Hour Small Group Tour
  • Drive a go-kart though Rainbow Bridge, past Tokyo Tower, Roppongi and Shibuya Crossing while dressed in a costume.
  • Your guide will take photos to share later.
Odaiba Street Kart Tour
From $US 118

Odaiba Street Kart Tour

  • One Hour Small Group Tour
  • Drive a go-kart though Tokyo Bay, over Rainbow Bridge and past Tokyo Tower while dressed in a costume.
  • Your guide will take photos to share later.
The view of Tokyo Station while driving the Akiba street kart
The view of Tokyo Station while driving the Akiba street kart

Who Will Enjoy Akihabara Go Kart the Most?

Akihabara Go Kart would be a fun experience for many different types of tourists visiting Japan.

Young adults and millennials will enjoy Akiba Kart, especially those who grew up playing Mario Kart, as this is about how close you can get to playing real-life Mario Kart. As a millennial who often played these games, it felt a little surreal at times driving around Tokyo in a red and black go-kart.

Gaming, anime, and manga enthusiasts will have a blast with Akihabara Go Kart. Akihabara is the major hub for video game, anime, and manga culture in Tokyo. So exploring these streets with a go-kart will be a worthwhile experience for them.

Adventure seekers will enjoy zipping around the streets of Tokyo in a go-kart. Most tourists visiting Japan will use trains as their primary transport. But adventure seekers will get more of a thrill by driving a go-kart amongst traffic on real streets in Japan.

People visiting Japan as a group or with a friend will enjoy the unique experience that Akihabara Go-Kart offers. As you go out in a group, watching your friends drive their go-karts is fun. Plus, there are some great opportunities for photos with your group or even selfies with them.

Akihabara Chuo Dori Street is heaven for anime and video game fans
Akihabara Chuo Dori Street is heaven for anime and video game fans

Who is Street Karting Not Recommended For

While Akihabara Go Kart is a lot of fun, some people might not enjoy this particular experience.

Although the go-karts are automatic and easy to drive, this tour might be a challenging experience for nervous drivers. Driving on roads in a foreign country can be intimidating for some. Add in the fact that you are in a go-kart with all of the other cars on the road towering about you, and this might be too much for some to handle.

While street karting is fun for groups, for families, it could create problems. To drive the go-karts, you have to be over the age of 18. So it is only recommended for families with young children to book this tour if you can organise childcare arrangements. 

There are also a bunch of medical and health conditions that could stop people from enjoying Akiba Kart. Street-karting is not recommended for travellers with back problems as the go-kart features a lot of bumps and some torque. Street-karting is also not recommended for people with heart problems, serious medical conditions, or if you are pregnant. Also, keep in mind that this experience is not wheelchair accessible.

Akihabara Kart also has some height and weight requirements for riders. With this being Japan, the height and weight might be smaller than you are used to, so please check this before booking. The height limit ranges from 150 cm (4 ft 11 inches) to 185 cm (6 ft 1 inch). You have to be under 100kg (220 pounds).

Driving on the streets of Akihabara
Driving on the streets of Akihabara

Eligibility for Tokyo Go Karting

There are a bunch of requirements you must meet to be eligible to use Akihabara Go Kart. First, you must have one of the following:

  • An International Driving Permit (issued under the 1949 Geneva Convention) + a valid Driver’s Licence.
  • People with licenses from Switzerland, Germany, France, Taiwan, Belgium, or Monaco must have a Japanese Translation of their licence by the Japan Automobile Federation (JAF) + a valid Driver’s Licence.
  • SOFA permit for members of the US Military.
  • Japanese Driver’s Licence.

In addition to one of the above, you must present a passport before driving the go-kart.

People from countries not under the 1949 Geneva Convention (such as Brazil, China, Indonesia, Mexico, and Pakistan) cannot drive in Japan.

Akihabara Go Kart has had many famous visitors over the years
Akihabara Go Kart has had many famous visitors over the years

Book an Akihabara Go Kart Tour

Booking an Akihabara Go Kart tour is made very simple with the help of Klook.

With Klook, you can easily choose the date and time you want to do the experience and pick either a 1-hour or 2-hour option. Using Klook also lets you pay immediately and secure your place with confirmation.

Klook price:

  • 1 Hour Street Go Karting Akihabara Experience with a guide – 8,265 Yen (US$ 55)
  • 2 Hour Street Go-Karting Experience with a guide – 15,940 Yen (US$ 107)

The direct website of Akihabara Go Kart at Akiba Cart also allows you to book the tour, although it is more complex. First, you have to email or call them directly and state which date and time you are looking for, and they will inform you if it is available. You will then pay for the experience on the day upon arrival. 

Official website price:

  • 1 Hour Street Go-Karting Experience with a guide – 6,500 Yen (US$ 44)
  • 2 Hour Street Go-Karting Experience with a guide – 12,000 Yen (US$ 81)

Included in your price are the:

  • Go-kart rental fee.
  • Guide fee.
  • Petrol (Gas). 
  • Free costume rental.
  • The guide takes your photo during the tour.
  • Insurance.

For visitors who want to rent a GoPro, this option is available to pay for at the shop on the day. This is first come, first serve. So you should contact them in advance if you want to rent one. 

You can also book it in advance through the official website for 3500 Yen (US$ 24). There are also head and chest mounts, which are available to borrow for free if you already have your action camera.

Wearing a GoPro on a head mount while driving the go kart
Wearing a GoPro on a head mount while driving the go-kart

Preparing for Street Karting Experience

On the day of your Akiba Cart experience, you should dress comfortably and appropriately for driving a go-kart. Don’t wear high heels or long skirts, which could hinder driving.

You can bring your action camera or GoPro to use during the tour. However, you can’t hold the camera during the tour, so it must be fitted to a head, shoulder, or chest mount. 

You can also bring your phone, which you can use to take photos while the go-kart is stationary. Regular cameras are too big if they don’t fit in your pocket or the small holding pouch on the go-kart, so these are not advised. 

If you want to bring your costume, this is also allowed. Akihabara Go Kart recommends a nearby Don Quijote, which sells a variety of cheap costumes, including videogame and anime characters.

Insurance is included in your booking price, but the details should be checked and understood before proceeding with the experience. Here’s a summary:

  • Bodily injury coverage is unlimited per person (including liability insurance coverage).
  • Property damage compensation is unlimited per accident: 50,000 Yen (US$ 336) out-of-pocket.
  • Bodily injury compensation is up to 5 million Yen (US$ 33,600) per person.
  • The limit is 30 million yen (US$ 201,600) for damages compensated for injuries (including death and disability) caused by a passenger in an automobile accident.
  • The damage amount is calculated as per the standards outlined in the insurance policy).
  • The customer will be responsible for any damage above the co-payment amount and the maximum amount of compensation mentioned above.
  • For accidents that fall within the scope of events for which insurance payments cannot be made under the terms and conditions of the insurance policy, no compensation will be made.
  • If there is no proof of an accident from the police, there may be no compensation.

What are the Street Karts Like?

The street karts are extremely easy to drive. They are all automatic, with the accelerator pedal on the right and the brake on the left. You let off the handbrake and touch the accelerator to start driving. There is a reverse gear, but nobody on my tour used it, and the guide said we won’t need to reverse.

The street karts are automatic with the accelerator on the right and brake on the left
The street karts are automatic, with the accelerator on the right and the brake on the left.

The seats slide forward and back so they can be adjusted for the rider’s height. The go-karts are all road-legal and have license plates and lights. They also have indicators you can use for turning, but following the guide means you don’t need to.

The go-kart max speed is 60 kph (37 mph), but it feels faster as you are so close to the ground, especially on the longer roads as you get to put your foot down.

Driving and Safety Tutorial

Akihabara Kart makes the whole experience of driving their street kart feel safe and easy. If you have experience driving and aren’t overly nervous, it will be a simple and fun tour. Before going out on the go-kart, the safety tutorial will make the drivers feel at ease. 

Remember that driving in Japan is on the left-hand side of the road, which might take some time for visitors to adjust to. 

The vehicle is fully automatic, so you don’t need to worry about a clutch or changing gears. You can focus on enjoying the drive and taking in the views. Although the streets of Tokyo can become very busy, they are straightforward to drive on.

The safety tutorial before the experience begins
The safety tutorial before the experience begins

The customers follow behind a guide the entire time. The guide will ensure you don’t make any mistakes, such as taking a wrong turn or going down a one-way street. Customers cannot drive off independently, change lanes, or try to race one another. 

Responsible driving and attentive following of the guide ensures a memorable experience.

There is a photo opportunity during the tour with all the go-karts parking on the street behind the guide. The guide will then go to each visitor and use their phone to take a photo of them in the kart. 

Also, during the tour, when the car is stationary, you can use your phone to take selfies and photos.

The guide took my photo
The guide took my photo

My Street Kart Akihabara Experience

When I decided to do Akihabara Go Kart, I chose to book through Klook for convenience and peace of mind. I was surprised at how popular the tour is, with many dates being sold out. However, I managed to book a date three weeks later, on a Sunday at 4:30 pm.

The day I went to Akiba Cart was still during the height of Tokyo summer, and it was 35°C (95°F), so I showed up wearing shorts and a t-shirt. 

I arrived 20 minutes early to ensure I found the shop and had time to set up my GoPro and pick a costume out. When I got to the location by following Google Maps, I was greeted with a sign reading Akihabara Go Kart and an arrow pointing down a ramp.

The entrance to Akihabara Go Kart
The entrance to Akihabara Go Kart

When I walked down the ramp and entered the shop, I could tell I was in the correct place from the smell of petrol and the sight of a mechanic tuning a go-kart. One of the staff approached me and asked if I was booked for today. I showed him my booking. Then he checked my passport and international driving licence. The guide spoke good English and chatted with me about the go-karts and Japan. 

Akiba Cart reception and waiting area
Akiba Cart reception and waiting area

The staff then showed me to the waiting area, where they told me I could store my belongings and have a look at the costumes. However, he told me that today was especially hot, and he didn’t recommend wearing a costume as they are warm and the go-karts can become quite hot. 

This was a little disappointing as wearing the costume seemed like part of the fun, but I listened to his advice as I was already sweating. I did browse through the costumes while I was waiting, and I was surprised at how many costumes they had, from anime and manga to video games to Yukata. Akihabara Go Kart looks to have costumes to suit various tastes.

I used the rest of the time to set up my GoPro camera onto a head mount. There is a mirror in the waiting room, which was helpful for me to adjust my setup. Four other customers arrived who I would be out driving with. They also decided to opt out of wearing costumes due to the heat. The guide came to get us when it was time for our safety tutorial.

I could feel my nerves starting to kick in, and I was feeling a little anxious about driving a go-kart on the streets of Tokyo. However, the tutorial and the guide quickly put my worries at ease. He made the whole experience sound quite fun and relaxing. He explained that driving the karts is very simple while explaining the rules of driving on Tokyo roads. Japanese road signs are also in English, which makes things easier as well.

Japanese road signs are also in English
Japanese road signs are also in English.

We all sat in the go-karts, adjusted the seats and mirrors, and got comfortable with the pedals and controls. After the guide checked that everyone was ready to go, he told me I would be first. I followed the guide, with everyone following behind me. This is when the fun began.

Driving up the ramp and onto the street, I could feel the power of the go-kart. The start of the experience was driving around on some quieter roads and at a slower pace while everyone got used to the karts. This was great as I was still a little nervous, especially seeing cars pass by, which seemed huge compared to sitting on a low go-kart. The nerves soon passed, and I was quickly having a lot of fun and enjoying driving the kart.

While we started driving faster on bigger roads, I realised how safe the guide was at his job. When we were approaching a traffic light, he would only go through the light if he knew we would all get through it together. Also, when the guide wanted to change lanes or turn, he would check to ensure we could all go together and there were no real cars to separate us.

Guide leading our group through an intersection
Guide leading our group through an intersection.

The first iconic location I spotted was Tokyo Station. We drove close to the gorgeous station and stopped at a traffic light. This allowed the drivers to admire it and take photos with their phones. As a nice touch, the guide also turned to us and told us it was the Tokyo Station in case any of us were unaware. Also, while waiting at these traffic lights, I noticed many pedestrians snapping photos of us and waving.

We were quickly back on the road, and driving around streets I recognised from days exploring Tokyo on foot. But this time, I saw them from a different point of view. 

A while later, the guide was pulling into the side of a random road and signalling us to follow. I didn’t know why at the time, but then he told me it was photo time. The guide asked me for my phone and took a few photos of me sitting in the go-kart. He then worked his way down the rest of the group one by one and did the same for each customer.

Soon, we were out driving again. Now, it felt more comfortable and longer stretches of roads allowed us to pick up speed and get the wind in our hair. 

We also stopped at a large area that seemed familiar, but I needed help to place where I was exactly. The guide must have seen me looking perplexed as he told me this was one of the entrances to the Imperial Palace.

Approaching the Imperial Palace

After more driving, I noticed many tall buildings and skyscrapers appearing and realised we were back in Akihabara. The tour was coming to an end. It was one hour, but the time flew by. I felt like I had only been driving for 20-30 minutes. 

The colour and buildings of Akihabara
The colour and buildings of Akihabara

I followed the guide down the ramp and into the garage starting point. After parking the go-kart, I went and collected my belongings, took off my GoPro, and thanked the staff before I left with a big smile on my face.

Tips and Tricks for a Great Street Kart Experience

Before thinking about doing Go Kart Akihabara, remember to book well in advance. If you are already in Tokyo and considering doing the experience, it might be too late as it often sells out in advance. 

It’s best to choose a date and book this experience before you come on vacation to make sure your spot is secured. Also, avoid trying to do this during peak holiday times such as summer vacation or Golden Week, (which might make it sell out even quicker).

Do not book in summer if you want the whole experience of wearing the costume and driving the go-kart. It was 35°C (95°F) when I did the experience, and I was sweating after the drive and was only in shorts and a t-shirt. The best weather temperature would probably be during spring or autumn. Also, try to avoid the rainy season, as the tour can be cancelled if the weather is too bad.

Don’t bring large items such as a DSLR camera or a purse. The karts have a small pouch under the steering wheel, which can fit smaller items like a phone and wallet. Large items must be left behind in the lockers at the shop.

Akihabara is great for photo opportunities
Akihabara is great for photo opportunities.

There are face masks that can be used while driving. Fumes from other karts and vehicles on the road can be slightly unpleasant. However, this is not something I noticed or had an issue with. 

Get there early. 15 or 20 minutes early is good to have time to find the location entrance. Choose and change into a costume. Set up your GoPro and mount. Ask any questions. 

Also, add some extra time at the end for returning the kart, collecting items, and changing back out of the costume.

If you want to capture this experience, bringing a GoPro or another action camera is the best way. Fitting the GoPro on a head-mount and recording the whole journey allowed me to have more fun. I did not have to worry about trying to take my phone out to take a quick photo at red lights.

Pick your day and time wisely. I booked Akihabara Go Kart on a Sunday. For those unaware, on Sundays, the main street of Chuo Dori is closed to car traffic from 1 pm to 6 pm. I already knew this information, but it slipped my mind when booking. If you want to drive down this iconic street, don’t book Akiba Cart on a Sunday or book outside of those times.

Frequently Asked Questions about Akihabara Go Kart

If you are interested in Akihabara Go Kart, you might have some last-minute questions that need to be answered before you stick on your costume and start revving your go-kart.

Akihabara Go Kart - Facebook Image
Akihabara Go Kart – Pinterest Image

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Disclaimer:  This article contains affiliate links.  If you book after clicking on one of these links then we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.