MariCar – The Craziest Way to See Tokyo

MariCar – The Craziest Way to See Tokyo

There was chaos all around me. Colourful characters swerving and speeding through the streets of high-rise buildings and temples. Blinded by the neon lights and deafened by the roaring electronic soundtrack, I gathered all my focus towards pole position. Despite all the chaos and commotion, I remained calm. I was driven by the will to win. The finish line was mine for the taking. As I swerved and drifted around an incoming banana peel, I took a deep breath, aimed and fired a turtle shell at my opponent in front of me, sending him flying up into the air.

MariCar on the streets of Tokyo, Japan

MariCar – Tokyo’s crazy real-life Mario Kart

Ok, so that’s not exactly how it went down, but the adrenaline, excitement and craziness of driving a small go-kart through the streets of Tokyo, dressed in a Mario character onesie is nothing short of exhilarating. When I first heard about MariCar I thought it would be a fun and quirky experience to wrap up our amazing trip to Japan. I assumed that there would be some kind of cut-off section of the roads or footpaths where we would have somewhat of a token drive. I was wrong. Apart from the character costumes you can wear, there is nothing fantasy or token about it. You will drive a real, modified-for-road go-kart and you will drive it on the road, with all the rest of the traffic in Tokyo.

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Start your engines! Maricar in Tokyo
Ling getting ready to race in MariCar

That sounds dangerous?

By our road standards, it probably is. However, MariCar operate in line with the law and they are strict when it comes to Licences (you MUST present a valid International Licence, issued from your country of residence, to participate). Rest assured, we get taken through safety instructions, (which included, “Don’t hit the other cars”, “Don’t beep your horn unnecessarily”, “Follow the road rules like a normal driver” and “Follow my lead”), however it’s still pretty hard to believe this is actually allowed.

Our fearless leader explaining MariCar rules

Trying to avoid being hit by a merging bus or truck whilst driving 50kms an hour over a bridge really puts your vulnerability into perspective…. and it is brilliant for the adrenaline junkies. Whilst we had no issues, there have been a number of accidents – including go-karts crashing on top of another and others hitting parked cars and police boxes. These incidents have prompted concern from police and the government, even with talks of closing it down (but luckily for us, business is going strong and we got to do it!).

MariCar is a crazy way to see Tokyo
Go-karting with traffic in Tokyo Japan

If driving down the streets of Tokyo on a go-kart and dressed as a cartoon character excites you, how about fighting a sumo dressed in a sumo suit? Read about how you can Fight a Sumo here!

Make no mistake, this is NOT Mario Kart

After being taken to court in February 2017 by Nintendo, the owners have been quite adamant that this is not a copy of Mario Kart, but it’s hard not to find the similarities, especially when you see Mario, Luigi, Toad and Yoshi zoom down the street in go-karts. The owners of MariCar actually won the court case and can still operate, despite Nintendo’s attempts to shut them down. They do have a disclaimer on their website (which I found amusing), including the following:

  1. No racing each other on the streets.
  2. Do not throw banana peals or any other garbage on to the streets.
  3. Do not throw red turtle shells or any other objects to each other.
MariCar in Tokyo, Japan

So what’s MariCar actually like?

All joking aside, MariCar is super fun. When we rocked up to the storefront in Akihabara, we were handed forms to sign and directed to pick a character onesie from the huge selection. The store was abuzz with excited millennials, ready to race. Lockers are provided and if you want to hire go-pros and accessories, there is the option for that also. Once dressed, we were divided into small groups and went through the safety spiel with our fearless leader, before we headed to our go-karts.

Dress as your favourite hero with MariCar

A few practice revs, blinker tests and beeps later, and we were ready to hit the road… literally! It is quite surreal driving on the road in a small 50cc go-kart. You are lower to the ground and there is not much between you and the cars around you. Thankfully, drivers in Japan are sensible, so we didn’t have much to worry about. We followed the signals of our leader to slow down, speed up and drive in single or double file. The go-karts tend to embellish every bump and vibration on the road, so it was a nice relief to have a short pit stop at Odaiba and take the obligatory selfie and enjoy the wonderful views of the Rainbow Bridge and the Statue of Liberty replica.

MariCar's Pitt stop in Tokyo

But, a man (or woman) has got to ride, so back on the road we went! These babies are small, but still pack a punch. We almost hit 60kms/hr at some stages and really felt the adrenaline rush. In a city of 13 million people, we quickly became the attraction for tourists and locals alike, with many people waving at us from passing buses and even stopping in the middle of crossings to take photos of us. Every time we stopped at the lights, Guy and I would laugh in amusement at how crazy this actually was (and wonder how it could be legal!). All in all, it was an exhilarating experience and one we would definitely do again next time we are in Japan!

MariCar in the streets of Tokyo
Dress as your favourite character with MariCar Japan!

What more crazy things to see in Tokyo, Japan? Why not check out Robot Restaurant!?!

The deets

Where: Maricar operate from a few sites in Tokyo and Osaka. You can find details of their stores on their website.

When: MariCar offer a number of 2-hour and 3-hour laps around the city throughout the day and evening. Check their Facebook page for up-to-date times and to make a booking.

Cost: Prices start from ¥8,000


If this sounds like something you MUST do when in Japan, make sure you have your International Drivers’ Licence organised. They won’t let you participate if you don’t have one (and you have to organise it before you go to Japan).

Dressing up as characters with MariCar Japan
Ling and Guy doing MariCar in Tokyo

What do you think? Crazy, or a MUST-DO in Japan? But more importantly, what character would you dress up as? 

Let us know in the comments below!

Want more travel inspiration?

MariCar – The Craziest Way to See Tokyo

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Robot Restaurant Review

If you didn’t think the neon lights of Tokyo could shine any brighter, then you haven’t been to Robot Restaurant. You can see the neon signs, wrapped around the building from a block away. Like a magnet, Robot Restaurant draws all the curious explorers in, with its...

One Dress, Many Adventures – The Ultimate Travel Dress

One Dress, Many Adventures – The Ultimate Travel Dress

Imagine if you could get 20+ outfits from just one dress. The Ultimate Travel Dress from Kameleon Rose does just that! And better yet, it is lightweight, quick drying and wrinkle free – the perfect dress for travelling!

Ultimate Travel Dress - Playsuit

The Ultimate Travel Dress

I was asked to test drive the Ultimate Travel Dress, and I thought why not show off some of my favourite spots around Canberra at the same time! With this one dress, you can have many adventures at home and all over the world! Here are some of my favourite outfits using the Ultimate Travel Dress.

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The Ultimate Travel Dress
Ultimate Travel Dress - Spanish style

The Ultimate Travel Dress comes in a range of colours and sizes, but I couldn’t go past the vibrant fire-engine Red. If you are after something more subtle, the Black, Navy or Khaki also look nice!

Want your own Ultimate Travel Dress? Use our discount code TRAVELLING for 10% off at KameleonRose!

Ultimate Travel Dress styling - top


As mentioned above, the Ultimate Travel Dress is light and can be rolled up into a small bundle when travelling. There’s even a hidden piece of elastic that can hold the rolled bundle together, so it takes up less space in your carry-on. Other features that make it perfect for travels are:

  • Hidden zip pocket in the skirt
  • Can be worn 20+ ways (so you don’t have to worry about all your photos looking like you haven’t changed outfits!)
  • Quick drying
  • Wrinkle-free
  • Breathable
Ultimate Travel Dress options - Cape

How does it fit?

I went for the Medium, and it fits quite well. In saying that, I am quite short, so I think the fit suits girls with a longer torso, as skirt didn’t quite sit right on my hips. Thankfully, the dress can be rolled, folded and tucked, so this wasn’t really an issue.

Ultimate Travel Dress Halterneck top
Ultimate Travel Dress Scoop Neck top

Are you a fan of lightweight travel? You should check out our post on How to Travel Light for Two Weeks with our CabinZero carry-on bags!

Overall, the dress is comfy and I really liked that it could be worn as a skirt, dress, playsuit, 3/4 pants, top and even cape!

Ultimate Travel Dress styling options
Ultimate Travel Dress Cape
The Ultimate Travel Dress looks

What is your favourite look? If you like the idea of lightweight travel, but still want to have multiple outfit options, you should definitely check out the Ultimate Travel Dress from KameleonRose! And don’t forget to use our code TRAVELLING for 10% off!

Thank you to KameleonRose for sending me The Ultimate Travel Dress to test and review. As always, opinions are our own

Ultimate Travel Dress - skirt

Want more travel inspiration?

10 Reasons to Visit Malaysia

Imagine rich cultural traditions, amazing food, and picturesque beaches. Thinking of Spain, France or Thailand? Think Malaysia! It’s a rich melting pot of Malay, Chinese and Indian cultures in a modern country with that special something that only South-East Asia can...

Street Art in Penang

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Malaysian Cooking at LaZat & Kari Ayam Recipe

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10 Reasons to Visit Malaysia

10 Reasons to Visit Malaysia

Imagine rich cultural traditions, amazing food, and picturesque beaches. Thinking of Spain, France or Thailand? Think Malaysia! It’s a rich melting pot of Malay, Chinese and Indian cultures in a modern country with that special something that only South-East Asia can provide.

If you’ve never thought of visiting Malaysia, here are 10 hot reasons why you absolutely should!


Maybe you never associated Malaysia with tropical beaches, but then again maybe you have never visited Langkawi or the Perhentian Islands before! Whether you are after beaches for water sports, black sand beaches, white sand beaches or your very own piece of paradise, Malaysia has you covered.

Pantai Cenang, Langkawi, Malaysia

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10 reasons to visit Malaysia
10 Reasons to visit Malaysia


We are all friends here, so I’m going to be honest. Malaysia has the best food that we have had in all of South-East Asia. There, I said it. Seriously, it’s that good! From the delicious Malay roti, murtabak and teh tarik, to the delights of Chinese Hokkienese cooking (curry mee, laksa, har mee, and ais kechang for dessert) and the spice and flavour of Indian cuisine, you just can’t go wrong. If you need more convincing, check out the Penang food tour we did!

Malaysia has no shortage of good food

How to get there: various airlines will fly to Kuala Lumpur or other regional capitals. Having flown with Malaysia Airlines (MAS) before, I can recommend them and of course, it is Malaysia’s national carrier so you will get maximum reach to visit cool places such as Penang, Sarawak or the beautiful Sabah. What’s more, you can easily get favorable MAS online booking deals!

Street Art

If you love street art and street food, Penang is the destination for you. This little island off the coast of Malaysia has a plethora of amazing street art and delicious food for the foodie and art lover alike. In fact, I spent a whole weekend navigating my way around Penang’s capital, George Town from artwork to artwork (and street stall to street stall). As a massive fan of street art, it was the best way to explore the city.

Interactive Street Art in Penang, Malaysia

Want to see more Street Art? Check out our post on the amazing street art in Penang!

Most of my favourite murals in George Town were done by Lithuanian artist, Ernest “Zach” Zacharevic, called Malaysia’s answer to Banksy, who is a master of all artistic disciplines; be it installations, oil paintings, stencilling and sculptures.

Ernest Zacharevic Street Art, Penang, Malaysia


Kuala Lumpur is a shopaholic’s dream. For the high-end lovers, you’ve got plenty of opportunities to burn a hole in your pocket at the likes of Starhill Gallery, The Garden or Suria KLCC, located at the iconic Petronas Twin Towers. If you prefer to buy more and spend less, then you’ve got shopping centres like Berjaya Times Square that offer pop-up style stores that sell clothes at wholesale prices. Just be warned, these cheaper stores don’t offer many sizes, but if that’s not an issue, shop until your heart’s content. For the electronic lovers, Low Yat Plaza is where it’s at, and if shopping isn’t your thing, some of these mega malls even have ice-skating rinks, karaoke lounges, theatres and games arcades to fill your time.

Shopping at KLCC, Malaysia

Cultural attractions

Malaysia has a rich cultural tradition and it can seem like there is a Malay, Chinese or Indian festival or celebration occurring every weekend throughout the year. The best ones to catch are the Hari Raya Aidilfitri which follows Ramadan, Chinese New Year, Christmas and Thaipusam, a Hindu festival held at the Batu caves.

Chinese New Year in Malaysia is a special time of year


It’s hard to imagine that you can find serene rainforests and inviting waterfalls only 30 minutes from bustling Kuala Lumpur, but it’s true. One of the great things about Malaysia, as a whole, is that nature is within a short drive from major cities. If you like seeing monkeys, then a visit to Batu Caves won’t disappoint. Just make sure you hang onto all of your belongings, as these critters are the best (and cheekiest) thieves around!

Natural beauty of Malaysia
Plenty of monkey sightings in Malaysia

Breathtaking views

Get to top of Kuala Lumpur’s high rises to get the most amazing views of the city at night. I mean, where else can you find a converted helicopter pad turned rooftop bar! At the Heli Lounge Bar, set on the 34th floor of the Menara KH building, of course. A few options: Marini’s on 57 sits right next to the Petronas Towers and consequently has dazzling views to offer. If a western style hotel bar on the 33rd floor is more your style, then SkyBar at the Trader’s Hotel may be more to your liking.

And if you are more of a nature lover, the views from the Langkawi SkyCab will definitely take your breath away. If you aren’t afraid of heights, take a walk along the SkyBridge – the longest free span and curved bridge in the world and enjoy the views from 100m off the ground.

Amazing views from Langkawi's SkyBridge, Malaysia


The variety of architecture in Malaysia is bound to keep you interested. The dazzling, modernist glory of the Petronas Towers are merely the tip of the iceberg for what you can find in Malaysia. The stunning architecture of the Federal Territory mosque (Selamat Datang Ke Masjid Wilayah) is a stand out, as are the archways of the Masjid Jamek. The Kuala Lumpur town hall, with its unique colonialist/Islamic architecture and Georgetown’s historic British buildings are taken right from the 19th century and give the town a laid back feel.

Federal Territory Mosque, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Friendly locals

You will find so many fun and generous people in Malaysia. Like the tuk-tuk driver that showed us around Penang and imitated the art for us above – a regular Bruce Lee! The people are friendly, kind and generous and we got by in English just fine as well.

Friendly locals in Malaysia


Malaysia’s cultural diversity is its strength and Indian, Chinese and Malay cultures mix into one of the most interesting societies in South-East Asia. This multiculturalism bleeds into everything – food, traditions, architecture, etc and makes it that much better. Essentially you will get the best of Malay, Chinese and Indian cultures all in one society!

We hope that we have convinced you on why you should visit Malaysia. From the food, to the architecture, to the culture – how could you say no? Where would you go? What are you waiting for, use Traveloka and start planning your trip to Malaysia with ease now!

Beaches of Malaysia

Have you been to Malaysia? Have we left anything off the list? Let us know below!

Robot Restaurant Review

Robot Restaurant Review

If you didn’t think the neon lights of Tokyo could shine any brighter, then you haven’t been to Robot Restaurant. You can see the neon signs, wrapped around the building from a block away. Like a magnet, Robot Restaurant draws all the curious explorers in, with its catchy theme song (that’s right, there’s a theme song and it WILL get stuck in your head!) blaring from the speakers, colourful lights flashing and lighting up the street, oh and the huge fembots proudly displayed at the front.

Nightlife in Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan
What to see in Tokyo

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Robot Restaurant Tokyo review
Fembots at Robot Restaurant

What is Robot Restaurant?

If you are in Shinjuku, it’s hard to miss Robot Restaurant. The best way to describe Robot Restaurant is a cabaret show on LSD; 90 minutes (including intervals) of short 5-minute acts filled with dancing, singing, theatrics, laser lights and pyrotechnics.

Singing, dancing and theatrics at Robot Restaurant

Prefer to watch a video of the craziness that is Robot Restaurant? Check out our video on YouTube! Don’t forget to like the video and subscribe to our channel for more travel inspiration!

Opened in 2012, Robot Restaurant was originally created as a fun show for where locals can let down their hair. It didn’t take long to become a popular tourist attraction, and now attracts foreign visitors every night. Apparently the owner spent US$100 million on fit out, which is hard to put into words (nevertheless, money well spent, judging by the sell-out crowds!). The stairwells and “waiting room” are a spectacle in their own right and will intrigue all who enter. I’m talking over-the-top bling with futuristic elements and crazy pyschodelic stairwells that entice the audience to the stage underground. I felt like we had stepped into some crazy world of Willy Wonka, but with robots instead of candy.

The coolest waiting room you'll ever visit - Robot Restaurant
Even the walls are funky at Robot Restaurant, Tokyo
Dancers at Robot Restaurant, Japan

The craziest concert you will ever see

As soon as we booked our tickets to Japan, I knew we HAD to go see Robot Restaurant – and I wasn’t disappointed. Robot Restaurant is unlike any other show we’ve ever seen. It’s all the crazy stuff I love about Japan, wrapped into one colourful and eccentric package. The audience is seated in three tiers on two sides of a narrow room. It’s great, as no matter what row you are in, you will have a great view of the action. The seats are set in twos, joined by a small table, where you can store your drinks, popcorn and bento boxes (all at an extra cost).

Robots and lasers at Robot Restaurant, Japan
Robot Restaurant review - Tokyo, Japan

The performances range from mini rock concerts to theatrical robot wars. The singers and dancers have so much energy (I want whatever they’re having!) and the costumes are something out of a teenage boy’s manga dream. You can expect to see impressive robotic floats of sharks, dinosaurs, snakes and futuristic unicorns. Pyrotechnics and laser beams light up the space, and there’s even a dance number that I’m sure was inspired by Daft Punk.

It's all fun and games until someone is eaten by a Robot

Want to do other crazy things in Tokyo? Why not Fight a Sumo? Read about it here!

Crazy things to see in Tokyo, Japan
Electric performances at Robot Restaurant, Tokyo

It’s a Restaurant, so what about the food?

To be honest, people don’t generally come here for the food. Considering there are so many amazing foods on offer nearby, we decided to skip the food and just indulged in some show drinks and popcorn instead. I think I spotted one couple with the bento box, but it’s quite hard to truly enjoy the food, when you are distracted by the awesome spectacle going on right in front of you.

Robot Restaurant Review, Tokyo, Japan

Speaking of food, why not try making your own Udon Noodles? Read our recipe here!

The dancers at Robot Restaurant are full of energy

Why go?

Unlike many of the themed cafes and restaurants in Japan, Robot Restaurant stood out as a ‘must-do’ for us. Granted, the tickets aren’t as cheap as many of the entry fees for other themed places, but you get 90-minutes of an exhilarating, well-produced show. It’s over the top, tourisy and a little cheesy at times, but that’s part of its charm! It combines all the craziness you expect from Japan, right in the centre of Tokyo electrifying nightlife.

Taiko performances at Robot Restaurant

The details

Robot Restaurant is located in Shinjuku: 1-7-1 Kabukicho, Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo,Japan. It’s pretty hard to miss, with the bright neon signage out the front (you will likely hear it before you see it too!).

There are up to four shows per day at 4PM, 5:55pm, 7:50pm and 9:45pm. See the website for up-to-date times. Note that you have to be there 40 minutes before the show to pick up the tickets (and there’s normally a decent line).

Tickets are ¥8,000 per person, however we’ve teamed up with G’Day Japan to offer all of our readers discounted tickets here!  We recommend booking in advance, as the shows often sell out.

Colourful performances at Robot Restaurant
Robot Restaurant is a must-see in Tokyo, Japan
Robot Restaurant performances, Tokyo, Japan

Have you been to Robot Restaurant? What did you think? Is this the kind of crazy thing you’d love to see in Japan? Comment below!

A huge thanks to Robot Restaurant and G’Day Japan for an awesome night! As always, our opinions are our own.

The Ultimate way to explore Kyoto… in a Kimono

The Ultimate way to explore Kyoto… in a Kimono

Couples who kimono together, stay together, right?

Kyoto is known for its exquisite temples and beautifully adorned geishas, dressed in colourful kimonos and yukatas (a lighter and cooler version of the kimono for summer). It also happens to be somewhere where it’s completely normal for tourists to dress up in said kimonos and yukatas and wander the city. Not one to ever turn down an opportunity to play dress up, I was excited to be made over by Kyoto Kimono Wargo in a yukata and walk the walk, clogs and all!

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Kimono love in Kyoto
What to do in Kyoto

Seeing the sights and being the sights in Kyoto

Although somewhat gimmicky, renting a kimono, or in our case a yukata, and doing sightseeing is a fun way to explore Kyoto. It gave us the opportunity to really embrace a part of Japanese culture. There is something undeniably romantic about wandering through picturesque streets, lined with traditional wooden merchant houses in full Japanese dress-up. It’s a perfect way to immersive yourself and find a connection to the place. And before you know it, you are part of the sights, and for many passers by, the perfect feature in their keepsake Kyoto photos.

Kyoto kimono photos

Heading to Japan soon?

Check out our checklist of things to do before you go!

Where to hire a Kimono / Yukata

Kyoto Kimono Wargo conveniently have nine stores spotted around Kyoto, and also stores in Tokyo, Osaka, Kanagawa and Kanazawa. We visited the Gion store in Kyoto, as it was only a 5-minute walk from where we were staying. It also happens to be located near Hanamikoji Dori, one of the prettiest streets in Kyoto (and Geisha central).

Colourful yukatas in Kyoto

Kyoto Kimono Wargo

Walking inside, we are greeted by very friendly staff and shown to the racks of colourful yukatas. Suddenly I was engulfed in a textile rainbow of colour and floral patterns. After choosing a yukata, we are presented with an array of bright obi (the fabric belt) and accessories before being taken to our change rooms to be dressed.

Kyoto Kimono Wargo Gion
Hiring kimonos and accessories in Kyoto
Kimono packages in Kyoto, Japan
Renting a yukata in Kyoto, Japan

Wearing the Yukata

There’s actually quite a bit to wearing a kimono or yukata, with layers of undergarments and special ways of tying everything together. I was wrapped with padding around my stomach (like I needed more!) and a frame before the yukata was added and the obi was meticulously tied in a way to look like a work of art. It felt like I was being wrapped up as a present with the bow on top!

Dressing up in Kyoto

Hair Styling

Then comes the hair styling. You can opt for a hairstyle as an extra, and if you want the full experience, it’s worth it. There are plenty of intricate styles to choose from, and the stylist whipped up something gorgeous in a matter of minutes!

Hairstyle options in kimono rental
Yukata and Kimono packages, Kyoto

Package options

Kyoto Kimono Wargo provide a variety of options to cater to different budgets and tastes, starting from only ¥2,500 (online price). We opted for the Couples Premium Yukata (with the Premium Hairdo as an extra) and really enjoyed the experience. Each yukata plan includes the Yukata, Obi (belt), Kincyaku (bag) and Geta (thongs/clogs).

Rental packages for yukata and kimono
Step out in style in a yukata
The thing I loved about Kyoto Kimono Wargo is that you can return the clothes at any time before the store closes, so you can really make the most of wearing the yukatas around town… which we did…
Riding pubic transport in a yukata be like...
Where to visit in Kyoto
Sightseeing in Kyoto in kimonos
Dressing up in Kyoto
We caught a bus out to Kinkaku-ji (the Golden Pavilion) and walked through the beautiful grounds before heading back to Nishiki Market for lunch. Then we spent the rest of the day wandering through the picturesque streets of Gion at leisure, but not before taking some fun photos…
Who else loves Kyoto?
Sightseeing in Gion, Kyoto
Exploring the Gion district, Kyoto

Is it comfy?

Honestly, it was comfier than I expected. It was a steamy summer day in Kyoto and the yukatas were light and breathable. We also did A LOT of walking, so our feet were sore by the end of the day (but whether or not it was from wearing the Geta, or just the 24,000 steps we did, I can’t say).


Japan has some of THE tastiest food!

Here’s what to eat when you are there!

We saw so many tourists dress up in kimonos and yukatas when we were in Kyoto, almost to the point that tourists stood out more if they weren’t dressed up! It’s especially fun to do as a couple or group of friends. I mean, nothing says ‘I love you’ more than dressing up in couples kimonos and spending a day exploring Kyoto’s beautiful sites and having a bit of fun along the way. If you are in Kyoto and want to really treat yourself to a cultural experience, check out Kyoto Kimono Wargo.

The ultimate way to explore Kyoto
Kimono rental in Kyoto, Japan
Exploring Kyoto in a kimono

Would you dress up in traditional costume and explore a city? Tell us below!

A warm thank you to Kyoto Kimono Wargo for dressing us up for the day. As always, our opinions and cheesy photos are our own.

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