If you’ve long wanted to emBARK on a pilgrimage to Japan meet the real-life Shiba Inu mutt that inspired the popular Doge meme and meme coin Dogecoin… then you’re possibly a little loopy, frankly.

But that’s okay, this is crypto. If you can’t make it seem vaguely reasonable in this investment space to make your life’s focus a short meeting with an old dog in a far off land, then where else can you? (Answer: nowhere.)

The people behind this event, including “Tridog” (who emailed Coinhead about all of this) are all about the dog and the meme itself first, but are clearly into crypto, too. They’re known by the collective Own the Doge, which is affiliated with the DAO (decentralised autonomous organisation) communities PleasrDAO and Doge DAO.

We’ll get to that in a sec, but here’s what they’ve got organised… in their own words:

“Are you a fan of the internet sensation, Doge? Do you want to meet the adorable doge in person and click a selfie with her? Well, you’re in luck! Own The Doge presents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to go on a trip to Japan and meet the actual Doge!”

Once in a lifetime is probably right – because the dog itself (whose actual name is Kabosu) is 17 years old and there’s a fairly decent chance it could in doggy heaven before the plane even takes off for this expensive canine-themed adventure.

Source: meetthedoge.com

The Doge ‘pilgrimage’

It does sound kinda weirdly fun, though. The “pilgrimage” is a five-day trip to Japan and is, according to Own the Doge, not just about meeting the dog herself.

For US$4,200 (about AUD $6,270), from May 3 to 7, you’ll get to explore Japan’s culture, food, and entertainment, while staying in the “iconic Godzilla Hotel in Shinjuku (Hotel Gracery)”.

The itinerary includes a tour of Tokyo, a trip to the Hachiko Akita dog statue, the obligatory visit to a karaoke bar, sake drinking, and “other much WOW activities” such as go-karting through the city streets and a Geisha performance dinner. Oh, and a visit to the future site of a bronze statue of the Doge herself, for which the Doge DAO raised US$100k to erect in the city.

Not sure what the other crypto-loving specimens you’d be hanging out with will be like, but guess that’s the chance you take for something as bonkers as this. That said, one of them will be this bloke – “meme legend” and the tour’s honorary guest, Bad Luck Brian.

And that absolutely just sold you, didn’t it.

The tour’s main event, reads an Own the Doge Medium article, will be a day in Sakura hanging out with Kabosu the Doge and her owner, Atsuko Sato.

“You can walk the Doge, pet the Doge, take photos with the Doge, and see the site where Kabosu’s Bronze Statue will be erected. Never before have Doge fans been able to get up close and personal with the world’s favourite Shiba.”


Free ticket opportunity

One thing to note, we said it was expensive, and it absolutely is, but you do have a shot at a free ticket. If you’re interested in that, you’d probs best become highly interested in Doge, pretty quickly, though.

To buy a ticket (using $ETH, $USDC, Dogecoin ($DOGE) or $DOG, you can register your interest at meetthedoge.com, where you’ll be “screened” by the Own The Doge team via a short call.

To enter the free-ticket raffle, you’ll first need to own at least one Doge Pixel NFT to qualify, which you can mint or buy on the secondary market at a current floor price of 0.025 ETH (about US$43). The more of those you hold, writes the organisers, the higher your chances of winning.

There’s more info on how to enter the raffle here.


What the Fido is a Doge Pixel NFT?

There’s a story behind that, and it goes something like this… 

In 2021, Kabosu’s owner, Atsuko Sato, minted eight meme-inspiring original early 2010s photos of the dog on Ethereum as NFTs.

The most iconic of those snaps, entitled “Doge” (below), was bought by PleasrDAO at auction for a whopping 1696.9 ETH (US$4.8m at the time). It at once became the most valuable meme NFT and third-most expensive photo ever sold.

“Doge”: Source: ownthedoge.com

After the auction, PleasrDAO fractionalised The Doge NFT into a governance token called DOG, allowing anyone to own a slice of the meme and, according to Own The Doge, “a piece of Internet history”. 

The Doge DAO was then formed to “collectively manage the community fund and build The Doge ecosystem”.

Holders of $DOG can lock their tokens in order to mint the Doge Pixel NFTs. Doge Pixel holders also get access to various monthly perks and access to other mints, and airdrops.