Mecca. Bethlehem. The Wailing Wall. And now: Doge.
Zealous followers of Kabosu—the wide-eyed Shiba Inu featured in the original Doge meme, whose fluffy visage adorns the popular Dogecoin cryptocurrency birthed in that internet phenomenon’s wake—now have the opportunity to make the pilgrimage to the dog’s earthly residence in Sakura, Japan.
The trip comes courtesy of Own the Doge, a Doge-oriented NFT community backed by Doge DAO, a doge-focused decentralized autonomous organization (DAO)... itself born from PleasrDAO, a collection of NFT artists and collectors who pool their funds to acquire culturally relevant digital art.
“We think of Pleasr as The Louvre of the internet, and of Doge as her Mona Lisa,” tridog, a pseudonymous core contributor to Own the Doge and PleasrDAO member, told Decrypt.
Tridog, himself a strict adherent to D.O.G.E. thought (Do Only Good Everyday), visited 17-year-old Kabosu and her “hooman,” the Dogemother Atsuko Sato, a local kindergarten teacher, in Japan last fall. Forever changed by the encounter, tridog is now thrilled to be sharing his religious catharsis with select members of the Doge community.
“This pilgrimage… will explore the genesis of one of the greatest legends of internet history, and provide a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to go back to [Kabosu’s] roots in and around Tokyo, a place known for its wacky and wonderful happenings,” tridog said.
The trip, set to take place from May 3 to 7, will feature visits to dog-themed temples and statues in the Tokyo area, go-karting on city streets, and a Geisha performance dinner. Of course, it will also include a trip to the small city of Sakura, where lucky trip participants will meet the Doge, walk the Doge, pose for meme-reenactment photos with the Doge, and visit the future site of a bronze statue of the Doge—for which Doge DAO previously raised $100,000 to erect in the city.
Also joining revelers on their spiritual journey will be honorary pilgrimage guest Kyle Craven, aka Bad Luck Brian, subject of another iconic 2010s meme. Though Craven's face will likely be on display for most of the trip, those guests wishing to anonymously indulge in Doge revelry will be provided "Doge big heads," or Doge-themed masks to wear during the duration of the trip. ("We will def make this trip 'anon-frenly,'" tridog said.)
Anyone is able to apply to join the trip, though per Own the Doge, space has almost run out. On the trip’s application, would-be pilgrims are asked to reveal their true motivations for making the trek. To snap a photo with the Doge? To dine with the Doge’s human, Atsuko? Or perhaps to “shake the hand of Atsuko’s husband (finger featured in meme)”?
One lucky raffle winner, though, will have their $4,200 base trip fee plus airfare (up to $1,500) covered by Doge DAO. To enter, contestants must own at least one Doge Pixel NFT. What’s that, you ask? In 2021, PleasrDAO bought an NFT of the original Doge meme from Atsuko Sato for $4 million (much wow), then fractionalized it into billions of DOG tokens.
Individual pixels from that photo can now be owned for roughly $48 worth of DOG tokens apiece. And the more Doge Pixels a person owns, the higher their chances of winning the Doge pilgrimage raffle (although such fractionalizing and reselling of NFTs has been deemed potentially illegal by even vocally pro-crypto regulators).
Last month, PleasrDAO auctioned the couch from the original Doge meme to raise funds for humanitarian organization Save the Children. The couch fetched a price of 21 ETH, worth just shy of $35,000 at the time.