Even though I’ve lived in Japan, the feeling I get when flying back into the country for my annual trip always gives me a rush. If you’ve ever traveled overseas, you know the feeling. It’s kind of like butterflies but with a lot of excitement.

My last flight to Japan left Gold Coast (Australia) and landed at Kansai International Airport near Osaka. This photo was snapped as the sun was setting and the plane was getting close to Japan.

Jetstar Flight To Osaka: Wing and Clouds
Above the clouds at sunset, approaching Osaka

Psychologists say that the planning and anticipation of a holiday is great for your happiness. Whenever I travel to Japan, I go through months of planning and different stages of happiness:

  • Travel wishlist: I keep a list of where I want to go, what I want to see and do, where I want to stay and how I want to travel. Browsing around the net for inspiration is a big motivator to save up the money I’ll need for the holiday.
  • Booking flights: I never jump straight in and buy tickets. Usually I’d be researching flight options months in advanced. The moment when I finally book the tickets is a special milestone. I’m locked in… Japan, here I come (again)!
  • Buying my JR Pass: Before buying the pass I always do my research and figure out if the Japan Rail Pass will actually be worth it. Sometimes I don’t move around the country too much, so it can be cheaper to pay for tickets in Japan.
  • Finishing the itinerary: I try not to plan every single hour of a trip, but I need to know where I’ll be each day. While finalising the itinerary I always daydream… what it will be like catching trains, visiting historic sites, devouring delicious food, meeting new people… and it always fills me with joy!
  • Booking hotels: Generally I book 7/10 nights in advanced, as long as I’m not traveling in a peak holiday period. I like the freedom of being able to go where ever I want, and it’s easy to find a capsule hotel or cheap business hotel at the last minute.
  • Departing the airport: This is it… checking in to the flight, going through customs and immigration. The plane awaits on the tarmac and I’m just hours from being in Japan.
  • On the flight: This is where the butterflies kick in! I’m almost there, and a few weeks of an awesome time in Japan are just moments away!
  • Landing in Japan and transit to the city: Both Kansai and Narita airports are out of the major cities. The trip to the city takes around an hour. I’m in Japan!

If you ever have any questions at all about traveling Japan, feel free to ask me using the contact or social links on japantravelmate.com.