Hopefully there's time for dance rehearsal on the plane.

The delegation to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Whanganui's sister-city relationship with Nagaizumi-cho is on its way to Japan.

With a few already over there the majority gathered at Whanganui Airport on Wednesday afternoon to head off on the week-long trip.

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"It's exciting," Whanganui mayor Hamish McDouall said.

"Its great to be heading over there to honour such an enduring relationship."

Whanganui and Nagaizumi-cho signed a sister cities agreement in 1988 and McDouall was pleased with the extras who had decided to join the official delegation.

Seven form the official delegation with about 10 others paying their own way.

"It's really great, a good number, and also widespread from the community... And Mum, so it'll be really cool," McDouall said.

"I'm looking forward to the actual festival, the Waku Waku Festival, where we'll all be dressing up in T-shirts and doing some dance which we haven't rehearsed for yet.

"We'll really see Nagaizumi at its best."

There will be an opportunity to present information about education opportunities in Whanganui and New Zealand.

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The trip will cost ratepayers about $15,000 in airfares with Nagaizumi-cho paying for accommodation, internal travel and food.

The official delegation includes mayor Hamish McDouall, council chief executive Kym Fell, Whanganui & Partners general manager Phillipa Ivory, New Zealand International Pilot Academy chief executive Phillip Bedford, council principal adviser corporate Marianne Cavanagh, councillor Rob Vinsen and former sister cities co-ordinator Malcolm Hunt.