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South Korea &...

South Korea & Japan: Seoul to Tokyo

15 days |  19 days with Hokkaido & Tokyo extension
15 days |  19 days with Hokkaido & Tokyo extension
Group size1535 travelers
Physical activity
OverviewItineraryDates & pricesReviewsHotels, flights & FAQ
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Two sought-after countries. Twice the cultural cachet.

On the global pop culture scene, South Korea’s star has steadily risen in recent years. That’s thanks in part to sensationally popular Korean TV shows and films, foods, beauty trends, and pop bands that have taken the world by storm—and piqued travelers’ curiosity about the country in the process. Korea’s easterly neighbor, Japan, offers up rich history, cultural immersion, and impeccable hospitality that’s always in high demand. Spend two weeks getting to know these neighboring Asian nations, from their neon-lit cities to their rural villages to their serene, natural landscapes. If you want to venture a little farther off the beaten path, extend your tour and explore Hokkaido, Japan’s mountainous, northernmost island.

Your tour package includes

  • 13 nights in handpicked hotels
  • 13 breakfasts
  • 2 lunches
  • 4 dinners with beer or wine
  • 1 tasting
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Included highlights

  • Gyeongbokgung Palace in Seoul
  • Visiting with Buddhist monks at Bulguksa Temple
  • UN Memorial Cemetery in Busan
  • Gamcheon Culture Village in Busan
  • Kushida-jinja Shrine in Fukuoka
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Day-by-day itinerary

Print itinerary
Overnight Flight1 night
Day 1: Travel day

Board your overnight flight to Seoul today.

Seoul3 nights
Day 2: Arrival in Seoul

Welcome to South Korea! Settle in to your hotel this evening.

Day 3: Sightseeing tour of Seoul
Included meals: Breakfast, Tasting, Welcome lunch

Meet up with your local guide and get to know South Korea’s capital city, Seoul. Situated in the northwestern reaches of South Korea, the thriving metropolis is home to modern skyscrapers, ornate Buddhist temples, grand palaces, and nearly 10 million residents. It’s also the perfect place to experience many of the fun and dynamic Korean cultural trends—from K-pop music to novelty foods—that have flourished around the world throughout the last decade.

  • Step inside the 14th-century, 7,700-room Gyeongbokgung Palace, which was built by King Taejo and is widely considered the most beautiful of Seoul’s five grand palaces
  • Watch the Palace Royal Guard Changing Ceremony, a reenactment of the guard-changing procedure that took place during the Joseon dynasty; the ceremony features colorful reproduction costumes, as well as instruments and weapons, based on historical records
  • Visit the National Folk Museum of Korea to learn about traditional ways of life, which are rapidly disappearing as a result of modernization and urbanization
  • Enter bustling Gwangjang Market, the city’s oldest traditional market, where you’ll find everything from street food to silks to hanbok—traditional Korean clothing whose origins date back more than 2,000 years
  • Enjoy a tasting of the market’s not-to-be-missed street food, followed by free time to shop and explore on your own
  • Get to know your fellow travelers over an included welcome lunch, served with beer or wine

Enjoy a free evening in Seoul or add an excursion.

Kimchi-Making Class & Dinner

From $149 per person

Day 4: Free day in Seoul
Included meal: Breakfast

Enjoy a free day in Seoul or add an excursion.

History of the Korean War: DMZ Visit

From $115 per person

Gyeongju1 night
Day 5: Train ride to Gyeongj & Bulguksa Temple visit
Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Board a high-speed bullet train bound for the city of Gyeongju. Often referred to as the “museum without walls,” Gyeongju is home to several impressive archaeological sites and three UNESCO World Heritage sites.

  • Climb aboard your coach for a short transfer to Bulguksa Temple; the treasured head temple of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism was established on the slopes of Mount Toham in the eighth century
  • Explore the temple with a monk as your guide, then choose to make prayer beads or a lotus flower lantern

Sit down with your group this evening for an included dinner served with beer or wine.

Busan2 nights
Day 6: Daereungwon Tomb Complex, transfer to Busan & UN Memorial Cemetery
Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Spend the morning exploring the Daereungwon Tomb Complex, the final resting place of nobility of the Silla Kingdom, or Golden Kingdom, which ruled from 57 B.C.–935 A.D. You’ll have a chance to enter one of its burial mounds and view some of the 11,000 artifacts and royal crowns that showcase the lavish lifestyles of Korean royalty.

Later, travel to the mountainous, seaside city of Busan, where you’ll visit the United Nations Memorial Cemetery. Learn about the history and impact of the Korean War, and pay your respects to those buried in the cemetery.

Enjoy an included dinner this evening served with beer or wine.

Day 7: Sightseeing tour of Busan
Included meal: Breakfast

Meet up with a local guide to explore Busan, a dynamic port city at the southern tip of the Korean Peninsula. Home to roughly 3.5 million people, Busan is the country’s second-largest city. Here, visitors will find a little bit of everything, from bustling city streets to scenic beaches to excellent restaurants.

  • Pass through the heart of the city to popular Yongdusan Park and make a photo stop at its nearly 400-foot-tall Busan Tower, which features an observation deck and cafe
  • Travel to colorful Gamcheon Culture Village and learn how it evolved from a downtrodden destination for Korean War refugees to a must-see destination known for its colorful dwellings and labyrinthine alleyways
  • Head back to the city and visit the vast Jagalchi Fish Market, whose vendors sell just about every kind of fish and seafood imaginable
  • Enjoy free time for shopping and lunch along Gwangbok-dong Cultural & Fashion Street, whose shops sell everything from bargain finds to luxury goods

Busan Harbor Cruise & Korean Barbecue Dinner

From $149 per person

Fukuoka2 nights
Day 8: Flight to Fukuoka & sightseeing tour
Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Today, fly to Fukuoka, the largest city on Japan’s Kyushu Island. Then, join a local guide for a tour of the city, which was formed in 1889 when the castle town of Fukuoka and the port city of Hakata merged.

  • Visit the eighth-century Kushida-jinja Shrine, whose highlights include a fountain where people pray for eternal youth
  • Learn about the shrine’s famous Hakata Gion Yamakasa Festival, which takes place every July and culminates with residents of seven Hakata neighborhoods racing beautifully decorated floats along a three-mile course through the city
  • Wander along the Naka River to Nakasu, a small island packed with stalls selling street foods such as Hakata ramen and yakitori

Head to a local restaurant this evening for an included dinner, served with beer or wine.

Day 9: Sightseeing tour of Nagasaki
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Travel to Nagasaki this morning and meet up with your local guide. Set out to explore the area, which was Japan’s early gateway to trade with the West, as well as the target of an atomic bombing by the United States in 1945. Today, the area’s unspoiled beaches and islands attract swimmers, divers, and sea kayakers.

  • Visit Nagasaki Peace Park, which serves as both a symbol of hope and a reminder of the horrors of war
  • Explore the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum’s exhibits, which shed light on the city’s devastating history and post-war life
  • Sit down for an included lunch this afternoon at a local restaurant
  • Set off on a walking tour through the city, including its cosmopolitan center, as well as historic neighborhoods, like Dejima, which was constructed in the 17th century as a man-made island to segregate Portuguese residents from the Japanese population
Kyoto2 nights
Day 10: Train to Kyoto & sightseeing tour
Included meal: Breakfast

Board a high-speed bullet train to Kyoto this morning. Then, get to know the city that served as the capital of Japan for more than 1,000 years and is still considered its spiritual capital.

  • Start in western Kyoto’s historic Arashiyama district, which is known for its temples, shrines, and stunning natural beauty
  • Step inside the UNESCO-listed Tenryū-ji temple, which was originally constructed in the 12th century and is considered one of Kyoto’s most important sites
  • Wander through the famous and photogenic Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, whose towering, 160-foot-tall bamboo stalks flank a singular pathway
  • Take in views of the rolling, tree-covered hills that surround the Hozu River
  • Cross the wooden Togetsukyo Bridge, which was originally built more than 1,200 years ago and stretches nearly 170 feet across a river that’s known as the Hozu to the west and the Katsura to the east
  • See the famous, 14th-century Kinkaku-ji temple, widely known as the Golden Pavilion, which sits at the edge of a tranquil reflecting pond and is a UNESCO World Heritage site
Day 11: Free day in Kyoto
Included meal: Breakfast

Enjoy a free day in Kyoto or add an excursion.

Fushimi Inari Walking Tour & Tea Ceremony

From $89 per person

Tokyo3 nights
Day 12: Train to Tokyo & sightseeing tour
Included meal: Breakfast

Board a high-speed bullet train to Tokyo, then spend the afternoon exploring Japan’s bustling capital with your Tour Director leading the way. Ancient shrines and temples, peaceful parks, and modern skyscrapers make up the tapestry of the city, which is home to nearly 14 million people.

  • Snap photos of the Imperial Palace, which occupies the site of the original Edo Castle and is home to Japan’s emperor; its impressive grounds feature moats and massive, stone walls
  • Pass through the Shinjuku District, a major hub for shopping and nightlife with neon signs as far as the eye can see
  • Ride an elevator to the top of the Metropolitan Building—a soaring structure with twin towers and observation decks—to enjoy bird’s-eye views of the city
Day 13: Sightseeing tour of Tokyo
Included meal: Breakfast

Join a local guide and get to know more of Tokyo, from its historic past to its vibrant present.

  • Drive through central Tokyo to iconic Shibuya crossing and snap photos of the world’s busiest crosswalk—some 3,000 people cross from all directions simultaneously during rush hour—from an elevated viewing point
  • Stop inside Shibuya Station to view “The Myth of Tomorrow,” Japanese artist Tarō Okamoto’s famous 1960s mural that depicts the explosion of an atomic bomb
  • Drive to Yoyogi Park—one of the city’s biggest public parks—and take a short walk to Meiji Imperial Shrine, the final resting place of Emperor Meiji
  • Stroll through the colorful Harajuku neighborhood, where Tokyo’s history and present-day pop culture intertwine
  • Explore Tokyo’s old town, including the ancient Asakusa Kannon Temple, the city’s oldest and most sacred temple
  • Peruse a vibrant variety of handmade crafts and local fare at the centuries-old Nakamise Shopping Arcade

Enjoy a free afternoon in Tokyo or add an excursion.

Japanese Cooking Class & Dinner

From $119 per person

Day 14: Free day in Tokyo
Included meals: Breakfast, Farewell dinner

Enjoy a free day in Tokyo or add an excursion.

Celebrate your trip during a farewell dinner this evening, served with beer or wine.

Aokigahara Forest & Mount Fuji

From $89 per person

Flight Home
Day 15: Departure
Included meal: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport to board your flight home, or choose to continue your adventure with a visit to Hokkaido.

Extension to Hokkaido & Tokyo
Thanks to its rugged, mountainous landscapes, Hokkaido—Japan’s northernmost island—is sometimes called “the Montana of Japan.” In the island’s capital city, Sapporo, slurp bowlfuls of savory ramen (the iconic dish originated here) and wander among manicured rows of trees in a rambling city park. In the harbor city of Otaru, cruise through placid canals, get a behind-the-scenes look at how Japanese whiskey and sake are made, and raise a toast to your trip with a taste of the velvety smooth spirits. Then, enjoy more time in Tokyo before heading home.
Sapporo3 nights
Day 15: Flight to Sapporo
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Today, fly to Sapporo—the capital of Japan’s mountainous Hokkaido island and one of the country’s youngest major cities (in 1857, its population clocked in at a mere seven people). The city also played host to the Olympics in 1972. Spend the afternoon exploring the city alongside your Tour Director.

  • Enjoy a comforting bowl of Sapporo’s famous ramen—the iconic Japanese noodle soup originated here—during an included lunch
  • Walk through Odori Park—the sprawling green space separates the city into north and south—and view the iconic Sapporo TV tower, which dates back to the 1950s
  • Pass Sapporo’s clock tower and Hokkaido Government Office, an imperial brick building set in a scenic park
Day 16: Sightseeing tour of Otaru & sake brewery
Included meals: Breakfast, Liquor tasting

Travel to the charming harbor city of Otaru. Here, you’ll take a short walking tour alongside your Tour Director, cruise along the city’s canals, and enjoy free time to explore at your own pace.

Later, visit a sake brewery in Otaru, where you’ll learn about the tradition of sake making and taste some of the locally produced fermented rice alcohol.

Day 17: Free day in Sapporo
Included meal: Breakfast

Enjoy a free day in Sapporo or add an excursion.

Volcanic Hokkaido

From $95 per person

Tokyo1 night
Day 18: Flight to Tokyo
Included meal: Breakfast

Board a flight back to Tokyo and transfer to your hotel. Enjoy free time for the rest of the day or add an excursion.

Tokyo Dinner & Karaoke

From $99 per person

Flight Home
Day 19: Departure
Included meal: Breakfast

Enjoy a free morning in Tokyo. Then, transfer to the airport to board your flight home.

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Hotels, flights & FAQ

Here's the nitty-gritty—where you’ll stay, how you’ll get there, and what to know about your destination before you go.


We handpick every hotel to strike the balance of comfort, location, and local charm. Specific accommodations will vary based on your departure date, but these are frequently used hotels for this tour and we're confident you'll be satisfied.
Courtyard by Marriott Seoul Namdaemun
Courtyard by Marriott Seoul Namdaemun

This downtown hotel is located in Seoul’s vibrant Myeongdong district. Guests enjoy the fitness center, city views, and on-site cafe. Nearby you’ll fi...

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Commodore Hotel Gyeongju
Commodore Hotel Gyeongju

This grand hotel is located in historic city of Gyeongju. Guests enjoy the beautifully manicured gardens, outdoor pools, and on-site coffee house. Nea...

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Ramada Encore by Wyndham Busan Haeundae
Ramada Encore by Wyndham Busan Haeundae

This contemporary hotel is located a few minutes walk from Busan’s beautiful Haeundae Beach. Guests enjoy the fitness center, spacious rooms, and on-s...

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Kyoto Yura Hotel MGallery
Kyoto Yura Hotel MGallery

This boutique hotel is located the vibrant Sanjo district of Kyoto. Guests enjoy the thoughtfully designed décor, on-site restaurant, and the 1867 bar...

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Grand Nikko Tokyo Daiba
Grand Nikko Tokyo Daiba

This comfortable hotel is located on Odaiba Island, Tokyo. Guests enjoy a fitness center, restaurant, and room service. Nearby, you’ll find Pallete To...

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Hakata Excel Hotel Tokyu
Hakata Excel Hotel Tokyu

This modern hotel is located in Fukuoka’s Nakasu neighborhood. Guests enjoy the on-site restaurant and tea lounge, as well as Tempur-pedic pillows. Ne...

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Sapporo Excel Hotel Tokyu
Sapporo Excel Hotel Tokyu

This centrally located hotel is in the heart of Sapporo. Guests enjoy the two different restaurants featuring Western and Japanese cuisine, bike renta...

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Round-trip flights are one more thing we handle to make your journey as smooth as possible. Our team of travel experts will find the best flight itinerary for you at a competitive rate, thanks to our partnerships with top airlines.
Add our airfare package and you'll get:
  • Round-trip flight for your tour
  • Airport transfers at your destination
  • A great price locked in today
  • 24/7 support from our dedicated service team
  • Options for arriving early, staying longer, or requesting an upgrade
  • Flexible rebooking options if your tour itinerary changes
  • Find out more about flights


Print FAQ
Passport, visa & entry requirements
  • In order to enter South Korea and Japan, U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport with an expiration date extending at least six months beyond the date of return.
  • We recommend having at least two blank passport pages for entry stamps.
  • U.S. and Canadian passport holders must purchase an individual visa from the South Korean government’s Electronic Travel Authority website prior to departure.
  • If you are not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact South Korea’s and Japan’s consulates for your specific entry requirements.
  • You can see the most up-to-date entry requirements for the destination(s) you’ll visit on tour by going to and searching the code SKJ.
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Tour pacing & mobility
  • You will walk for about 2.5 hours daily across mostly flat terrain, including paved roads and gravel paths, with few hills. You may need to climb stairs when visiting temples.
  • Travelers should be healthy enough to participate in all included walks without assistance. Adding optional excursions may increase the total amount of walking on your tour.
  • You should feel comfortable managing your own baggage at times, as well as getting in and out of trains and small boats.
  • Go Ahead Tours and the Tour Directors who accompany your group are unable to provide special, individual mobility assistance to travelers on tour. The responsibility of the Tour Directors is to ensure the group as a whole enjoys a relaxing and informative journey, and they cannot be relied upon to provide ongoing, individualized assistance to any one traveler.
  • If you have any mobility concerns or physical restrictions, please contact our Customer Experience Team.
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Tour Director
  • You will have two separate Tour Directors on this tour: one in South Korea and another in Japan.
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Transportation & arrival information
  • Round-trip flights booked through Go Ahead Tours arrive in Seoul and depart from Tokyo. A representative from Go Ahead Tours will meet you at the airport and take you to your hotel. Please remain in the arrival lounge, as the representative might be escorting one of your fellow travelers to the bus at the time of your arrival.
  • Transfers to and from the airport at your destination are included for travelers who have purchased their flights through Go Ahead Tours. Travelers who purchase their own flights may request airport transfers with Go Ahead Tours for an additional cost.
  • High-speed train transfers from Seoul to Gyeongju, Fukuoka to Kyoto, and Kyoto to Tokyo, as well as a flight from Busan to Fukuoka, are included in the price of your tour. The tour extension also includes a round-trip flight between Tokyo and Sapporo.
  • All other included transportation on this tour is by private motor coach.
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Baggage allowance
  • Please note that our travelers are limited to one checked bag and one carry-on bag per person due to storage limitations on motor coaches and other transfers, which may include train connections or flights.
  • Contact your airline(s) for baggage size and weight restrictions for your flights, which may include on-tour flights in addition to your round-trip flights to and from tour. Please note that your included on-tour flights may have more restrictive baggage limits.
  • Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage or exceed baggage size and weight restrictions. Be advised that you are responsible for any baggage fees incurred on all flights.
  • Make sure you label your baggage and keep valuables, medication, and documents in your carry-on bag.
  • Travelers may only bring personal items or carry-on sized luggage on the train transfers. Any large-checked luggage will be transferred for you from Fukuoka to Kyoto and from Kyoto to Tokyo directly.
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Clothing & packing tips
  • We recommend packing lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that can be easily layered to accommodate varying temperatures, as well as a light jacket or rainwear.
  • A sturdy pair of walking shoes or sneakers is recommended for sightseeing.
  • You may want to pack dressier attire if you plan to visit a high-end restaurant or attend a special performance.
  • It is preferable not to visit temples or other religious sites with bare legs and shoulders (and entrance may be denied on this basis).
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  • At least 60 days prior to departure, check with your doctor or healthcare provider for the latest updates and entry requirements, or visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at
  • If you have medication that you take daily, be sure you have enough for each day of the tour as well as any possible delays encountered.
  • If you have dietary restrictions and/or food allergies please notify Go Ahead Tours at least 30 days prior to your departure by logging in to your account and updating your traveler info. To update this information closer to your departure date, please call our Customer Experience Team.
  • You can see the most up-to-date entry requirements for the destination(s) you’ll visit on tour by going to and searching the code SKJ.
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  • In South Korea, typical foods include rice, noodles, kimchi (a traditional Korean side dish made from fermented cabbage, radish, or cucumber and seasoned with ingredients like fish sauce and chili flakes), and bulgogi—a popular Korean barbecue dish.
  • Most Japanese meals are based around rice or noodles with fish, meat, and vegetables flavored with soy sauce and miso. You may recognize popular dishes like sushi, tempura, and hot pot.
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Electricity & air conditioning
  • Japan operates on 100 volts and uses a Type A plug, the same as in the U.S.
  • South Korea operates on 220 volts and uses Type C and F plugs.
  • The strength of the air conditioning in Asian hotels is often not as strong or as cool as what one might be used to in the U.S. or Canada. When air conditioning is available, it is usually regulated seasonally and controlled centrally by the hotel.
  • Your hotels may provide hairdryers, irons, and other small appliances. However, these amenities cannot be guaranteed.
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  • Wi-Fi is available in most hotels, though some charges may apply.
  • There is no Wi-Fi on any of the motor coaches.
  • Please contact your mobile service provider for information on roaming charges.
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Time zones
  • All destinations visited are 13 hours ahead of Eastern Time (ET).
  • When it’s noon in New York, it’s 1am on the following day on tour.
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  • You will use the the Korean won in South Korea and the Japanese yen in Japan.
  • Better rates of exchange are usually available overseas, although it’s worth ordering some currency from your local bank to use when you first arrive.
  • We strongly advise that you take debit/bank cards and credit cards, which can be used to withdraw cash at local banks as needed.
  • You can use most debit/credit cards at ATMs on the international networks Cirrus and Plus, but make sure to check with your home bank about withdrawal fees.
  • Inform your bank and credit card company of your travel plans so that they won’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges.
  • International banks and businesses primarily accept debit and credit cards that work with the EMV chip system. If you do not already have at least one debit or credit card with a chip in it, we strongly recommend requesting one from your bank prior to your tour.
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  • At the conclusion of your tour, it’s customary to offer your Tour Director and driver a gratuity in local currency. Please keep current exchange rates in mind.
  • We recommend tipping the equivalent of $8USD to $10USD per person per day for your Tour Director and the equivalent of $3USD per person per day for your driver.
  • If applicable, we also recommend the equivalent of $2USD per local guide.
  • Tips can only be paid in cash.
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Purchasing excursions on tour
  • Most optional excursions will be available for purchase while you are on tour.
  • Your Tour Director will only accept cash (in USD only), Visa, or MasterCard as payment for excursions.
  • Please be advised that if you pay for an excursion by credit card while on tour, it may take up to three months for your card to be charged.
  • Some optional excursions may only be purchased in advance. See page four of your tour itinerary for more information. International travel is, by its very nature, unpredictable. We must therefore reserve the right to change this itinerary, without advance notice, to meet with local conditions at the time of travel. We appreciate your understanding. Please refer to our website for Terms & Conditions, dates, and prices.
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