Okinawa = Japan + beaches = paradise. 🌴But rest assured, beaches aren’t the only heavenly thing in this Okinawa itinerary.

Okinawa-Drone-Shot-Beach-Okinawa-Itinerary

For someone who’s not a beach person, I ended up enjoying myself in Okinawa a lot more than I expected. As Japan’s southernmost prefecture, this sun-kissed island also runs by another name: the Hawaii of Japan. No prizes for guessing why.

Posing at a Boardwalk - Okinawa Itinerary

Yet, this paradisal island isn’t just about its beaches. A little online digging reveals that Okinawa has centuries of intriguing culture and history — far different from the Japanese mainland — that makes it worth visiting.

For example, Okinawans have different dietary preferences (e.g. pork over beef). Okinawa also isn’t as expensive (even for flights) or urbanised as Tokyo, and it’s a lot more laidback. To experience Okinawa in its entirety from famous attractions to hidden gems, it’s best to rent a car to explore the island.

No need to break out the road rage or rainy day savings though — here’s our week-long Okinawa itinerary for less than S$1.2k! Road trip time!

Budget Breakdown for 7-Day Okinawa Itinerary

Okinawa Road Trip Sunset - Okinawa Itinerary

Accommodation: S$216.22
Transport:
S$127.53
Activities:
S$438.63
Food & Miscellaneous:
S$355.25

Total: S$1,137.63/pax (Excl. flights)
Click here for detailed breakdown

Check Flights to Okinawa

Flights aren’t included in the budget for this Okinawa itinerary, since prices vary all year round. But one of us managed to snag return flights to Okinawa at S$270 during a Jetstar Airways promo — seriously! Check current flight prices to Okinawa here:


If you can’t see the widget above, click here to check flights from Singapore to Okinawa.

Pre-trip Essentials

Okinawa Enjoy Pass - Okinawa Itinerary

Okinawa Enjoy Pass: Pre-book the Main Island Mini Churaumi Enjoy Pass for free entry into the Churaumi Aquarium, as well as four of Okinawa’s best attractions of your choice. The pass is valid for five days from the redemption date.

Connectivity: We got a pocket 4G WiFi which provided unlimited data and strong connection during our road trip (except at the Northernmost area). The device also came in handy as offline Google Maps isn’t available for the Okinawa prefecture.

Boy Band Shot in Sunset - Okinawa Itinerary

Car Rental: All around Okinawa are beautiful sights and attractions that are worth driving out the city for! For a smooth collection process, we rented our car through Klook for ~S$40/day.

To survive road tripping in Okinawa, check out our driving tips at the end of the article!

Getting from Naha Airport to the City: If you don’t intend to pick up your rental car directly at Naha Airport, take the Yui Rail (Okinawa monorail) to the city centre. A 24-hour pass costs ¥800 (~S$10). Alternatively, opt for a comfortable private transfer.

Okinawa Itinerary Road Trip Route

Most itineraries begin in Naha, the capital city. However, this Okinawa itinerary saves it as the best for last! We drove around the island in an anti-clockwise direction to explore the island’s rural areas first, before heading back to the city.

Read also: Ultimate Okinawa Guide — 32 Exciting Things to Do in Japan’s Paradise Island

Day 1: Naha — Southern Okinawa  — Nago (North Central Okinawa)

Lunch at Tonsen (とんせん) Okinawa

Tonsen Okinawa Pork Steak

Tonsen Okinawa is a small and homely restaurant that’s well-known for its pork steak sets. Served on sizzling hotplates, every piece of meat was delightfully juicy and delicious. Each set also comes with free-flow salad!

Cost: From ¥1000
Opening Hours: 11AM – 5PM, closed on Tuesdays
Address: Maekawa-418-1 Tamagusuku, Nanjo, Okinawa 901-1400, Japan Mapcode: 232 524 408*47
Parking: Free on premises

Get Cultured at Okinawa World (おきなわワールド)

Okinawa World Indigo Dyeing Shop - Okinawa Itinerary

Step back in time to Okinawa World, a popular attraction showcasing the island’s culture. Roam around the village to see how locals perform various crafts such as Ryukyuan glass-making, and indigo dyeing.

Okinawa World Eisa Dance - Okinawa Itinerary

Do also catch the powerful Eisa dance! The traditional dance features performers singing an old folk song with lively movements and rhythmic drumming. The show is entirely in Japanese, but is still thrilling to watch.

Gyokusendo Cave Okinawa World - Okinawa Itinerary

The Gyokusendo Cave is also a must-visit at Okinawa World. It holds millions of limestone stalagmites and stalactites that are over 300,000 years old. Dress accordingly as the cave’s interior is dripping wet and slippery!

Entrance Fee: ¥1,240 (Free with the Enjoy Pass)
Opening Hours: 9AM – 6PM
Mapcode: 232 495 332*71
Parking: Free on premises

Explore Ou Island (奥武島)

Eating with a Cat on Ou Island - Okinawa Itinerary
Purr-fect place to be?

Cat lovers shouldn’t miss Ou Island, or Ojima in their Okinawa itinerary. The island contains a small fishing town, hence attracting its many friendly feline inhabitants.

Ou Island Tempura

Drop by the island’s famous tempura shop (中本鮮魚てんぷら店) located in front of the bridge. Frequented by both locals and travellers, tempura such as battered fish and sugared bread are served fresh and crispy.

Address: Ou Tamagusuku, Nanjo, Okinawa 901-0614, Japan
Mapcode: 232 467 057*06
Parking: Free parking opposite the tempura shop

Visit the Holy Sefa-Utaki (斎場御嶽)

Sefa Utaki - Okinawa Itinerary
Photo credit: @mentai_ko via Instagram

A historically sacred place in the Ryukyu Kingdom, Sefa-Utaki is one of Okinawa’s World Heritage sites. It’s one of the best places to visit to gain a greater understanding of Okinawa’s unique culture, as well as appreciate the natural beauty and spiritual aura of the area.

Entrance Fee: ¥300
Opening Hours: 9AM – 6PM (closes 5:30PM from Nov to Feb, last entry 30 minutes before)
Address: Kudeken-455 Chinen, Nanjo, Okinawa 901-1511, Japan
Mapcode: 33 024 282*63
Parking: Free on premises

Accommodation in Nago: Airbnb — we stayed in a private apartment near the Churaumi Aquarium for ~S$121/night. It’s a 2.5-hour drive from Sefa-Utaki.

Day 2 – 3: Nago (North Central Okinawa)

Parasail over Onna Village

Parasailing in Onna Village - Okinawa Itinerary
It ain’t a wallpaper, it’s the view!

Thrill-seekers, it’s time to conquer the skies! Get high with a parasailing experience that’ll fly you over Okinawa’s surreal blue waters.

Parasailing in Motobu - Okinawa Itinerary

Surprisingly, the ride up in the air was smooth, similar to cruising in an airplane. Those with motion sickness (like me) can go a little easy on the pills. Just sit upright and enjoy the beautiful bird’s-eye views!

Cost: ~S$85.55
Meeting Point: Motobu Port, 5232 Sakimotobu, Motobu-chō, Kunigami-gun, Okinawa-ken 905-0225
Parking: Free at the port

Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium (沖縄美ら海水族館)

Kuroshio Sea Tank at Churami Aquarium - Okinawa Itinerary

The Churaumi Aquarium is considered Japan’s best, and there’s really no reason why this shouldn’t be in your Okinawa itinerary. The main highlight is the Kuroshio Sea, the world’s second largest tank that holds two huge whale sharks, dozens of rays, fish, and coral reefs. It’s a lovely and peaceful sight to behold.

Churaumi Aquarium Dolphin Show - Okinawa Itinerary

Don’t miss out on the incredible dolphin show that happens throughout the day. There’s an ending segment where adventurous volunteers can get splashed by them. Fair warning: Bring a change of clothes because you will be completely soaked!

Entrance Fee: ¥1,850 (~S$24.15, free with the Enjoy Pass)
Opening Hours: 8:30AM – 7PM
Mapcode: 553 075 797*77
Parking: Free on premises

*Pro-tip: Arrive before 10AM or after 2PM if you want to avoid seas of people.

Get the Sickest Sea Views at Kouri Ocean Tower (古宇利オーシャンタワー)

Photographing Kouri Island Bridge at Tower - Okinawa Itinerary

The Kouri Ocean Tower is admittedly touristy, but you can’t deny that the vantage views offered here are stunning. At the top floor of the tower, you get clear views of the Kouri Island bridge, a 2km-long bridge cutting through turquoise and azure waters.

Entrance Fee: ¥800 (Free with the Enjoy Pass)
Opening Hours: 9AM – 6PM (Last entry 5:30PM)
How to get there: From Nago, drive on route 110 for 30 minutes.
Parking: Free on premises

Chow Down on Heavenly Pizza in the Sky (ピザ喫茶 花人逢)

Pizza in the Sky - Okinawa Itinerary

When you want a little break from Japanese food, indulge in some good ol’ comfort food — pizza! Located atop a hill, Pizza in the Sky serves only two kinds of pizza: Plain (cheese), and Mix (pepperoni, peppers, bacon, and corn). We recommend getting both, simply because they’re just so good!

Cost: From ¥1,100
Opening Hours: 11:30AM – 7PM (Last orders 6:30PM), closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays
Address: 1153-2 Yamazato, Motobu, Kunigami-gun, Okinawa 905-0219, Japan
Mapcode: 206 888 669*33
Parking: Free parking opposite the hill

Read also: 14 Awesome Things To Do in Okinawa and How to Best Capture Them — Okinawa Photo Guide

Have a Happy Hour at Orion Happy Park

Beers at Orion Happy Park

The best things in life are free, and that’s what you’ll get at the Orion Happy Park. The factory runs daily tours (only in Japanese), and finishes with a tasting session where each person receives a couple of Okinawa-made Orion beers. Except for the driver, who gets to enjoy a non-alcoholic drink instead. 🍻🥤

Prior booking is required. Make reservations here.

Cost: Free
Tour Timings: Every 20 minutes from 9:20AM – 4:40PM
Mapcode: 206 598 867*44
Parking: Free on premises

Get Fruity Fresh at Okinawa Fruits Land (Okinawaフルーツらんど) and Nago Pineapple Park (ナゴパイナップルパーク)

Okinawa Fruits Land - Okinawa Itinerary
Just a bunch of fruit loops.

Aimed at children, Okinawa Fruits Land is a fruit-themed park that leads them on an adventurous quest to learn about tropical fruits planted around the park. It also has a mini-zoo, with birds and goats, to interact with.

Entrance Fee: ¥1,000 (Free with the Enjoy Pass)
Opening Hours: 9AM – 6PM
Address: 1220-71 Biimata, Nago, Okinawa 905-0005
Mapcode: 206 716 584*13
Parking: Free on premises

Nago Pineapple Park Cart - Okinawa Itinerary

Just next door, the Nago Pineapple Park is a mini theme park dedicated to the yellow fruit. Visitors get to ride an automated pineapple cart around a pineapple plantation and a beautifully-sculpted garden. Remember to try samples of pineapple products before leaving!

Entrance Fee: ¥850 (Free with the Enjoy Pass)
Opening Hours: 9AM – 6PM
Address: 1195 Biimata, Nago, Okinawa 905-0005
Mapcode: 206 716 438*88
Parking: Free on premises

Enjoy Ice Cream with a View at Ark Cafe (アイスクリンカフェ アーク)

Ark Cafe Ice Cream Sundaes - Okinawa Itinerary

Ark Cafe is a rustic, fairytale-like mansion that serves food and desserts. We got a waffle cone with five scoops (¥550, ~S$7.20) of interesting flavours such as sugarcane and acelora. As we came slightly before closing time, we managed to snag amazing rooftop ocean views to ourselves.

Opening Hours: 11:30AM – 6PM
Address: 950-1 Hamamoto, Motobu, Kunigami-gun, Okinawa 905-0216
Mapcode: 206 887 607*17
Parking: Free on premises

Day 4: North Central Okinawa – Naha (Central Okinawa)

Go Snorkelling in the Famous Blue Cave

Snorkelling in Okinawa Blue Cave - Okinawa Itinerary

A popular spot for watersport lovers, Okinawa’s Blue Cave is a semi-submerged cave that gets its startling blue colours from sunlight refraction. We went for a Blue Cave snorkelling tour and were amazed by its rich blueness and mysterious ambience.

Snorkelling and Feeding Fish in Okinawa - Okinawa Itinerary

What makes the Blue Cave even more breathtaking is its crystal-clear waters, where you can watch multiple schools of fish swim by. After exploring the cave, you get to snorkel outside in open waters and feed surrounding fish.

Cost: ~S$46.15
Tour Timings: Every two hours from 8AM – 4PM
Meeting Point: Marine Station Okinawa (マリンステーション沖縄), Maeganeku, Onna, Kunigami District, Okinawa 904-0414
Mapcode: 206 096 290*14
Parking: Free parking opposite Okinawa Dining Wankara Wankara

Looking for other watery delights? Here are 33 things to eat-see-do in Okinawa!

Strut Down the American Village (アメリカンビレッジ)

American Village - Okinawa Itinerary

The American Village is a fascinating hybrid of Japanese and American cultures. It’s a huge shopping complex with plenty of shops and eateries to check out. Thrift shoppers can raid the American Depot, a funky store that sells vintage and used clothing, including US army uniforms.

Okinawa Taco Rice
Blue Seal Ice Cream - Okinawa Itinerary

Food-wise, we highly recommend unique Okinawan specialties like Taco Rice — a tasty mishmash of Mexican taco fillings and Japanese omurice.

For dessert, wash it all down with Blue Seal ice cream (affectionately dubbed the “ice cream of Okinawa”). Every flavour tastes amazing, but the bestselling Okinawan salt cookie was my die-hard favourite.

Mapcode: 33 526 450*65
Parking: Free on premises

Defy Death at Kana Restaurant (イラブー蛇料理 カナ)

Irabu Sea Snake Soup - Okinawa Itinerary
Irabu soup set, ¥3,800 (~S$49.70)

This was a dining experience truly like no other. Kana Restaurant serves sea snake soup, a traditional Ryukyuan dish that is believed to provide consumers with stamina and medicinal benefits.

The main ingredient is irabu, a sea snake that’s 10 times more venomous than a cobra. We learnt that the snake takes a tedious 18–36 hours to prepare. As a result, only 30 dishes are made per week.

Kana Restaurant Lady Boss

The irabu has an impressive depth of umami flavour that parallels tuna, kelp, and bacon. We were fortunate to meet the dear 86-year-old woman who makes the sea snake soup before we left. Although this meal is pricey, the experience is definitely worth every yen.

Call ahead to make reservations in advance.

Cost: ¥3,800 (~S$49.70)
Opening Hours: 6PM – ~8:30PM
Address: 515-5 Yagibaru, Kitanakagusuku, Nakagami-gun, Okinawa 901-2304
Mapcode: 33 499 592*22
Parking: Unavailable. We parked by the streetside before walking up to the restaurant.

Accommodation in Naha: Airbnb — we stayed in a private apartment for ~S$125.47/night. It’s a 40-minute drive from Kana Restaurant.

Day 5 – 7: Naha

Wander through Naha’s Famous Markets

Makishi Public Market - Okinawa Itinerary

Back in the city, you’ll find that Naha has many exciting marketplaces to explore. The most famous one is the Makishi Public Market (第一牧志公設市場), which has been moved to a temporary building until March 2022. The two-storey market sells fresh sashimi, seafood, meat, and dried products.

Kokusai-dori International Street - Okinawa Itinerary

Nearby, travellers can also stroll down Kokusai-dori (那覇国際通り商店街, a.k.a. International Street), a long shopping street with Hollywood Boulevard vibes. There’s also Heiwa-dori (平和通り), a sheltered marketplace similar to Bugis Street.

Address: Naha Kokusai Dori Shopping Street, 3 Chome-2-10 Makishi, Naha, Okinawa 900-0013
Mapcode: 33 157 312*03
Parking: Paid parking lots and multi-storey carparks are available around the area. Full-day parking usually costs ¥900.

Taste Unusual Foods

Posing with Pig's Face - Okinawa Itinerary

There’s a saying that except for its squeal, Okinawans eat all parts of the pig. This also applies to the face, which is pre-packaged and sold in Naha’s markets (~¥1,800, ~S$23.50). In case you’re wondering, it’s very gelatinous.

Goat Sashimi

Other weird delicacies include goat meat sashimi. The meat has a very strong and pungent smell, with an equally gamey taste and texture. Give it a try — mehhh-be you might like it!

山羊料理 山原食いなぁ
Cost: ¥1,050 (~S$13.70)
Address: 47, 1133 西, 3-chōme-13 Nishi, Naha, Okinawa 900-0036
Parking: Unavailable. We parked on a street near the eatery.

Get Fast and Furious on Okinawa’s Streets

Street Go-Karting in Naha

Unleash your inner kid and explore the city in a different (smaller) set of wheels! Hop on a go-kart experience, and cruise through empty roads and International Street. While go-karting, don’t forget to smile and wave at people who’ll happily snap photos of you!

Cost: ~S$79.69
Meeting Point: Street Kart Tour Okinawa, 7-1 Higashimachi, Naha-shi, Okinawa-ken 900-0034, Japan
Mapcode: 33 156 094*63
Parking: Paid parking available opposite and behind the shop. One hour costs ¥300.

Feel like Royalty at Shuri Castle (首里城)

TTI at Shurijo Castle
The Queen, and her two loyal jokers.

Another World Heritage site, Shuri Castle served as the political centre of the Ryukyu Kingdom as well as a residence for the royal family.

Today, the park is one of Okinawa’s most famous attractions. Visitors can roam around the castle to learn more about Ryukyuan history, as well as take beautiful photos in and outside the palace.

Entrance Fee: ¥820 (~S$10.80)
Opening Hours: Varies
Address: 1 Chome-2 Shurikinjocho, Naha, Okinawa 903-0815, Japan
Mapcode: 33 161 526*71
Parking: Paid parking available around the compound

Become a Karate Kid

Okinawa Karate Experience - Okinawa Itinerary
Osu!

With Karate making its first appearance in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, why not learn the martial art in its origin country? At the Okinawa Karate Kaikan, try an enlightening Karate experience. You’ll train under highly skilled senseis who will teach you basic attack and defence moves.

Training with Karate Sensei - Okinawa Itinerary
Us fighting hard to extend our leave. 🙊

Cost: ~S$119.40
Class Timings: 9AM, Tuesdays and Thursdays only
Meeting Point: 863 Tomigusuku, Okinawa 901-0241, Japan
Mapcode: 33 037 845*33
Parking: Free on premises

Visit the Santorini of Okinawa (瀬長島 ウミカジテラス)

Umikaji Terrace Senagajima Santorini of Okinawa - Okinawa Itinerary

Who knew the Hawaii of Japan would have a little bit of Greece too? Umikaji Terrace is known as the Santorini of Okinawa, due to its pristine white-washed buildings. Inside, there’s a wide range of artisan shops and Instagrammable cafes to explore.

Hammock Cafe La Isla at Umikaji Terrace Senagajima - Okinawa Itinerary
We kicked back and chilled hard at this quirky Hammock Cafe!

Opening Hours: 10AM – 10PM
Address: 174番地6 Senaga, Tomigusuku, Okinawa 901-0233, Japan
Mapcode: 33 002 662*77
Parking: Free on premises

Have a Traditional Okinawan Dining Experience

Yotsutake Dining Experience - Okinawa Itinerary

End your trip with a memorable dinner! At Yotsutake, you’ll be treated to an interesting dining experience. Enjoy watching modern Ryukyuan performances while you savour a hearty hotpot of noodles, meat, veggies, and delicious dipping sauces.

Cost: ~S$50.25
Time Slots: 6:30PM or 8:30PM
Address: 2F 3-29-70 Kumoji, Naha-shi, Okinawa

Getting around Okinawa

Cape Hedo Photogenic Spot

Okinawa is truly the Hawaii of Japan, with deep blue waters, fascinating culture, and exhilarating activities. It’s unfortunate that many of the island’s gems are more accessible by car, but I’ve always believed that road trips create the most spontaneous (and epic!) memories.

Fooling around with the Car

We booked all our activities, including our cosy car, through Klook. Compared to navigating Japanese sites on our own, booking through Klook was very fast and straightforward. This was a relief, as none of us were proficient in the language.

We also received most of our booking confirmations almost instantly. During our trip, the respective staff from different activities updated us about the meeting points in advance!

To help ease your Okinawa itinerary planning, here’s a summary of what we booked for this trip:

WiFi Device (~S$3/day)
8D7N Car Rental (~S$340.19 for C1 5-seater)
Okinawa Main Island Mini Churaumi Enjoy Pass (~S$43)
Parasailing Experience from North Okinawa (~S$85.55)
Onna Village Blue Cave Snorkelling Tour (~S$46.15)
Okinawa Street Go Karting (~S$79.69 for one hour)
Okinawa Karate Experience (~S$119.40)
Yotsutake in Naha — Local Ryukyu Dinner (~S$50.25)

Looking at Churaumi Aquarium Sea Animals

Overall, it was a smooth and fuss-free process, and we could enjoy ourselves without worrying about any complicated instructions or language barriers.

We also got to enjoy savings when we booked the Mini Enjoy Pass. We visited five attractions in this Okinawa itinerary, including the Churaumi Aquarium, and saved over S$30 as compared to paying at the door. It’s pretty good value-for-money, but requires some planning on which attractions to visit.

Wearing Yukatas at Shurijo Castle

So go forth and explore Japan’s Hawaii with this Okinawa itinerary! The island’s affordability, relaxed vibes, as well as polite and courteous drivers, will really give you the break you’ve been looking for. Just don’t forget the sunscreen, for real. 💀

Check Flights to Okinawa


If you can’t see the widget above, click here to check flights from Singapore to Okinawa!

Driving Tips

Jerome Driving
0) Wear your seatbelts.

1) Get an International Driving Licence. You’ll need to show this document, along with your passport and local driving licence, for verification when collecting your car.

2) Follow the speed limit, especially in cities. Okinawa’s roads and alleys are rather narrow. Road markings are faint, making it harder to see lanes. Vehicles will also park on road shoulders along the two-lane International Street. Drive slowly to prevent accidents.

3) Park at authorised parking areas. Illegal parking can result in hefty fines, or policemen who will chase after you (true story).

4) Prepare the Mapcodes or telephone numbers of your destinations. Enter them into the car’s GPS for quick and easy navigation. It’s a great alternative to typing down long addresses (and in Japanese!). Use this website to find Mapcodes of places not listed in this itinerary.

5) Skip the ETC Card. While we used it during our Hokkaido road trip, it’s not necessary for Okinawa. You can drive on non-toll roads to get around the island (it’ll just take longer). Tolls can be paid in cash.

Ever been to Okinawa, or planning to go? Share with us your thoughts (or your own Okinawa itinerary) in the comments below!


This post was brought to you by Klook

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10 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you for sharing the trip! This is helpful for me to plan for my upcoming trip!
    Have you guys try out mangrove kayaking in Okinawa?

  2. Hi tks guys for all the helpful info. I’m looking at klook car rental and was wondering which type car to take. 4 of us w 2 big luggage n 2 cabin size. Tks! I think C1 is out of the question. So it’s between C2 (Note 1500/Axela) or WS (Mazda Premacy). Tks in advance! Btw we booked the klook mini enj pass based on ur recommendation

    • Hi Irene, glad our info helped!

      I think C2 or any type above C1 will be a good option — more space for you all too. (: I believe the staff will also access your luggage situation and assign the car depending on what you ordered and what’s available, so there shouldn’t be an issue.

      Do plan out which places you’d like to visit for the mini enjoy pass! Also, you’ll need to head to the domestic airport to collect the passes, before going back to international arrival to meet the car rental staff.

      Have a great trip ahead!

      • Tks! Think we will go w 7 seater more leg room! Btw is the car rental office also at Domestic airport? If so we can pick up our Klook passes when there?

        • Hi Irene! Hahaha okay, but do note that Japanese roads are a little narrow so drive safe!

          Unfortunately, the car rental office is at the International airport. You will need to walk to the Domestic airport to collect the Klook passes first, then go to the International airport to find the car rental office. Hope this clarifies things (:

  3. Hi Michelle,

    Does the main island pass 5 days validity starts on the day of redemption or the first day of usage?
    I’m going to Okinawa for 11 days and don’t foresee using the pass on the first day of arrival but will redeem it at the airport upon arrival.
    Thanks.

    • Hi Ai Ling, the main island pass’s 5-day validity starts on the day of pick-up.

      It was an oversight on our part as our passes weren’t validated on the spot at the airport when we collected them. Instead, it was spotted by the counter staff at the first attraction that we visited, so they validated for us then. Hope this clarifies!

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