Nearly 400 mostly elderly South Koreans, carrying gifts, have crossed into North Korea for a rare meeting with relatives they have either never met or last saw more than 60 years ago.
A fleet of buses led by four black sedans flying Red Cross flags carried the family members from a resort in the port city of Sokcho to the heavily militarised border that has divided the peninsula - and its people - since the 1950-53 Korean War.
After passing through the high-security checkpoint at Goseong, they drove on to North Korea's Mount Kumgang resort, some two hours ahead of the scheduled start of the three-day reunion.
The reunion - only the second in the past five years - was organised as part of an agreement the two Koreas reached in August to ease tensions that had pushed them to the brink of armed conflict.
Millions of people were displaced by the sweep of the Korean War, which saw the frontline yo-yo from the south of the Korean peninsula to the northern border with China and back again.
The chaos and devastation separated brothers and sisters, parents and children, husbands and wives.
With more than 65,000 South Koreans currently on the waiting list for a reunion spot, those headed for Mount Kumgang on Tuesday represented a very fortunate minority.
"I couldn't sleep at all last night," said 82-year-old Lee Joo-Kuk, sporting a tag with his name, age and the name of the elder brother he will be meeting in Mount Kumgang.
"Our family was sure he was dead. We even held memorial rituals for him every year," Lee said.
"But then I got the news that he was alive and wanted to see us. It's like he's been resurrected," he told AFP.
After so many years of waiting, the reunions are cruelly short.
Over the next three days, they will sit down with their North Korean relatives six times.
Each interaction only lasts two hours, meaning a total of just 12 hours to mitigate the trauma of more than six decades of separation.
In a reflection of the stark economic divide between the two Koreas, all the South Korean families had brought gift packages, including winter clothing, watches, cosmetics and - in most cases - several thousand US dollars in cash.
South Korean officials had warned in advance that a substantial slice of any money handed over would be "appropriated" by the authorities in the North.