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Japanese hotel's sprawling gold leaf ceiling recognized by Guinness as world's largest

The world's largest gold leaf-covered ceiling is seen as hotel management company president Yamato Karakami, right, accepts a certificate from a Guinness World Records official at Hotel Kawakyu in the town of Shirahama, Wakayama Prefecture, on Dec. 8, 2020. (Mainichi/Yukihiro Takeuchi)

SHIRAHAMA, Wakayama -- The 1,056.97-square-meter ceiling of the entrance hall to a hotel in this western Japan resort town has been recognized by the Guinness World Records as the world's largest gold-leaf covered ceiling.

    A Guinness official presented a certificate to Yamato Karakami, 29, president of Hotel Kawakyu operator Karakami Hotels & Resorts Co., based in Sapporo.

    The hotel is a 9-story palace-style reinforced concrete building. It was built in 1991 at a total construction cost of 40 billion yen (about $384 million) using craftsmanship techniques from China, Europe, the Islamic world, Japan, and other parts of the globe. The building won the Murano Togo Prize for outstanding architecture in fiscal 1992.

    The arched hall is 45 meters long, 14 meters wide and 11 meters high. Three craftsmen including a French citizen took about two months to apply some 190,000 pieces of 5-centimeter-square 22.5-karat gold leaf to the ceiling.

    The hotel was taken over by Karakami Hotels in 1999. The new operator applied to Guinness World Records to make the world aware of the cultural value of the building. The gold ceiling was certified on August 25, 2020.

    Karakami commented, "We would like the world to know about this marvelous, one of a kind building."

    (Japanese original by Yukihiro Takeuchi, Tanabe Local Bureau)

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