A ceremony was held Monday to mark the completion of the framework of Shuri Castle's main hall as part of restoration work for the fire-destroyed castle in Okinawa Prefecture.

At the topping-up ceremony, attended by about 80 people, carpenters and others dressed in traditional attire performed a ritual to mark the installation of the ridge beam on the roof, chanting prayers for the secure completion and everlasting safety of the building.

"I'm happy and relieved to reach this milestone," said Katsuaki Kondo, master carpenter at the construction company conducting the restoration work. "Many visitors come to the construction site, and I feel their expectations. It's a sobering situation."

The iconic castle in Naha is undergoing restoration after a fire in October 2019 destroyed nine structures including the main hall.

Shuri Castle has repeatedly been destroyed by fire and gone through restoration work. The main hall building constructed in 1712 was lost in World War II and was re-created in 1992. This hall was destroyed by the 2019 fire.

The restoration work for the main hall started in November 2022. As part of the work, a temporary roof was installed to keep out rain and wind.

In December last year, the three-story wooden framework of the main hall was completed, followed by work to construct the permanent roof.

The entire restoration work is slated to end in 2026 after detailed work on the decoration and coating of wooden materials with urushi Japanese lacquer.