You Won't Believe How Long This Giant Sushi Roll Is

While Japan may not have invented sushi — one possible first written account of the food item comes from a fourth-century Chinese dictionary — the country is credited with creating the concept of the dish and honing its preparation over hundreds of years. It is believed that sushi has been around in Japan since the eighth century.

Sushi was initially developed as a preservation technique through which fermented rice preserved fish so that it could be stored and eaten later. It changed and evolved throughout the centuries, but the food burgeoned in popularity in 1824 when a man named Hanaya Yohei opened the first sushi stall and created what is called nigiri sushi. His novel approach used fresher fish placed atop seasoned rice that eliminated the prior need for a lengthy fermentation or preservation process and helped usher in a new era of sushi preparation. Fellow entrepreneurs followed suit and set up their own sushi vendor carts.

After World War II, Japan shifted to serving sushi indoors, which gradually became more of a formalized dining occasion. As refrigeration improved, its appeal only grew in the country, and sushi eventually spread worldwide. When reflecting on sushi's history, perhaps it is only fitting that the world's longest sushi roll was made in Japan — and it's a doozy!

Rolling right over the competition

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, that repository for all your favorite superlatives, the winning attempt occurred on November 20, 2016, by the Tamana Otawara Festival Executive Committee in Tamana, Japan, at the Tamana City Labor Athletic Center. While it may come as no surprise that Japan claims the title, what might shock you is the astounding length of the record-holding roll.

A veritable culinary army was recruited to achieve the herculean task, with approximately 400 people assembling the prodigious 9,332-foot, 8-inch sushi roll. For a frame of reference, Japan's highest peak, Mount Fuji, measures 12,388 feet. To fill Tamana's monumental sushi roll, the committee used pickled daikon radish and sesame.

Online accounts of other sushi roll records reveal that the Tamana Festival endeavor rolled its competition. In 1997, 70 Seattle Center Festál volunteers collaborated to make a 100-foot long sushi roll, which at that time stood as the Guinness record holder for "Longest Sushi Roll." Even when a group of more than 300 Purchase College students teamed up with Food Network celebrity chef Jet Tila in 2017 to break the record for the world's longest California sushi roll (separate from the overall longest sushi roll record held by Japan), it still "only" measured 504 feet, eclipsing Tila's previous 2010 record of 422 feet set at University of Massachusetts, Amherst.