Engawa are a distinctive feature of traditional Japanese houses. There are several types of Engawa, and the major types are built as a roofed transition area by extending the interior floor outward, allowing people to come and go from their garden or outside of the house easily.
Engawa provides an open space to communicate with neighbors, read books under the sunlight, take a nap, or have a cup of tea and relax.
Since engawa are both inside and outside at the same time, they have numerous functions. For example, in suburbs or the countryside, there are houses with engawa facing their own croft or field. In such cases, people can work on their fields with sunlight and breeze, but also use the roofed space to store crops, where they can keep them cooler but with natural air.
Another attraction of engawa is being able to enjoy the changing seasons. Many temples and shrines in Kyoto have engawa, where many tourists gather to enjoy cherry blossoms blooming in spring, and changing colors of leaves in autumn. Engawa is part of traditional Japanese houses, however many people include one in their modern house as a way of adding a more open feeling. “Hotel Niwa Tokyo” in Suidobashi, Tokyo, lit. Garden Hotel, is somewhere you can enjoy a Japanese style garden from engawa, while staying there or dining at the restaurants.
Have you been tempted by the thought of living in a house with a functional and attractive engawa?
May 23, 2017