Have you ever seen a scene like this in dramas or anime?
On a quiet, sunny afternoon, an old lady sits on the Engawa and sips the tea, enjoying the beautiful yard leisurely. Or young people sit on the Engawa, eating juicy watermelon and talking about their summer memories lazily. Exactly the unique scene in Japan!
So let’s learn something about Engawa this time!
What is Engawa?
Engawa is a structure that can only be seen in Japanese style houses. It’s an aisle floored with boards and runs around the house, and is designed to stretch out to align with the edge of the house.
Although both Engawa and Roka (corridor) are aisles, they are different actually. The key difference between them is that, Roka is built “only as a passage way”, Engawa is a roomy space that allows people to sit down and enjoy the scenes outside the yard.
In addition, Engawa also plays a role in adjusting room temperature according to different seasons.
We can often see such spaces in places like Japanese style hotels, where furniture like chairs is put by the windows. This space is also a type of Engawa, and it is called Hiro-en.
By the way, the “Engawa” of Sushi we often see usually refers to flounder fillets. It is so called because it looks like the Engawa of the house.
Types of Engawa
There are two types: Nure-en (wet en) and Kure-en.
Nure-en is an Engawa built under the eaves outside the house, and it's also called Gai-en. It can be built under the eaves as Roka, or built outside the windows. It is called Nure-en because it gets wet when it rains.
As shown in the figure below, Kure-en is an Engawa inside Amado. It's just like a room between the outside and the inside of the house. Even on a rainy day, people can enjoy the view outside.
If you have a chance to visit a Japanese style ryokan or an old Japanese style architecture, why not sit down on the Engawa comfortably and enjoy a cozy time with a cup of warm tea? Let's learn something about Washitsu next time! Please wait!
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