Translated by Richard Perkins
Engawa (Veranda) - Japanese Encyclopedia
Written by Hiromasa Uematsu
A traditional Japanese house has an area called engawa, the so-called edge of the house. Used as a type of veranda, an engawa has the role to connect the inside of the house with the outside. Read more about it in this article.
A traditional Japanese house is equipped with a unique area called engawa. An engawa is a boarded floor running along the outside of a traditional Japanese home and is often used as a type of veranda. In English, engawa literally translates as ‘edge side’. Just as it’s pictured in the photo above, the engawa is the edge of the house that sticks out.
As you can also see, by the engawa there is a place where you can place your shoes - the large rock in the lower part of the photo. In other words, unlike the entrance to a house, the engawa carries on the role of connecting the outside to the inside of the house.
Engawa - Connecting People and Nature
An engawa usually faces a courtyard, so when the weather is nice outside you can sit on the engawa and relax while eating or drinking something. It is also a place where you can read a book or stare at the sky whiling away the hours.
This is also a spot that can be used for viewing the trees and plants in the garden, but also the stars and the moon at night.
Many outdoor events are held on the engawa, for example moon viewing parties or stargazing events. Fireworks designed for use at home can also be lit up in this area.
Engawa is just that, a part of the house that ‘brings together’ the inside and outside, people and nature.