Genkan: a welcoming shoe rack

The Genkan is a key part of a Japanese house due to the fact that welcomes everyone who wants to access it. As previously mentioned, it is found in the entrance and acts as a shoe rack.

It includes a small area at the same level of the exterior garden where shoes of the residents’ house and guests are deposited. In this way, the floor, where people sleep, doesn’t stain and there is no need to clean it frequently. Genkans are very important as the majority of the Japanese houses have a floor made up of a very delicate parquet.

Once everyone has taken off their shoes to access the house, the entrance is usually found on a higher floor that leads to the dwelling. Due to this, the rest of the house is found at the same level, or perhaps if there are two floors, in superior levels.

Going back to Genkan, just at the entrance we find a shelf or depending on which house, a closet, where all the shoes are stored. This shelf or closet is known as geta-bako.

Even though house slippers are common in Japanese houses, they are usually stored too in the geta-bako, as the majority of guests move around the house wearing socks and not slippers.

Finally, a Genkan doesn’t necessarily need to be a small zone, it can be a long corridor or a balcony, depends on how big the establishment is and the number of people going there.

This is an example found in temples, as tourists tend to visit them and that is why there are big closets put there. By this, the place of their beliefs is maintained and clean but also protected.


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