The kotatsu 炬燵
The kotatsu, a low heated table to keep you warm during cold winters.
A kotatsu, the heated low table
Credit: Marieve 瑞香 Inoue
A kotatsu in Tsubame cafe, Kamakura
Stay warm in winter
Imagine a coffee table that is also a heater, and a blanket...
The kotatsu has its origins in traditional Japanese houses, where a hearth was dug into the ground. This has evolved into a low table that has an electric heating system underneath it and a futon or blanket on top. This, together with an air conditioning unit, are the only ways to regulate the temperature in many Japanese homes, where almost no central heating exists.
With the approach of cold weather, everyone is always excited to slip back under the blanket of the kotatsu for a family meal, or more often, start with book and end with a nap.