Kotatsu (heated table) – The Centre of Domestic Life in Japan

The kotatsu is a low wooden table with a heat source attached underneath. It is covered by a futon or heavy blanket with a table that sits on top. In winter, Japanese families gather around the kotatsu, sitting with their legs and feet underneath the blanket, to keep warm. It is often the heart of the home.

I think the kotatsu is a wonderful idea and I’m surprised it’s not more popular overseas. When I lived in Tokyo, I used to rush home from work, switch on the kotatsu as soon as I walked in the door and then read a book or watch TV for hours under the futon. I remember how relaxing it was to feel the warmth of the heater on my legs and toes and how the kotatsu was always so snug and comforting. I also remember the many happy hours I’d spend on a winter’s day, sitting under the warmth of the kotatsu heater with my friends around me, drinking tea and sharing snacks. I’d always think how nice it was to feel so cosy and comfortable. The kotatsu would always help to melt away the pressures of my working day and it would always bring friends closer together.

When I was browsing the Rakuten Global Market, I came across this stylish ‘Oxford Kotatsu’ (pictured below) which can be shipped to the United Kingdom. My husband doesn’t like the idea because he prefers to sit on the sofa, but if you live in a small apartment in London or Tokyo then this might be perfect for you.  It costs £171.62 or ¥24,799 and although it’s quite expensive it does look like it is very good quality. If you do invest in this, I guarantee you’ll enjoy a very snug, happy and warm winter!

Kotatsu image