Now that winter has officially started the weather is a bit more dreary and definitely colder. Winters in Japan can be especially cold. This is where the kotatsu comes in. A kotatsu is by no means a necessity; however, it does seem nice to have one.
What is a kotatsu? A kotatsu is a short wooden table frame that is covered by a heavy blanket, also known as a futon, with a table top that is then placed on top. Beneath the table top and futon is an electric heat source that is built into the table frame itself. Surrounding the kotatsu are often cushions for people to sit more comfortably or chairs.
The kotatsu’s origins began in the 14th century. It was originally used to cook with a charcoal burner. However, the cooking function is no longer a part of the structure.
During modern times, when the weather gets colder, the kotatsu becomes the center piece of domestic life. Family and friends all gather around the kotatsu to watch TV, play games, and other social activities while keeping warm at the same time.
People can also take short naps, but they should be careful not to touch the electric heater at the bottom. Many times pets will hide underneath seeking the kotatsu’s warmth as well. One of the typical images of a kotatsu is a cat snuggling underneath one.
I hope everyone enjoyed learning more about the kotatsu. Hope everyone stays warm during the winter!