This article describes Japanese kotatsu. This is a must-see for anyone who wants to know the price and safety of kotatsu and how it warms up. We also introduce the famous Nitori kotatsu in Japan. In addition, it will be helpful for those who want to make their own kotatsu.
What is a kotatsu?
Kotatsu is a Japanese heater. The characteristic of the old-fashioned kotatsu is that a thick Japanese-style blanket covers the desk from under the square top plate and looks like a trapezoid. In winter in Japan, the temperature drops below freezing in the cold areas. The sight of eating oranges in a warm kotatsu was also a symbol of winter in Japan.
History of kotatsu
The reason why kotatsu took root in Japan was deeply related to the living environment in Japan. Until then, Japanese houses were made to be well-ventilated and poor airtight, which is inefficient to heat the entire room. Also, because Japanese people sit on the floor, the kotatsu that heats only the place where people are, especially the lower body, was a really reasonable heaters. Today, Air conditioners and electric heaters are the mainstream in Japan, but there are still many homes that continue to use kotatsu.
How does the kotatsu work?
The heater unit is attached to the backside of the top plate, and it is used by connecting the power cord. When you purchase it normally, it already comes with a unit, so you can use it just by plugging and turning on the power. There are also replaceable heater units sold, but not many people in Japan buy them individually.
To prevent the heat heated by the heater from escaping, hang a “futon” for kotatsu from above and sandwich it between the top plate. A blanket can be used as a substitute. However, it’s a traditional wisdom to use cotton material for the kotatsu comforter to increase heat retention.
Is the kotatsu safe?
|Material||Combustion / melting temperature (℃)|
Currently, most of the kotatsu comforters on the market are made of 100% polyester inside, and the expensive ones are made of 100% cotton. These materials will not burn until they reach 200 degrees or higher, so the risk will be extremely low. However, if you sit down by pushing the comforter into the kotatsu, it may come into contact with the internal heater. If the contact state continues for a long time, the comforter will reach the combustion / melting temperature and the comforter will be burnt. In some cases, there is a risk of fire, so be careful.
Many Japanese tend to sleep in a kotatsu. However, the chances of sweating abnormally with a kotatsu above body temperature and getting dehydrated are not zero. Also, although less common in children and adults, older people are more prone to get low-temperature burns due to their thin skin and impaired sensory function. Recent kotatsu has a temperature control function and a timer function, so please check them when you buy it.
Unlike Japan, even in countries where there is no culture of sitting on the floor, kotatsu can be used. Using in combination with the floor sofa that surrounds the kotatsu, the buttocks do not hurt and you can lean back. There are various shapes such as L type and C type, and they are generally sold as a set with a mat. In addition, if the kotatsu is a low type, it can be combined with a couch sofa.
The table part, which is the foundation of the kotatsu, has also evolved to match modern life. In recent years, dining kotatsu, which you can sit on a chair in a kotatsu, has been on sale. With a heater on the back of the dining table, you can warm up while eating. Blankets to hang are often sold separately, so you can choose a way you don’t use.
How much does a kotatsu cost?
When buying a kotatsu, it is common to buy it at a major furniture retailer in Japan. There are relatively reasonable kotatsu, and if it is cheap, a kotatsu table for around 5,000 yen is on sale. Also, if you want to buy a luxury kotatsu that is particular about the material and painting of the top plate, you should visit the showroom of a furniture manufacturer that handles everything from manufacturing to sales. The sales season is from September to October, which is the autumn of Japan, and it cannot be purchased during the hot summer season such as July and August. If you don’t have a chance to visit Japan, you can order it online.
Famous kotatsu brand
Nitori is one of Japan’s leading interior retailers. They are developing low-priced line for general consumers, and the feature is that you can buy high-quality kotatsu at a low price. Traditional kotatsu has a square shape, but recently, many modern round kotatsu are available in Nitori.
Can we make your own kotatsu?
If you purchase the heater unit as a single unit and attach it to the back of the tabletop at home using bolts or screws, it becomes a “kotatsu”. However, since the heater gets hot, it is necessary to keep a certain distance when attaching it to the top plate. In addition, if the table is made of wood, it may cause a fire if it isn’t made of a material that isn’t easily burned. Recently, a simple heater that uses a magnet to be attached to the bottom of the table is also sold, so please check it out.
How was the Japanese kotatsu? If you want to buy kotatsu in Japan, it’s recommended to visit Japan during the cold season as an autumn and winter. Autumn is from September to November, and winter is from December to February.