Kotatsu - A table with a warm blanket


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Have you seen us anime or dramas Japanese at a small, low table sitting and warmed by a blanket? In this article we will talk about this table with a heater called kotatsu, a table with a warm blanket.

It is not just a table with heating and a blanket, kotatsu is a cultural invention that unites Japanese families. Several scenes and stories take place about close friends and families under one kotatsu.

What is a Kotatsu?

O kotatsu [炬燵] or [コタツ] is a small, low table (to fit the legs of the people sitting around) with a small electric heater connected below the table. This table is perfect for warming up in the cold of winter.

O kotatsu has a thick duvet or duvet called a kakebuton [掛け布団]. It is used to conserve heat and heat, in addition to preventing hot air from escaping. Under the table there is also a rug called jiki [敷き].

This quilting consists of 2 blankets called shitagake and a heavier one known as kotatsu-gake. The name kotatsu [炬燵] literally means warm feet. This is just one of the thousands of Japanese inventions against the cold.

The person should sit on the floor or on cushions zabuton with your legs under the table and the blanket spread over your lower body. It is designed to be used with traditional clothing which are opened, making the heat rise from the legs to the neck.


How did Kotatsu come about?

O kotatsu was invented in the 14th century in the Muromachi Period and can be found in most Japanese homes during the winter. Originally his heater was a coal pit that was embedded in the floor. 

Kotatsu emerged as a kind of evolution of Irori, a sunken fireplace used to heat the house and cook food. Its predecessor called hori-gotatsu [掘り炬燵], it was a table with a hole in the floor to warm your feet.

Thus came the kotatsu that can be mobile instead of being in one place in the case of hori-gotatsu. In the past, kotatsu was heated by means of a pitcher with charcoal. It is currently heated by electricity.

In addition to the electric, today you can still find coal heating in traditional places, which can be placed in a hole in the ground or in another place by passing the heat through some path.


What are the Advantages of Kotatsu?

The kotatsu they are much loved by the Japanese, especially in the cold regions. Families and friends often sit around the table to study, eat meals, drink or watch television together.

The blanket covers half of your body, and keeps you warm in the winter. Some even sleep inside the table, but it is not advisable because of the heater and the temperature imbalance. Only pets do that.

Many Japanese houses are not properly prepared against winter, not everyone finds it cheap to create insulation and heating in the house due to lack of structure and because it is very expensive.

Buying a kotatsu it is a cheap alternative for those who wish to keep warm in the winter. Not to mention that the kotatsu can be used as a common table during the summer, just remove the blankets.


Similar systems exist in countries around the world: economical and often sociable ways to warm up while standing still. In Spain and Portugal there is a round table with a brazier called a camilla.

In the Netherlands it is also customary to use a stove for the feet. In World War I, British Engineers built 'Japanese foot warmers' in the trenches. Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Iran also have similar creations.

Is that you? Have you had the opportunity to use this warm little table? What was your experience? Don't forget to share with friends and leave your comments. I wish in Brazil it was cold so we needed a warm little table like that.