So the weather is starting to get cooler (at least this side of the world) but in Japan people will be starting to cool down as well (eventually). So we’re hitting the weather that would be perfect for Koutatsu 炬燵.
Kotatsu have been around for quite a long while, the first came about back in the 14th century. Actually it’s first incarnation was called a ‘hori-gotatsu’ and was a wooden platform (with a quilt on top) placed over a cooking hearth.
It changed a few more times over the following centuries, and finally in the 20th century when the charcoal was replaced by an electric heating source, (also these kotatsu with attachable electric heaters and moveable).
There are two main different types of kotatsu, the hori-gotatsu and the oki-gotatsu.
Hori-gotatsu: There is a pit in the floor (about 40cm or so), a charcoal heather is placed in the pits floor, or attached to the table’s frame.
Oki-gotatsu: A table with an electric heater stuck to the bottom. The kotatsu is set on a thin futon, then a second futon is placed over the actual table. There’s an electric heater on the bottom of this. The comforter traps the heat from the electric heater.
Kotatsu are popular because Japanese homes aren’t insulated as well as western houses, so they rely more on heating the space within. Kotatsu are a cheap enough way to stay warm in winter since they trap the hot air they make.
During the colder time of the year a lot of the families time can be spent at the kotatsu, it’s a good idea since it does save on energy bills.
There is a saying with kotatsu; “Once under the Kotatsu, all of your worries slip away”
There are actually a few resources to buy kotatsu online;
I can actually see why people love kotatsu, I can imagine being all snug in the dead of winter, watching tv or playing a game and just being able to pop under one of these and you’d be so toasty warm, or even just imagine having a christmas drink under one. Heck if I had the money I think one would be mine right now!