The Kotatsu Trap

Invented in the 14th century, the kotatsu has been trapping people with its warmth ever since. Forget all plans for a productive day once you turn on this toasty, motivation-sucking device. Has it been sent from heaven or hell? Nobody knows. But the kotatsu is definitely real and you can find it in Japan.

Anatomy of a Kotatsu


A kotatsu is basically a low table with a heater attached to it and a big blanket to keep the warmth inside. It may sound simple, but once you try the kotatsu you'll be craving for it every winter.

The modern kotatsu has an electric heater, but the original kotatsu was a bit more dangerous with actual charcoal. Back then the hearth was fixed into the ground and would be covered when not in use. It was only until after the Edo period that the kotatsu became a movable piece of furniture. And earthen pot was filled with hot charcoal and could be moved with the table. Later the pot was abandoned in favor of an electric heater.

The kotatsu is most effective while wearing traditional Japanese clothing. The heat enters from the bottom of your kimono and exits at the top.

350410

Mikan + Kotatsu = ...


newmikanFor Japanese, you can't imagine a kotatsu without a mikan (mandarin orange) on top. Mikan look identical to mandarins but they're quite different. Easier to peel and seedless, the mikan is the perfect fruit for a lazy day under the kotatsu. Because of its immense popularity it's one of the few Japanese fruits that is exported in large quantities.

When it gets really cold, nothing beats lazing around under the kotatsu eating mikan.


Don't fall asleep-!...too late


Because of the uneven distribution of heat, the kotatsu is unhealthy to sleep under. A nap however is totally ok, but there is a big risk of it turning into an overnight stay. Not only humans, but also animals rever the kotatsu. Cats especially love the heat and darkness the kotatsu offers.

19835224483e712aa7d8ba12c4b56db9_s

Getting out from under a kotatsu is nearly impossible. So here are some tips to make your kotatsu life easier!

  • Keep napkins nearby, in case you get the sniffles

  • Store all your food and drinks within reach

  • Find a victim to fetch everything you need when you forgot to put it near the kotatsu


024728
Enjoy!


Ninja ID: KansaiKitsune




WATTENTION NINJA WRITER PROFILE


Ilse Montald
From popular culture to traditional culture, I’ve immersed myself in both. I love writing about tradition, history and sharing fun discoveries. If I’m not outside watching a festival parade I’m leisurely reading manga in kimono.

MORE ARTICLES BY THIS WRITERABOUT WATTENTION NINJA

HOT ENTRIES

Take A Day Trip Back In Time At Kawagoe
Kawagoe city makes for a pleasant day trip back in time - after all, it is known to the locals as...
Japan`s World Heritage Sites: Kumano Pilgrimage Route
The World's Most Picturesque Pilgrimage If you take just one pilgrimage - or perhaps just a long...
Know Your Kimono: 9 Different types of Kimono
Kimono literally means "something that is worn" - but there are many types of kimono worn on ...

CATEGORY RANKING

Know Your Kimono: 9 Different types of Kimono
Kimono literally means "something that is worn" - but there are many types of kimono worn on ...
Japan`s World Heritage Sites: Kumano Pilgrimage Route
The World's Most Picturesque Pilgrimage If you take just one pilgrimage - or perhaps just a long...
Japan`s World Heritage Sites: Monuments of Ancient Kyoto
Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto: A treasury of temples and shrines With so many gems gathere...