History of Kotatsu

Do you enjoy spending quality time in the evening with your loved ones? You can cuddle and keep warm with the help of the Kotatsu. This is a Japanese heating table that not only prevents you from the cold during winter but also gives you a chance to strengthen your bond with the rest of your family members. You can eat, watch movies, take short naps and even play your favorite games on your laptop under the Kotatsu. Here is more regarding this table from Japan.

What is a Kotatsu table?

It is a form of a heating appliance that comprises of a wooden table, futon and a source of heat. A futon refers to a heavy blanket that covers the table to keep you warm and cozy. The heater unit goes beneath the table to create adequate warmth for everyone utilizing the table. You can place your lower body under the blanket.

The futons are heavy to prevent warm air from escaping and facilitate equal circulation of heat. A kotatsu is a cheap table that comes in different sizes and shapes. Most of the families conduct their activities from one strategic position to save the costs of energy. Though the table is covered with a futon during winter, you can still use the table during summer without adding futon.

Origin of Kotatsu

The table originates from Japan. Most of the houses in the region are not insulated compared to houses in western countries. Since they lack central heating, the Japanese rely on space heating to keep warm during harsh climatic conditions.

Kotatsu tables have been in existence since the 14 century. The Japanese initially used this table as a cooking hearth. In a traditional Japanese household, women used charcoal to cook and heat the entire home. They later introduced a seating platform and placed a quilt on it. Some people called the set hori-gotatsu.

During the 17th century, the Japanese made some significant changes to the structure where they include a blanket on the platform to help them place their legs underneath the Kotatsu table for warmth. They also started creating movable kotatsu tables to increase portability. Over the years, people have emulated different styles of making Kotatsu. The modern style is commonly known as oki-gotatsu.

They also replaced the use of charcoal with electricity as the source of heat. Manufacturers started installing electric heating fixtures to Kotatsu tables making them modernized and easy to use. Western countries emulated the Japanese and started using these tables in their households. In Japan, people wear traditional robes which allow the distribution of heat across the entire bodies when seated next to a Kotatsu. They also sit on Zabuton cushions and let their legs go under the table.

What are the types of Kotatsu tables?

Kotatsu tables differ when it comes to the type of heating and configuration. They are divided into two types namely electric and charcoal kotatsu tables. The electric kotatsu originated from a pot of clay full of hot coals under the table. Today, electric heaters for the Kotatsu are connected to a power outlet to keep you warm. A charcoal kotatsu, on the other hand, is a traditional table that is used on a recessed floor. In the past, users of this type cut a pit that was about 40 cm deep into the floor and placed the heater there. Unlike the electric kotatsu, this is not portable. People no longer rely on charcoal kotatsu due to safety concerns. They are known to cause health issues due to the production of gases such as carbon monoxide.

Purchasing a Kotatsu table

If you want to buy a Kotatsu table, you can get an authentic one from online sources such as Amazon. Since they come in different sizes and heights, you have to consider if you would like to use the table for other purposes apart from warming during the cold. This is because some of the kotatsu tables give you the option of using them as normal tables or a desk when you remove the futon.

Traditional Kotatsu from Japan is close to the ground. Some of them also come with the electric heater pre-installed while others don't. If you are on a budget, try to calculate the costs of buying the table and heater separately against getting the entire set complete so that you choose the affordable option.

Though an electric kotatsu is safer than the charcoal form, you should check the configuration when choosing a Japanese heating table. Feel free to get multiple futons for your Kotatsu so that you can always interchange them when they get dirty. Ensure that you get the right size when choosing the futon to fit your Kotatsu table well. Remember not to spend the entire night warming under your Kotatsu to minimize the risk of burning yourself.