What do you prepare for the cold winter in your country? Heater? Stove? Fire place?
In Japan, we have kotatsu. Have you heard of it? Today, I will introduce “kotatsu and Mandarin orange” which is one of the winter traditions in Japan.
Japanese and Kotatsu
What is kotatsu?
Kotatsu is a Japanese traditional heater which is a low table with an electronic heater equipped on the underside of the top board. It is covered with futon (blanket) so it’s very warm when you put your legs in it.
In summer, kotatsu is just a low table without a blanket. Around early November, people start the preparation for kotastu. Get a blanket and plug the electric cord into the outlet of both the table side and the wall.
It has been so popular in Japanese culture since Muromachi era (AD1336~). It used to be a charcoal heater but became an electric heater after WWII. There is no wind but just warm heater.
How to enjoy kotatsu?
It’s very easy steps!
Sit on a floor. Place your legs into kotatsu. Just relax..! It is very gently warm and cozy inside. Kotatsu is usually only one in a living room so that all of the family gather in one kotatsu. It’s a good family time.
But kotatsu is sometimes so dangerous because once you get in you’ll never be able to come out. It is often happened that you fall asleep in kotatsu but sleeping in kotatsu is a real danger. Do not fall asleep when you’re in kotatsu!
Kotatsu and Mandarin oranges (Mikan)
There are fruits that Japanese people want to eat when they are in kotatsu. That is..
Mandarin orange!! Japanese do love to eat Mandarin oranges in kotatsu. It is said that there are some reasons for this. First, winter is the Mandarin orange season. Second, Mandarin orange is such a fruit that you don’t need any tool to eat. You can just sit in kotatsu and eat it with your hands anytime you want. Third, you can rehydrate with Mandarins.
Lack interests of kotatsu
Kotatsu is a truly popular item in Japan, however, the number of usage of kotatsu is actually decling today because we have more options for winter cold such as floor heating, oil heater or central haeting.
I actually do not have it since we have a floor heating in our apartment. My mother’s house there is kotatsu. I enjoy sitting in kotatsu and never be able to come out…
Where can we buy?
It’s available at any furniture shop like Nitori. The average price is ￥10,000 to ￥15,000. Each has its own characteristics, such as a reversible top board that allows you to enjoy different colors, an energy-saving type that has a motion sensor and automatically turns off when there are no people, and the one with tall legs that can be used with a chair etc.
While you’re in Japan, it might be fun to find your favorite kotatsu for your house!