A kotatsu is a Japanese heating appliance in disguise of a table. It is a low and wooden table frame covered by a futon or heavy blanket. The table top is placed over the futon. Now the question arises that how a table can work as a heating appliance! Well, the magic is under the kotatsu table. The heat source is underneath the table. Most often it is built into the table itself.
The heat produced by the heating unit is caught under the cover, subsequently giving a warm and comfortable feeling for individuals to sit under. Many people just place the lower portion of their body under the cover.
In the Japanese homes kotatsu is usually used as dining tables. In winter times Japanese families enjoy gathering around the kotatsu and play games, eat or sit in front of the TV. It has become a custom for the Japanese to eat mandarins under the kotatsu in winter.
An alternative of Central Heating Unit
Most of the Japanese houses don’t have any central heating units. Central heating is very expensive because of the designs and structures of Japanese houses. A kotatsu is a generally economical approach to remain warm in the winter, as the futons trap the warm air. Families may pack their action in this one territory of the housekeeping in mind the end goal to save money on vitality costs. In the mid-year, you can move the cover. And you can use the kotatsu as an ordinary table.
Amid the winter a long time in Japan, the kotatsu regularly is the focal point of residential life. In addition, At night relatives assemble around the kotatsu to enjoy food, TV, games, and discussion while keeping the lower half of their bodies warm. Besides, The Japanese say that ‘once under the kotatsu, the majority of your stresses disappear as natural warmth takes over and you will get a relaxed feeling.’
How Kotatsu makes life comfortable?
In spite of the fact that temperatures once in a while fall underneath 0C in Japan, winters can appear to be particularly cool in Japanese houses with little protection. Most of the Japanese houses don’t have any central heating system that leaves the Japanese houses extremely uncomfortable during winters. Kotatsu table comes as a solution to this problem. It can keep them warm and save energy as well.
Kotatsu has various advantages. The normal kotatsu (Okigotatsu) utilizes between 500-600W of power, with some utilizing as meager as 70W. Contrasted with the average wall unit heater, which can undoubtedly keep running at more than 1500W, the Kotatsu keeps running at substantially less vitality. Besides, in light of the fact that the Kotatsu warms just a little space, with the warm air being contained by a futon or blanket, little heat is lost. Furthermore, dust and allergens are not released, bringing about improved indoor air quality.
The best benefit of a kotatsu may be described as it is the gathering place for the family in winter. Much like a campfire in the summer, the kotatsu gives a warm place to a social event, regardless of whether for eating or simply relaxing. Kotatsu’s warm and comfort often makes them hard to leave.
Types of Kotatsu
Dating to the Muromachi time frame in the Fourteenth Century, the Kotatsu created from the Irori Japanese hearth and was initially heated with charcoal. By the Twentieth Century, little convenient Kotatsu, with electric heating units had been created. The cutting-edge Kotatsu is utilized by sitting underneath the table and catching the warmth with a cover.
Recently kotatsu tables come in two forms, the more common ‘Okigotatsu’ and the ‘Horigotatsu.’ ‘Okigotatsu’ is smaller in size and it has the heating unit underneath. On the other hand, the ‘Horigotatsu’ has the heating unit spread over a dugout in which to sit.
Use of Kotatsu
In the twenty-first century, the kotatsu regularly comprises the electric heater. The frame consisted of the heater. Wood is not the only material they use to make this. However, they use plastic or different materials for this. For the most part, there is a cover over the casing and heater and under the table-top. There is a second heavier cover over the first one. The name of the cover is kotatsu-gake. Kotatsu-gake frequently is decorative. And you can use it as home décor also.
A man sits on the floor or on zabuton pads with their legs under the table, and the cover hung over the lower body. The kotatsu came when Japanese people most usually wore customary Japanese style garments. As a matter of fact, where the warmth would enter through the base of the robes and ascend to exit around the neck. Along these lines warming the whole body.
Things to consider when buying a kotatsu
The kotatsu has its origin and uses in Japan. Keep in mind that Japanese culture is totally different than Western cultures. It is very common for the Japanese to sit on the floor around the kotatsu. But, it might be uncomfortable for the Westerners to sit on the floor with the legs crossed for a long time. Sitting on the hard surface for longer periods of time will be very difficult for them. The kotatsu tables are usually very low. So, while buying kotatsu makes sure that there is enough space to sit under when using an extra pillow for comfort.
You can also go for the Zaisu while buying a kotatsu table. Zaisu is the typical Japanese floor chair that can support you with a backrest.
If you are buying kotatsu online, then you must check the voltage and plug that it has. Kotatsu tables that come from Japan may not match the ones in your country. This is a must to check while buying.
Can you make a kotatsu? DIY Kotatsu…
With some little tricks and some handy things, you can make a Japanese kotatsu all by yourself. Kotatsu is really very easy to make.
Things you will need to make kotatsu
- A wooden card table
- A handsaw
- A ruler
- A kotatsu heater
- A comforter
- Four chair backs
- Four serving trays
- Plywood- ½ inch
- Paint or clear finish
- With the handsaw trim the legs of a wooden table. The table should stand about 15 inches off the ground. Use the ruler to measure and cut all the legs perfectly. If not the table will rock.
- After turning the table over attach the heat source. You can use the typical kotatsu heater or other sources. Take the help of an electrician if necessary.
- Set the table in the middle of your desired room and throw a comforter at the top of it. Japanese use futon or traditional winter blankets. You can use a cover to give the comforter a decorative look.
- Place pillows or chair back around the kotatsu.
- You can make a tabletop using the plywood or just place the serving trays on the top of comforter where people can put the drinks and plates.
- Instead of electric heaters, you can use charcoal burners to keep the kotatsu warm.
- You can use a low Japanese table instead of card tables. That will be more convenient.
- Make sure to turn off the heating source when you are not using the kotatsu. It may catch fire if overheats.
There are some simple rules or guidelines to follow when you are using a futon. Moreover, you should not sleep under a kotatsu. Because of the reason that this can make you coincidentally contact the heating source while moving in your sleep. This can result from little troubles into genuine burn wounds.
You should never let your babies in this furniture, on the grounds that they don’t have the ability or realization to get out. They could get dehydrated with the temperature to an extreme degree.
This table is cost sparing, yet in addition very adaptable. Because of the different upgrades made to this, families can utilize the table not just amid the winter to keep them warm. They can also utilize it amid summer by evacuating the cover and unplugging the electric heater, taking out the warm usefulness of the table.