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If you’ve ever traveled to Japan, or have Japanese friends or family, you may be familiar with a kotatsu.
Found in most homes, these tables have been around for hundreds of years.
Unfortunately for many Americans, kotatsu can be hard to come by. If you’re looking to add this Japanese staple to your home, look no further. We will provide ways for you to bring a kotatsu into your life.
But first, let’s explain what a kotatsu is.
What is a Kotatsu?
A kotatsu is a traditional Japanese table with a heat source underneath. They are typically short, as its users are seated on the ground, and they are rarely long or too wide. A futon or heavy blanket is placed on top of the table to trap in heat.
Families will sit around the kotatsu and enjoy a meal, complete work, or simply relax in the heat. The heat trapped by the futon or heavy blanket provides a warm and cozy area for its users to sit under.
They are especially popular in the winter months, as Japanese homes often aren’t as insulated as American ones.
It is not recommended for people to sleep in a kotatsu, as moving around during sleep can cause someone to burn themselves on the heating unit. It is best to sit under the futon with your legs crossed, or stretched out and away from the heat source.
While the original kotatsus were heated using charcoal, the modern kotatsus are powered by electricity.
Factors to consider when buying a Kotatsu
Kotatsus are comprised of three components: the table, heat source, and futon. In order to buy the kotatsu that’s right for you, consider these aspects.
Kotatsu tables are usually made from wood, but they can also be made from plastic or metal.
There isn’t room for a chair underneath, as many who use a kotatsu table sit on the floor. If you require cushions or pillows to sit on, make sure that the table is high enough to accommodate them.
Some kotatsu tables have the option to be folded for easy storage, while others remain in table form. Either way, the tables themselves are light weight and tend to be easily moved when needed.
- Kotatsu Heater with Walnut Brown Square Shape Table Top (W30 x D30 inches) with...
It is important to choose the correct blanket covering for your type of table. Many kotatus can be bought as a complete set, but not all are like that.
The futon can be a blanket, comforter, or quilt, so review the material type before purchasing to make sure you’re getting exactly what you want.
Be sure to make sure the futon is the proper size for your table – if it’s too small people won’t receive the kotatsu’s full effects, and if it’s too large, you’ll be swimming in the blanket.
The traditional heat source for a kotatsu was a pit of charcoal. That evolved into an easily movable earthen pot of charcoal, and has since been replaced by an electronic heat source.
Modern sources of heat are made from plastic and utilize electricity.
When buying a kotatsu, be sure to check the voltage of the heater. They come in both 120V and 230V. The voltage used in the United States is 120V.
Where can you buy a kotatsu in the United States?
Despite their obvious benefits, kotatsus are not readily available in the United States.
The three main places to buy a kotatsu in the US are:
Like with every other product sold on the site, Amazon offers kotatsus in different sizes and varieties from many different sellers. This is an excellent option to buy a kotatsu with any specification you want.
If you’re looking for a used kotatsu, this is the place for you. If you’re not one for second-hand furniture, they may also have new ones. If you’re familiar with Ebay, this is a great option for you.
Rakuten is Japan’s version of Amazon, so they’ll be sure to sell kotatsus. If you’re unfamiliar with how they work, stores give them a commission for promoting their items.
That commission comes back to the shopper as cash back. So, when you buy your kotatsu through Rakuten, you’ll receive cash back for your next purchase.
Build your own kotatsu
Of course, if you’re looking for a fun project, you can build your own kotatsu.
There are only three items you need to buy to build your own kotatsu: a table, futon/blanket, and a heat source.
This is a great option if you haven’t found a kotatsu that fits your size or style specifications.