The best part of winter in Japan is getting some warmth from the Kotatsu (こたつ、炬燵) table with a hot cup of tea in your hands. If you have seen a Kotatsu before, you would know that it is mainly composed of 3 parts: the table, the heater and the bed! As it is a waste of energy to heat up the whole room, that’s why this creation is there to hold the heat within a smaller space underneath the table! (๑❛ᴗ❛๑)

Eating and watching TV at the Kotatsu table with the others while your cat is camping underneath

You can probably do everything you want at the Kotatsu like reading a magazine, drinking tea, eating an apple, watching TV, cuddling your cat, etc. When you are tired, you can spoil yourself and take a nap under the warm bed.

Although nowadays, not many modern Japanese people living on their own would have Kotatsu in their apartments, but for sure, it is what that are all looking for in their parents houses or apartments (Jikka 実家)! By the way, you are not the only one who loves this cozy Kotatsu! Your little cat probably enjoys her little sweet warm winter camp as well! ε( ºωº )з

How the Great Kotatsu was born and evolved

This great invention was created during the Muromachi Period (室町時代 1336-1573). At that time it wasn’t a Kotatsu, it was a box-type heater called Annka (行火) which is made of clay or wood with holes on different sides. We would put charcoal inside and put a blanket over it to heat ourselves up. Afterwards, with the purpose of getting more people around the heat, a fire pit called Irori (囲炉裏) was created for cooking and keeping us warm. ٩(^ᴗ^)۶ A hole would be dug in the living room to hold the fire and we can do some cooking upon it. However, the down side of the Irori is that we cannot move it. In order to combine the best of both Annka and Irori, here comes the Kotatsu! Sometimes, instead of a low table, a high table would be used as well.

Irori 囲炉裏
Horigotatsu – the sunken Kotatsu created by a British art teacher

The Horigotatsu (掘り炬燵) was a recreated version of Kotatsu by a british art teacher, Bernard Leach, whose father was teaching english in Japan. Horigotatsu is similar to Kotatsu, but they dig the area underneath the table, digging deep enough so that people can put their legs in the hole without the need of sitting upright with folded legs (Seiza 正座). Another layer would be dug to have the heater built into the ground. This is a great idea to release the pain of people who are not used to seiza. ( ˃́▿˂̀ )〜♡

Horigotatsu 掘り炬燵

Which one do you like most? For me, I really love the artistic Irori which gives us the zen atmostphere. However, I can’t help but love the Kotatsu in which I could have a good nap! Well, Horigotatsu can be a good choice to save my legs from being numbed from long seiza… Can I have all three? ٩(๑꒦ິȏ꒦ິ๑)۶

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