As winter falls in Japan, people in almost every house get out their kotatsu – a hybrid of a table, blanket and a heater. This is because, somewhat surprisingly, in Japan there’s no such thing as central heating. Even though winter is never particularly cold there, they manage to avoid catching colds and other illnesses during winter time thanks to this unique invention.
The kotatsu is a traditional Japanese piece of furniture: it is composed of a low wooden table frame covered by a Japanese futon-mattress or a heavy blanket, with a table on top. Underneath all of this is a heat source, which is often built into the table itself. The kotatsu has its origins in the old Japanese cooking hearth, which was always located in the same place at home. The modern kotatsu, however, can be moved.
This has to be one of the most ingenious inventions we’ve seen for surviving winter. If only we could get our hands on one – then the evenings spent with friends and family would be so much cosier!