Kotatsu Blanket and Kotatsu Futon Guide

Kotatsu Blanket Guide

こたつ布団

Some people buy a Kotatsu as a set including a table, heater, blanket and rug.

Others like to mix and match things. Personal taste is so different for most of these items that you will probably want to choose your own for some things. This is especially true of the kotatsu blanket or kotatsu futon you choose to use with your table and heater.

Usually, there are two parts two the blanket, called futon in Japanese, side of things. You have a kakebuton (Comforter) on top and a shikibuton *rug) on the bottom. Generally these are sold as a set, but there is nothing to stop you mixing and matching these if you want.

If you are after a complete Kotatsu set, we have a page outlining those here

If you need a new kotatsu heater for your Japanese heated table, look here.

If you are looking at what you might want to combine your table with in the room, we have a post on the Japanoscope Japanese Home Decor page.

For a look at what you can sit at the table take a look at our Zabuton cushion page.

See below for all the dirt, ahem, on Kotatsu blankets and Kotatsu futons!

What Size Kotatsu Futon (kakebuton) do you need?

Generally speaking, you want to buy a futon that is around 110 – 130cm larger than the size of your Kotatsu table.

You want to get a futon that matches the shape of your table eg. rectangular, square, round etc.

See below for a translation of a detailed table found here, if you really want to get into the nitty gritty.

What size rug (shikibuton) do you need for a Kotatsu?

Generally speaking, you want to put your Kotatsu on a rug that protrudes at least 50cm further than your Kotatsu size. If you really want to spread out, get a rug that is going to allow you to do it.

A translation of a detailed table found here is printed below, if you really want to get into the nitty gritty.

 

Square Kotatsu

Table Size

Number of people

Recommended Kotatsu Futon/Blanket Size

75~80 × 75~80cm

1 to 2 people

Thick185 x 185 cm

Thin  190 x 190 cm

Space Saving 180 x 180 cm

80~90 × 80~90cm

2 to 3 people

Thick 205 x 205 cm

Thin 200 x 200 cm

High type

90 x 90 cm

Height: 63-68 cm

3 to 4 people

Thin 235 x 235 cm

Rectangular Kotatsu

Table size

Number of people

Recommended Kotatsu Futon/Blanket Size

60 × 90cm

1 to 2 people

Space Saving 160 x 190 cm

75 × 105cm

2 to 3 people

Thick 185 x 235 cm

Thin 190 x 240 cm

80 × 120cm

3 to 4 people

Thick 205 x 245 cm

Thin 200 x 250 cm

Space Saving 180 x 220 cm

Space Saving 190 x 230 cm

80~90 × 130~150cm

3 to 4 people

Thick  205 x 285cm

Thin  200 x 290cm

Space Saving 180 x 250cm

80~90 × 180cm

3 to 4 people

Thick 205 x 315 cm

80~90 × 210cm

3 to 4 people

Thick 205 x 345 cm

High type

80-90 x 135 cm

Height: 63-68 cm

3 to 4 people

Thin 235 x 275 cm

High type

80-90 x 150 cm

Height: 63-68 cm

3 to 4 people

Thin 235 x 290 cm

Circular Kotatsu

Table size

Number of people

Recommended Kotatsu Futon/Blanket Size

Diameter: 65cm

1 person

Thick Diameter: 175 cm

Thin Diameter: 170 cm

Diameter: 75cm

2 to 3 people

Thick Diameter: 185 cm

Thin Diameter: 180 cm

Diameter: 90cm

2 to 3 people

Thick  Diameter: 205cm

Thin  Diameter: 200cm

Diameter: 110cm

3 to 4 people

Thick Diameter: 225 cm

Thin Diameter: 220 cm

Diameter: 120cm

3 to 4 people

Thick Diameter: 245 cm

Thin Diameter: 240 cm

How kotatsu hold the futon

Generally speaking, the table top of a Kotatsu with a futon inserted beneath it is not fixed and is mainly held on by the weight of the tabletop itself. There are underlays that can be purchased to help grip the top. It is possible to also hold on the top with screws, but this requires putting holes in the futon underneath, so is not a popular option.

How to wash a Kotatsu Blanket or Kotatsu Futon? 

Kotatsu futons will be marked as either hand wash or dry clean.

In Japanese, hand wash will be marked as 手洗イ (read as tearai)

Items that must be dry cleaned will be marked ドライ (dry)

Futons can’t be machine washed because the cotton inside will be damaged.

Do you need a Kotatsu futon cover?

Kotatsu are usually fairly high use items, and are often around (and underneath) food and drink. So the likelihood of them needing regular cleaning is pretty high. Given, their bulkiness, for most people, putting your Kotatsu blanket in a cover is going to make the washing process a lot easier. This does add another level of expense though, so you’ll have to way up convenience versus expense.

Can you use any blanket for a kotatsu?

Some people use regular futon duvets in their Kotatsu, so it’s possible. That being said, it is hard to find the perfect size, and you would want to be sure that there is nothing flammable in your blanket. Think of how some synthetic clothing materials react around heaters! If you do go down this route, you would probably want to use something that was pure natural material. It is generally safer to go with a dedicated Kotatsu blanket.

Consider this also:

A normal blanket/futon may not be appropriate as a Kotatsu blanket/futon

But

A kotatsu blanket/futon can always be used as a normal blanket/futon

So you still get another general use futon when you buy a Kotatsu futon.

 

What types of Kotatsu blankets and Kotatsu futons are there?

There are basically three types of blanket, called futon, that people use with Kotatus in Japan; 

Thick (atsugake 厚がけ) 

Thin (usugake 薄がけ) 

Space saving (sho-supesu 省スペース)

 

Thick (atsugake 厚がけ)

The thicker the blanket, the more warm and luxurious. The drawback is that they are bulky, heavy and more difficult to store.

 

Thin (usugake 薄がけ) 

Thinner blankets are easier to get in and out of and take less room to store.

 

Space saving (sho-supesu 省スペース)

You’ll find that when getting around the Kotatsu that the corners are the places that often get most in the way. Space savers have a slit cut into the corners and use thin material in these areas so that they take up the least space. They consequently have a fairly distinctive look, which may or may not be to your taste.

Bright Patterned Kotatsu Futon

If you need to brighten up your room…

Pros

  • Stylish pattern design
  • Reasonable price
  • Different patterns to choose from
  • For 60/75/80/90cm Table
  • 100% Polyester

Cons

  • Non-natural materials
  • Non-Japanese maker

 

Space Saver Kotatsu Futon

Two in one with “Space Saver” corner design

Pros

  • Stylish pattern design
  • Reasonable price
  • Different patterns to choose from
  • For 60/75/80/90cm Table
  • 100% Polyester

Cons

  • Non-natural materials
  • Non-Japanese maker

Pattern blanket and rug leaf pattern set

Stylish Patterning two-in one

Pros

  • Two in one, don’t need to worry about mixing and matching
  • Stylish pattern design
  • Reasonable price
  • Different patterns to choose from
  • For 60/75/80/90cm Table
  • 100% Polyester

Cons

  • Non-natural materials
  • Non-Japanese maker

Natural Nagomi Cotton Kotatsu Futon Cover

100% natural fibre hand made kotatsu blanket cover!

Pros

  • All natural
  • Nagomi Cotton
  • Various Colors
  • Simple single tone
  • Custom sizes available

Cons

  • Have to buy futon seperately

Hand Made, All Natural Kotatsu Futon

Lovingly crafted in Japan, this one is for the connoisseurs

Pros

  • Hand Made
  • Natural Cotton Materials
  • Square or Rectangle

Cons

  • Plain design best used with cover

AntiGnor Luxury Kotatsu Futon Blanket Square/Rectangle

A great thick style futon in dark shades

 
Pros
  • Fluffy fleece style edge
  • Dark color doesn’t stain easily
  • Fire safe
  • Thick
  • Two sizes available
Cons
  • Non-natural materials
  • Does not come with under rug

Nishikawa Reversible Kotatsu Futon Square

A thinner, non-bulky “usugake” style futon that for 80cm square

Pros

  • Reversible – two colors!
  • Thin, non-bulky style futon
  • Fleece material
  • Rings in corners for attaching cover

Cons

  • Thickness may not suit particularly cold climates
  • Non-distinctive pattern

Pathwork Kotatsu Blanket

Classic Patchwork Style Kakebuton

 
Pros
  • Fluffy fleece style edge
  • Muted color doesn’t stain easily
  • Fire safe
Cons
  • Non-natural materials
  • Does not come with under rug

EMOOR Washable Kotatsu Futon Comforter Cover Rectangle-Type

Highly unique Scandinavian meets Native American Design!

Pros
  • Cover only – transform an existing futon
  • 77×93in (195 x 245cm)
  • Zipper and corner strings
 
Cons
  • Does not come with Futon!

Conclusion

I think if you’ve got the money, it’s worth investing in a hand made Kotatsu blanket from Etsy and then putting it into your favorite cover. Aliexpress has a lot of cute options, if you’re into something with, say, kawaii cats, or more modern designs. In many ways, it will all come down to the size you require and your personal preferences. Happy Kotatsu-ing!

If you are after a complete Kotatsu set, we have a page outlining those here. If you need a new kotatsu heater for your Japanese heated table, look here.

If you are looking at what you might want to combine your table with in the room, we have a post on the Japanoscope Japanese Home Decor page.

For a look at what you can sit at the table take a look at our Zabuton cushion page.

Phew, so much comfort!

Japanoscope is a registered affiliate with several online shops and may receive a commission when you click on some of the links within content.

About the reviewer

I’m Peter Head. I have succesfully completed the  highest level of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (N1). I lived in Japan for four years as a student and on working holiday.  I have toured the country six times playing music and singing songs in Japanese and English.

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