Artificial Japanese Maple Tree Guide

If you’re like me, and you’ve spent many years wandering around the Japanese countryside and through its gardens, you’ll know how beautiful a Japanese Maple Tree is. They have the ability to add vibrant splashes of color into a more or less uniform palette of green. 

In Japan, this contrast of colors is enjoyed both on the large and the small scale. Often, Japanese garden design, and Japanese Home Decor, are actively trying to mimic, or recreate, or pay homage to the way nature itself presents itself. So may see a whole mountainside that presents a patchwork of autumnal hues mixed with evergreens. The people that live in the surrounding areas may try to achieve an effect in their own gardens that reference this. They may do this by having smaller versions of these trees in the form of Bonsai, or incorporate Japanese Maple Trees in their own gardens.

Of course, as always, the greatest effect is going to be achieved by going through the effort of sourcing, looking after, and shaping a real tree in a real garden, or within the home. But, for many, this just isn’t feasible amidst the business of a modern day lifestyle. The answer for many is using a combination of real and faux plants to create an effect that is striking, but not so hard to maintain. An artificial Japanese Maple Tree is a case in point, and has the added advantage of allowing you to “maintain” your tree at the perfect point in its aesthetic life cycle the whole year round.

With that in mind, here are some of our favourite artificial maple trees on the market.

Japanoscope uses affiliate links. Which means we may receive commisions when you click on some product links. We only link to products we believe in, use ourselves or think are genuinely good. This helps us keep all of the content on the site free of charge. As Monty Python once said, “We’re selling records in the foyer. Some of us have gotta eat too you know”.

Who is behind this site?

I’m Peter Joseph Head. I lived in Japan for four years as a student at Kyoto City University of the Arts doing a Masters Degree, have toured the country six times playing music and speak Japanese (JLPT N1).

ピータージョセフヘッドです。4年間京都市立芸大の大学院として日本に住み、6回日本で音楽ツアーをし、日本語能力試験で1級を取得しました。要するに日本好きです。

Best Japanese Throw Pillows 2021

My Favorite Japanese Cushions for the Couch!

Japanoscope uses affiliate links. Which means we may receive commisions when you click on some product links. We only link to products we believe in, use ourselves or think are genuinely good. This helps us keep all of the content on the site free of charge. As Monty Python once said, “We’re selling records in the foyer. Some of us have gotta eat too you know”.

Japanese Storage

From my earliest years of going to Japan as a teenager, I was struck by the way that Japanese people used space. Showers & bath

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Japanese Essays – Inamoto

What’s the difference between “trying to make people smile” and “trying to make people not want to criticize you”? Find out in this translation of Japanese essay by Inazo Inamoto.

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Happi Coats Guide 2021

Info about those groovy, colorful happi coats and traditional Japanese jackets you see in Japan. Different types of jappi jacket, where to buy and more.

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David Bowie Space Oddity 和訳 in Japanese

Deniさんがデヴィッド・ボウイの曲「スペイス・オディティ」を日本語に訳しました。
その歌を翻訳するにあたって難しかったところ、また日本語と英語の歌詞の違いなどについて話をしました。
Ever wondered what Bowie’s Space Oddity lyrics would be in Japanese? Probably not. But we tell you anyway.
We go through and translate the song line by line, and discuss what it all means – in Japanese.

Read More »

Who is behind this site?

I’m Peter Joseph Head. I lived in Japan for four years as a student at Kyoto City University of the Arts doing a Masters Degree, have toured the country six times playing music and speak Japanese (JLPT N1). I’ve written songs in Japanese and have released several albums through Tokyo label Majikick Records.

ピータージョセフヘッドです。4年間京都市立芸大の大学院として日本に住み、6回日本で音楽ツアーをし、日本語能力試験で1級を取得しました。要するに日本好きです。

Slackers Ninja Line For Families 2021

I’ve got kids that love to climb. So I recently bought them a Slackers Ninja Line, and it’s been a big hit with them. 

It was a god send during the COVID lockdown where they were out there swinging on it every day. 

What is a slackline?

 

If you are unfamiliar with the whole concept. A slackline is basically a piece of super robust material that you stretch out really tightly between a couple of trees. You use a ratchet to make it so taught that you can either walk across it or hang from it. If you have two of them, one over the other, you can do both. 

 

Slackers Ninja Line For The Family

 

The great thing about the Slacker Ninja Line is that you have all sorts of bits and bobs that you can attach to it to make a little Ninja Obstacle Course. The various bars, swing ropes and loops can be moved around to create your own variations.

My daughter in particular is super into monkey bars and climbing, and this slack line with it’s hanging apparatus basically lets her do many of the things she would do in a playground. We were originally looking at getting some monkey bars, but Slackers Ninja Line is much cheaper, and fulfills the purpose a treat. 

The other big plus is that the slack line is totally portable. Loosen the ratchet and you can take it anywhere. Our family loves to camp, so it has been great to take to the greater outdoors and set up around the campsite. It tends to come into its own as a focus point for kids to congregate around and play together.

The first time I set it up it took a little fiddling around, but once I got the hang of it was simple enough.

The “Ninja” side of things is fairly arbitrary, but was nice for us, being a mixed Japanese-western family that likes to incorporate Japanese-influenced stuff into our lifestyle.

Here are some picture of the Slackline in our backyard.

Japanoscope uses affiliate links. Which means we may receive commisions when you click on some product links. We only link to products we believe in, use ourselves or think are genuinely good. This helps us keep all of the content on the site free of charge. As Monty Python once said, “We’re selling records in the foyer. Some of us have gotta eat too you know”.

Japanese Storage

From my earliest years of going to Japan as a teenager, I was struck by the way that Japanese people used space. Showers & bath

Read More »

Japanese Essays – Inamoto

What’s the difference between “trying to make people smile” and “trying to make people not want to criticize you”? Find out in this translation of Japanese essay by Inazo Inamoto.

Read More »

Happi Coats Guide 2021

Info about those groovy, colorful happi coats and traditional Japanese jackets you see in Japan. Different types of jappi jacket, where to buy and more.

Read More »

David Bowie Space Oddity 和訳 in Japanese

Deniさんがデヴィッド・ボウイの曲「スペイス・オディティ」を日本語に訳しました。
その歌を翻訳するにあたって難しかったところ、また日本語と英語の歌詞の違いなどについて話をしました。
Ever wondered what Bowie’s Space Oddity lyrics would be in Japanese? Probably not. But we tell you anyway.
We go through and translate the song line by line, and discuss what it all means – in Japanese.

Read More »

Best Japanese coffee makers of 2021

You may have seen some weird and wiggy Coffee Makers on your last trip to Japan. Generally, they are huge fans of the drip style coffee. But often they are not satisfied with your ever day, manual drip. They like to slow things down a little, make the process something of a science. Indeed many Japanese coffee makers look like contraptions that wouldn’t be out of place in a science laboratory beside the beaker and the bunsen burner. This style of coffee is especially associated with the Kyoto coffee makers. Kyoto has always had a reputation for needing to be more refined than the rest of the country, so why should coffee be any different?

So here is our list of our favorite Japanese Coffee Makers of 2021.

Types Of Japanese Coffee Makers

There are three main types of coffee makers that Japan is generally more well known for Siphon, Drip Filter or Cold Brew.

Japanese Siphon (or Syphon or Vacuum) Coffee Makers

Japan is well known for making high quality Siphon or Vacuum style coffee makers. 

This style of coffee making turns the whole experience into something like a science experiment you used to at school with Bunsen burners and beakers. It was originally invented in Germany in the 19th century, and it feels like it reflects the ideas we have around German scientific efficiency of the time (and the ideas of modern Japanese efficiency too). 

It’s not the way you would go about making coffee every single time you want a cup, but it’s a great way to make a fine drop, using some fancy contraptions when you have guests or just want to do something special. 

I want go through the whole process here but you can see someone doing it real time in this video.

The upshot is that you heat liquid in a container below, which rises up to a container above. You then put ground coffee in the liquid at the top, which again filters back down to the bottom after you turn the heat off, leaving you with your brew. Phew. Probably the most well known Japanese Coffee Maker brank for siphon or vacuum coffee is Hario.

Japanese Drip Filter Coffee Makers

Drip coffee is probably the most popular way of making coffee in Japan.  Based around the idea of pouring hot water through ground coffee placed over a pot or cup, this style of coffee is, logically, also referred to as pour-over-coffee making. It can also be referred to as the Melitta process, after the 1908 German inventor of this style of coffee making, Melitta Bentz.

These coffee makers can be further divided into manual and automatic systems: 

Drip Filter Cones

The most simple kind of Drip coffee maker is the filter cone. The material of the cone can add various flavor colors to the coffee depending on what you use (metal, porcelain, paper etc.)

Once again, Japanese Hario Cones are generally pretty good.

Automatic Drip Coffee Makers

This is the easy way to do it. With this style of coffee being so popular around the world, you couldn’t say that Japan leads the way in this style of coffee maker. But with Japan being a country with a love of both drip coffee and technology, there are quite a few Automatic Drip Coffee Makers from Japanese brands including PanasonicTiger and Siroca.

Japanese Cold Brew Coffee Makers

Japanese cold brew coffee makers are also among some of the finest in the world. Personally, I love having a cold coffee on hand in the fridge at all times, partly because it saves you having to go through the whole coffee making process every single time you want a quick brew.

Japan has some serious cold brew apparatus. In particular, the multi-level “Kyoto” style brewing systems are spectacular. They make an event out of the coffee making process, but they’re not cheap…

If you want something eye-popping, and you willing to pay the price for a top line Japanese Coffee Maker, go for the Yama. Or a siphon. If you want something simple that is practical to use every day, go for the cone filter that you can just pour water over the top.

Whichever way you go, it’s hard to go wrong with any of the makers listed here.

Japanoscope uses affiliate links. Which means we may receive commisions when you click on some product links. We only link to products we believe in, use ourselves or think are genuinely good. This helps us keep all of the content on the site free of charge. As Monty Python once said, “We’re selling records in the foyer. Some of us have gotta eat too you know”.

Japanese Storage

From my earliest years of going to Japan as a teenager, I was struck by the way that Japanese people used space. Showers & bath

Read More »

Japanese Essays – Inamoto

What’s the difference between “trying to make people smile” and “trying to make people not want to criticize you”? Find out in this translation of Japanese essay by Inazo Inamoto.

Read More »

Happi Coats Guide 2021

Info about those groovy, colorful happi coats and traditional Japanese jackets you see in Japan. Different types of jappi jacket, where to buy and more.

Read More »

David Bowie Space Oddity 和訳 in Japanese

Deniさんがデヴィッド・ボウイの曲「スペイス・オディティ」を日本語に訳しました。
その歌を翻訳するにあたって難しかったところ、また日本語と英語の歌詞の違いなどについて話をしました。
Ever wondered what Bowie’s Space Oddity lyrics would be in Japanese? Probably not. But we tell you anyway.
We go through and translate the song line by line, and discuss what it all means – in Japanese.

Read More »

Best Japanese Christmas Decorations and Ornaments of 2021

Well I guess when you think of Christmas, sushi aren’t the first things to come to mind. But if you’re a fan of the Japanese aesthetic, well, why shouldn’t you have a bit of Rising Sun all year round?

There are a range of Japanese ornaments from the quirky, to the classy, traditional and modern.

Small lanterns can compliment the Christmas lights. Japanese wrapping paper, even anime wrapping paper, can bring a new accent to the space beneath the tree. Or you can go environmentally friendly and dispense with the wrapping paper altogether by using a Japanese “furoshiki” patterned cloth to wrap your presents. 

You can compliment your Japanese Christmas tree decorations with a whole other glowing sakura tree if you want to. You can beef up your Christmassy Japanese decor with a Japanese table runner.

Once you start thinking beyond the traditional “western Christmas” box, it opens up a whole new field of Eastern inspired possibilities. 

Here are some Japanoscope picks for a Japanese Christmas in 2021!

If you are looking for Japanese inspired gifts, see our Japanese Gifts for Him and Japanese Gifts For Her pages.

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.

Kotatsu Heater Guide

Kotatu Heaters

こたつヒーター

Kotatsu Heater Guide

So maybe you love Kotatsu but you don’t want to fork out for a whole ready made set up. Maybe you like DIY projects. Or perhaps you already have a Kotatsu but the heater has stopped working. Rather than buy the whole thing all over again, you may be thinking it’s better just to change over the heater.

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.

If you’re interested in complete Kotatsu sets, check our page here.

How To Make Your Own Kotatsu

Well, you can always just grab a Kotatsu heater and attach it to the frame of a table and put a piece of wood on top.

Another easy way to make your own Kotatsu is to use any kind of table that has a shelf built into it underneath. You can take off the shelf part and swap to using it as a table top, with a blanket or futon sandwiched beneath it and the original table top. The most popular choice for this is the Ikea Lack, because it has short legs, a shelf that can easily be put on top of the table top, and is readily available from a range of locations.

You can see instructions on this here.

IKEA Lack

This is probably the most popular used for doing an easy Kotatsu conversion.

How To Change Over A Kotatsu Heater

Find the size of the frame that holds your current Kotatsu’s heater

Since the year 2000, Kotatsu heater sizes have largely been standardised at 29 x 29cm. Some Kotatsu frames are 33x33cm, but most heaters will come with a space filler so that you can still fit your 29x29cm heater. 

From there it’s really just a matter of unscrewing a couple of screws on each side of the heater and slotting in the new one. For most Kotatsu, the whole procedure shouldn’t take you longer than around 10 minutes.

This site has more information in Japanese that you can hit translate on if you want.

How To Choose A Kotatsu Heater

Size

In addition to making sure your Kotatsu heater is the right size to fit your table frame, you also need to make sure that the heat the heater emits matches the general size of your Kotatsu set. Generally speaking, kotatsu sizes don’t vary so significantly that you need to worry about it too much. 

The other thing to look out for is how thick the unit is. Obviously, the thicker it is, the more it sticks out under the table and the more annoying it will be. So thinner is better. Sizes range from 4cm (1.5 inches) on the slim side to about 7-8cm (around 3 inches) for thicker kotatsu heaters.

 

Wattage

Wattage is related to sizes. Wattages are most commonly around the 600w mark, which is generally sufficient for most Kotatsu.

 

Be aware there are some smaller Kotatsu Heater units that are made specifically for single person Kotatsu applications that are as low as 100w. These are not going to be warm enough for a family size Kotatsu.

 

One advantage of lower wattage Kotatsu heaters is that you can leave them running for a long time, perhaps coming and going from the kotatsu, and not have to worry too much about power costs. Some people also say they have greater peace of mind by using a lower wattage kotatsu heater because they worry less about the worry of fires.

Of course the best way to get the best of both worlds is to have a Kotatsu with an adjustable heat dial, which most modern units have.

 

Quartz Vs. Halogen Kotatsu Heaters

Both Quartz and Halogen are good options for Kotatsu heaters. Generally speaking, halogen heaters are more energy efficient and longer lasting than Quartz. If you want to read about the details of the difference between quartz and halogen check out this article.

Do kotatsu heater casings get hot enough to burn?

Kotatsu heaters are specifically designed to not get so hot that they will burn. Make sure you get a heater that is specifically made for a Kotatsu. 

That being said, it is possible to sustain a low level temperature burn if you leave your body on a heated surface for extended periods of time.

Is a kotatsu a fire hazard?

 

Kotatsu do not represent a significant fire hazard if used correctly. Modern Kotatsu generally have automatic temperature adjustment functionality. In 2017, there were four reports from the Tokyo Fire Department of fires linked to the use of Kotatsu. 

There have been cases where incorrect use of Kotatus has led to fires. These are often associated with different items being pushed inside the Kotatus cavity, such as laundry or flammable items that can ignite if in contact with the heating apparatus too long.

The top things to be aware of when using a Kotatsu from a safety perspective are:

 

(1) Keep cushions and clothes out of the kotatsu

(2) Don’t put furniture on the power cord

(3) Arrange a cord in a way that it is not constantly getting stepped on and damaged

(4) Prevent dust from accumulating on the heater of the electric kotatsu, which can build up and become flammable over time

(5) Turn off the power when not using the kotatsu

 

As with any kind of heating, using a kotatsu demands a level of awareness.

Can you burn yourself on a kotatsu?

It is possible to sustain low temperature burns from long contact with a kotatsu heating apparatus.

Low temperature burns are those caused by heat sources below 60 ° C. For every 1 degree increase in temperature, the time it takes to get a low temperature burn is roughly halved. If you were to touch something at 44 ° C for 6 hours, you run the risk of getting a low temperature burn.

Low-temperature burns tend to cause burns that run deeply into the skin. Legs, ankles, and heels are particularly susceptible to low-temperature burns as these areas of the body do not perceive pain as acutely as others and often have poor blood circulation. 

This means people should take care in spending too long in a Kotatsu, such as sleeping for long periods of time.

Do you need a Power Converter for a Kotatsu heater?

It is possible to use a 100v Japanese Kotatsu in the U.S. which has 120v power, but it is not recommended. This is because the device will tend to overheat if you turn it up higher than its lowest operating levels. Some people do it, but you need to balance up the  slight inconvenience of using a power converter with the risk you are taking of using a device with a power source it was not designed for.

What converter would you use for a kotatsu heater

Voltage in Japan is 100v, so if you buy a Japanese made Kotatsu you would need a power converter or transformer to convert to 120v for North America, 230v for Central Europe or 240v for Australia.

Metro 600w Kotatsu Heater

A reliable, standard slim size Kotatsu Heater. Hard to go wrong with this one.
Pros
Standard Size fits most modern kotatsu 29cm x 29cm
Easy install with screwdriver
Slim depth at 4.1 cm (1.6 inches)
U-shaped quartz tube heater heats the square space completely
Heat level controller
3m cord
Efficient power usage. High = about 180 Wh, Low = about 70 Wh

Cons
Needs 600w power converter
No remote control

YAMAZEN kotatsu Heater Unit 510w

Pros

Simple, functional heater.

  • Standard Size fits most modern kotatsu 29cm x 29cm
  • Includes fan for distributing heatEasy install with screwdriver
  • Moderately slim depth at 5.8cm (2.28 inches)
  • U-shaped quartz tube heater heats the square space completely
  • Temperature regulation: temperature control knob stepless variable (body)
  • 3m cord
  • Efficient power usage. High = about 180 Wh, Low = about 70 Wh

Cons

  • Temperature controller design very basic
  • Needs power converter
    No remote control

Morita Kotatsu Heater 600W

Japanese brand Kotatsu heater designed for Chinese market

Pros

  • Standard Size fits most modern kotatsu 29cm x 29cm
  • No-tool installation
  • Medium slim depth at 5 cm (2 inches)
  • Heat level controller

Cons

  • Heat level controller on device body is difficult to access
  • Needs power converter
  • No remote control

METRO one person kotatsu MPQ-100 (N)

A uniquely designed single person Kotatsu heater that you can slip under and blanket for an instant, simple Kotatsu experience.

Pros

  • No set up required
  • Use with just about any blanket
  • Beautiful wooden design

Cons

  • Very low wattage 100w
  • Only works for very small spaces such as under a one person blanket

So if you need to change over you Kotatsu Heater, or want to make your own. Don’t fret, it’s not so hard. Grab any of the heaters above and give it a burl.

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.

If you’re interested in complete Kotatsu sets, check our page here.

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

Who is behind this site?

I’m Peter Joseph Head. I lived in Japan for four years as a student at Kyoto City University of the Arts doing a Masters Degree, have toured the country six times playing music and speak Japanese (JLPT N1). I’ve written songs in Japanese and have released several albums through Tokyo label Majikick Records.

ピータージョセフヘッドです。4年間京都市立芸大の大学院として日本に住み、6回日本で音楽ツアーをし、日本語能力試験で1級を取得しました。要するに日本好きです。

Kotatsu Sets Japanese Kotatsu Tables

Kotatsu Sets

こたつセット

Women sitting at a Japanese Kotatsu Table

Across centuries, the Kotatsu has been the traditional gathering point for families relaxing and keeping warm together. Sure, central heating is good, but there is nothing like a central point where loved ones come together to stave off the elements. They are also relatively cost efficient. I’m going to aim at answering all of the most commonly asked questions about Kotatsu tables and Japanese heated tables and then introduce some of the best ones available to purchase online. Let’s start by looking at some of the picks for Kotatsu sets.

If you are wanting to see more information about Japanese tables generally see the Japanoscope JAPANESE TABLES PAGE, or to see what you can combine your table with in a room, check out the Japanoscope JAPANESE HOME DECOR page. For a look at what you can sit at the table take a look at our ZABUTON CUSHIONS page.

If you want to find out about just the heater part of these Kotatsu units, take a look at the KOTATSU HEATERS Page.

If you want to see more about KOTATSU BLANKETS AND KOTATSU FUTON look here.

#1 Wood Top Kotatsu Set

120 x 75 x 38cm

A family-size genuine wood top Kotatsu from Amazon Japan.

Pros

  • Large 120cm long size
  • Fits four people
  • Genuine wood top

Cons

  • Page on Amazon Japan is in Japanese – but can be translated using Google translate

#2 Stylish LZG Kotatsu Set

75x75x37cm.

Unlike the vast majority of Kotatsu covers, this one actually looks really stylish and can be a value adding element in your lounge room. Size-wize it suits one -two people.

Pros

  • Stylish Kotatsu Futon design
  • All-in-one set
  • Simple and stylish when used as a normal table
  • Blanket compact when folded
  • Non-slip, washable materials
  • Temperature adjustable

Cons

  • Table protrubes quite a lot, making it more prone to being bumped
  • On the small side if used with two people

#3 Damedai Wooden Rectangular Kotatsu Set

105×75cm, Height: 40cm

With a wooden table that is stylish with or without the Kotatsu add ons, this is a solid versatile option.

Pros

  • Stylish table design
  • All-in-one set
  • Slim heater with protected element
  • Adjustable heat
  • Warm, fluffy blanket

Cons

  • Cat designed blanket won’t suit all
  • No adjustable legs for storage

#4 Classic SquareTwo Person Kotatsu Set

75cm square

This classic square Kotatsu set is traditional with a patchwork design.

Pros

  • Traditional Patchwork Blanket
  • All-in-one set
  • Good size and shape for two people
  • Classic table design
  • Solid wood legs

Cons

  • Plywood top
  • Non-folding or adjustable legs

What is a Kotatsu?

A Kotatsu is a Japanese table with a heater attached to it’s underside that warms up a space enclosed by a blanket underneath.

In other words, a Kotatsu is as close a place as there is to heaven on earth.

Modern and traditional Kotatsu set up

What’s good about a Kotatsu?

Relatively cost efficient – rather than heating up a whole house, you just heat up one confined space

  • Bring people together in one central location. Board games anyone?
  • They combine the most comforting things in the world, heating, bedding and eating. That’s a pretty potent combo.
  • They double as an ordinary old coffee table in the warm months

Where did the Kotatsu come from anyway?

People in Japan traditionally sat around an open fire pit in the middle of the house called an irori. You can get a more complete history of the Kotatsu from wikipedia but the short answer is that people started putting a blanket over the hot coals in the pit to trap heat to make a kind of mini sauna to keep warm in winter.

How to buy a Kotatsu outside of Japan

There are several major stores including Kotatsu on Amazon, or for a lot more choice you can check these Kotatsu on Amazon Japan that offer international shipping. In some cases, Aliexpress’ Kotatsu page has Kotatsu listed at prices much lower than you see in other places. All these sights list Kotatsu sets, Kotatsu heaters or Kotatsu blankets/futons. 

How much does a kotatsu cost?

Generally speaking, complete sets of a table with heater, a mat and blanket start from around $600, generally you’re going to need to spend a $1000 or for good quality items.

Kotatsu in a room next to a futon

Kotatsu set or mix and match table/heater/futon

There are a couple of routes to take. You can either: 

  1. Purchase a complete set, with all the blankets, table and heating apparatus together, or 
  2. Find and combine the different pieces together yourself. 

Both of these methods have pluses as minuses. Obviously buying as a complete set is easier. But the drawback is that you don’t get as much control over the design and feel. Maybe you like the table but not the design or vica versa. Maybe you have a table and you want to put a floor style Kotatsu heater underneath it, or attach one to on the underside of the tabletop. 

You will find that if you look through the Amazon Japan store and search for items that include international shipping, the options for Kotatsu futons and blankets is a lot wider than if you only look on an international store or restrict yourself to sets. 

It all depends on how particular are and how you much effort you want to put in to mixing and matching. Considering a Kotatsu is likely to be something that is in your household for many years, it is probably worth taking the time to get something you’re really happy with!

What Size Kotatsu Do I need?

Kotatsu For One Person

Recommended size: 60cm x 40cm

60cm on the sides and 40cm depth gives you enough room for using a computer, reading, eating etc.

Kotatsu For Two People 

Recommended size:  75-80cm Square, Rectangle on the Long side 90-105cm

A square is generally the best size for two people. 80cm is around optimal, 90cm if you want to stretch out.

Kotatsu For Three People 

Recommended size: 80-90cm Square Rectangle with 105 ~ 120cm on the long side

If you get something closer to 120cm you could comfortably use the kotatsu with 4 people, but you can get by with smaller

Kotatsu For Four People 

Recommended size: 90cm+ Square, Rectangle with  120 ~ 135cm on the long side

For two children and two adults, a width of 120 cm is about right. 

For four adults, you probably want something with a width of 135 cm.

Kotatsu Tables and Room Size

It’s the obvious things that sometimes get forgotten about when making a house purchase. Make sure you look at the measurements in proportion to your room size.

You want to leave enough room for people to freely pass around the Kotatsu, usually at least 60cm.

It is worth actually marking out the space, using a measuring tape, you plan to use your Kotatsu to see how it feels.

Also consider whether you plan to use your table for dining, obviously you’ll want more room at dining table than a table that you will be using more casually.

There are “space saving” style Kotatsu futons that help reduce some of the bulk created by the futon.

What size rug 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.

How tall is a kotatsu table?

If sitting unseated, on a carpet or rug, under a Kotatsu, the recommended table height is around 35 cm. Children will start to feel a Kotatsu as being too high around the 40 cm mark. If you plan to sit at a Kotatsu with a chair or floor sofa, it is best to allow another 5 to 10 cm and go for something around 40 – 45cm in height. So it is good to think about whether or not you plan to use chairs right from the start.

Of late, there are people that use their kotatsu in combination with fairly large sofa style cushions. In this case you may need an even higher Kotatsu of 50 cm or higher.

Some Kotatsu come with adjustable height mechanisms built into their construction.

Kotatsu Legs

There are three main types of Kotatsu legs:

  • Folding

Legs that have a hinge that make them foldable and, thus, easy to store away in the hotter months!

  • Fixed

Kotatsu heaters of late have started to become a lot smaller than in the past. This opens up the possibility of using your Kotatsu as a normal all-purpose table throughout the year. So having a table with fixed legs is, of course, no problem in this context.

  • Adjustable

Some Kotatsu have adjustable legs so you can raise the table higher or lower as your needs may be. This is actually more convenient than a lot of people may think as you may want to switch between using your kotatsu with or without it’s blanket or between using chairs and not using chairs over time or depending on the season. There’s nothing worse than feeling like you are being “squeezed in” to a tight sitting space!

Under The Kotatsu

Is a kotatsu a fire hazard?

Kotatsu do not represent a significant fire hazard if used correctly. Modern Kotatsu generally have automatic temperature adjustment functionality. In 2017, there were four reports from the Tokyo Fire Department of fires linked to the use of Kotatsu. 

There have been cases where incorrect use of Kotatus has led to fires. These are often associated with different items being pushed inside the Kotatus cavity, such as laundry or flammable items that can ignite if in contact with the heating apparatus too long.

The top things to be aware of when using a Kotatsu from a safety perspective are:

(1) Keep cushions and clothes out of the kotatsu

(2) Don’t put furniture on the power cord

(3) Arrange a cord in a way that it is not constantly getting stepped on and damaged

(4) Prevent dust from accumulating on the heater of the electric kotatsu, which can build up and become flammable over time

(5) Turn off the power when not using the kotatsu

As with any kind of heating, using a kotatsu demands a level of awareness.

Can you burn yourself on a kotatsu?

It is possible to sustain low temperature burns from long contact with a kotatsu heating apparatus.

Low temperature burns are those caused by heat sources below 60 ° C. For every 1 degree increase in temperature, the time it takes to get a low temperature burn is roughly halved. If you were to touch something at 44 ° C for 6 hours, you run the risk of getting a low temperature burn.

Low-temperature burns tend to cause burns that run deeply into the skin. Legs, ankles, and heels are particularly susceptible to low-temperature burns as these areas of the body do not perceive pain as acutely as others and often have poor blood circulation. 

This means people should take care in spending too long in a Kotatsu, such as sleeping for long periods of time.

What converter would you use for a kotatsu heater

Voltage in Japan is 100v, so if you buy a Japanese made Kotatsu you would need a power converter or transformer to convert to 120v for North America, 230v for Central Europe or 240v for Australia.

Power Converter

How do kotatsu work?

Kotatsu have a heating unit installed underneath the top table which heats up the space underneath the blanket and table top.

Most commonly, Quartz Tube Heating units are used. Halogen heaters are also popular due because they are quick to heat up. 

Heaters are relatively these days, especially in the flat heater type which aim at entirely doing away with any protrusion under the table whatsoever. Check out the Japanoscope Kotatsu Heater page for more information.

What blanket to use for a kotatsu?

There are basically three types of blanket, called futon, that people use with Kotatus in Japan; Thick (atsugake), thin (usugake) and space saving (sho-supesu).

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

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

Space savers have thin material at the corners so that they take up the least space.

Can you sleep under a kotatsu?

It is a widely held belief in Japan that sleeping in a kotatsu leads to catching a cold. This is a difficult phenomenon to study clinically, so there is little solid medical evidence to support the commonly held view. Theoretically there is plenty of medical evidence that links changes in body temperature with various ailments. So the idea that you sleep with half your body in a highly warm space and half in a cold space could lead to you being more susceptible to sickness has some logic to it in theory. The main concerns that have been voiced about sleeping under a kotatsu are:

  • Dehydration from sweating so much during the night leading ailments such as constipation.
  • Lower body temperature becomes higher than upper ⇒ sweating leads to dehydration ⇒ blood thickens ⇒ Blood clots form more easily ⇒ Increased risk of strokes or heart attack
  • Risk of burns from body parts resting against warm-hot surfaces over a long period of time.

How does kotatsu top stay on?

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.

What cushions to use with Kotatsu?

Kotatsu cushion or zabuton sizes are generally best at around 50 cm or more larger on each side than the width and depth of the kotatsu. This allows the cushion to be equal to the space that the blanket covers when hanging out from the kotatsu.

For a 80 cm x 80 cm square kotatsu, the cushion space should be about 180 cm x 180 cm.

It also depends on how much you want to sprawl out. If you want to lay down, you will, of course, need more cushioned space!

There are also Kotatsu that are designed to save space by eliminating any slack in the corners by draping. These have thick blanketing where you want warmth and thinner material at the edges and corners where thickness is not needed.

 

#5 BJ Design Chabudai-Style Round Kotatsu

75 x 75 x 38 cm

This classic chabudai-style Kotatsu Japanese floor table is made of high-quality luxury wood and is stylish enough that you can use it the whole year. It’s a great option if you are after a round table for one to two people. It a pinch, you could squeeze up to four people around up, but not particularly comfortably.

Pros

  • Stylish year round use
  • Circular design comfortably accommodates one to two people, can take up to four less comfortably
  • Includes a screw to keep table top in place
  • Easy to assemble.The table is easy to set up and can easily be assembled by anyone with no technical skills or tools. It features a temperature adjustment knob for the heater.
  • Bring your own favourite futon or kotatsu appropriate blanket
  • Power-efficient quartz tube heater.

Cons

  • Not a complete set, need to find own blanket/mat
  • On the small side if needed for family use
  • Need power converter

#6 Round Wooden Kotatsu

80cm diameter

This table has distinctive panel style legs that give it a modern feel. The circular table measures 80 centimeters in diameter, so would be best for around two people. It has a unique a double-decked table top which makes it relatively stable when used as a Kotatsu with a futon. The fitted heater is compact and easy to install

Pros
  • Double deck top adds stability to kotatsu
  • Compact and easy install heater
  • Modern looking, sturdy legs
  • Good size for two people
Cons
  • The legs are not collapsible
  • Not Japanese made

#7 Round Wooden Kotatsu

105×75cm, Height: 40cm

A Stylish Modern rectangular Kotatsu with table, futon and heater all included. With a long edge of 105cm, this Kotatsu is suitable for 3+ people.

Pros

  • Rounded edges are sleek, modern, and safe for children and adults alike
  • Perfect size for three person family, but also usable for four
  • Stylish wooden piece appropriate for use as a year-round table
  • Natural or dark finish available on wood

Cons

  • Relatively bulky
  • Non-removable legs
  • Requires power converter for most countries

Oh, and why are oranges associated with kotatsu?

Any talk of Kotatsu in Japan brings up the image of the family sitting around the table eating mandarin oranges and playing cards. So what gives with the oranges?

Mandarin oranges are good for keeping hydrated. A Kotatsu is a bit like a mini sauna, the hotter it is, the more you sweat. Oranges are sweet and juicy and in season in winter. And, you can’t rush an orange. It has to be peeled. Just as you can’t rush the Kotatsu experience, lounging around with family taking refuge from the harsh winter.

Hopefully this article has been able to answer all of your burning questions to do with Japanese kotatsu heated tables.  Any of the Kotatsu sets we have listed are solid options if you’re in the market. Buying a set is definitely the easiest way to go if you want to get started with a kotatsu easily. Things like blanket design are quite individual though, so you may want to consider going the mix and match route.

If you are wanting to see more information about Japanese tables generally see the Japanoscope Japanese tables page, or to see what you can combine your table with in a room, check out 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.

Heres to happy times getting toasty at the table!

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

Who is behind this site?

I’m Peter  Head. I lived in Japan for four years as a student at Kyoto City University of the Arts doing a Masters Degree, have toured the country six times playing music and speak Japanese (JLPT N1).

ピータージョセフヘッドです。4年間京都市立芸大の大学院として日本に住み、6回日本で音楽ツアーをし、日本語能力試験で1級を取得しました。要するに日本好きです。

Japanese Table and Chabudai Guide

Japanese Tables

ちゃぶ台

So maybe you’ve been to a Japanese restaurant and wondered about the Japanese floor tables that you’ve been seated at. Sitting around a low dining table or tatami table offers a whole new perspective on the world. Japanese dining tables, Japanese tea tables and Japanese folding tables are highly sought after for the modern minimalist aesthetics, making them very appealing in contemporary minimalistic settings. We answer most of the questions people have about Japanese tables below but let’s start by introducing a few of our favorites.

If you are wanting to see what you can combine your table with in a room, check out 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.

If you are looking for heated Japanese tables, we have a whole post on KOTATSU HERE.

#1 Deluxe Custom Japanese Table