執筆 上野陽子
2015/1 Up

第82回 日本の暖房事情
Vol. 82 Domestic heating systems in Japan

Can you describe what a kotatsu is in English?


* 赤い色の語句の上にマウスカーソルを移動させる(スマホの場合はタップする)と語注が表示されます

Traditional heating systems of Japan

Irori, hearths built into the floor, and hibachi, Japanese heating appliances that burned charcoal in a brazier, used to be common heating systems in Japan. In the Meiji Period, stove heaters that used charcoal and wood as fuel became popular heating systems. However, since Japanese houses were drafty, people also used smaller heaters, such as kotatsu, to warm their lower bodies, along with other heating systems. You can read in old Japanese books how people watched the flames as they warmed themselves.

Hibachi: A heating appliance that uses charcoal. Usually, the charcoal is placed inside a large china pot.
Irori: A cooking hearth built into the floor. Ash is spread inside the pit, and firewood is used for fuel. Along with helping to heat a home, people can boil water or grill fish.
Kotatsu: A warmer that used to use charcoal as fuel, but the modern ones have an infrared heater under the quilted-covered table.
Anka: A heating pad that is used in bed.


火鉢 :石炭を使った暖房器具。陶器製の鉢に石炭を入れて使い、部分的に暖める。

Kotatsu are used more in Okinawa than in Hokkaido!?

According to figures supplied by Weather Report, 75 percent of houses in Yamanashi prefecture have kotatsu heating. That is the highest rate in the country. Amazingly, only 23 percent of houses in Hokkaido have kotatsu, which 30 percent do in Okinawa. Many houses in Hokkaido have central heating, warms the whole house, so they don't need additional partial heating systems. On the other hand, 83 percent of houses in Hokkaido have oil heaters, while 50 percent in the Tohoku and Koshinetsu regions and 20 percent in the western part of Japan use them.


The main heating systems in Japan

These days, because of the high price of oil and the relative airtightness of apartments in Japan, people prefer electric heating, such as air conditioners, oil heaters, ceramic heaters and floor heating. In addition to these general home-heating systems, people use such appliances as electric carpets and kotatsu for localized heating. As part of efforts to help protect the environment, 66 percent of Japanese citizens try to save electricity.



A kotatsu is a Japanese leg warmer consisting of an infrared heater positioned under a quilt-covered table.

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