How to Make a Kotatsu Table?

If you find yourself in Japan during the Winter, you may come across the Kotatsu. If you have been invited for tea or a meal at a Japanese household, it is likely that you enjoyed that tea while warming your feet under a table. That table is called the Kotatsu. That is also cheap solution for people who are looking for cheap kotatsu.

What is a Kotatsu?

Kotatsu is a Japanese heating table that is made of a table frame covered by a heavy blanket or futon. There is a heat source under the table, this heat source is built into the table frame. In the past, the heat source was a charcoal brazier. In modern times, the heat source is now electric. Although Kotatsu is popular in Japan, there are similar heating devices in other countries. Iran has Korsi and Spain has Brasero.

How to Make Your Own Kotatsu Table?

You can make your own kotatsu table at home. Your family should enjoy some warmth while you share a happy family time during winter.

What do you need?

  1.  A coffee table: This table should have two surfaces. One beneath and the other surface should be the normal table surface. The legs of the table should be 36cm or 14.5” tall. If the legs are too short it will not be comfortable for people to stretch their feet under the table. One recommended table type is the Lack coffee table. It has a lower shelf that can be used to for the final table top.
  2. use Coffee table as frame

  3. Heating element: There is a heating device specially made for making kotatsu. You can get a kotatsu heater in most online shops. You can get one on Amazon (visit our homepage to see heating units). It is important to use a kotatsu heater because using other types of heaters can be risky. Kotatsu heaters are designed to be placed upside down and they do not need clearance as well. Some people tried using space heaters and it did not turn out well.
  4. use heating unit to warm table

  5. A heavy blanket: If you have an old king or queen size blanket, it will be just perfect for this. If you do not have one, you should buy one. Make sure you get a thick one.
  6. Get one queen size blanket

  7. A transformer: You will need a 120V to 100V outlet. If you are in Japan, you should get a 100V outlet and in North America, you will need a 120V outlet. The transformer should also be rated at least 500W.
  8. Heater voltage transformer

  9. You can also get pillows so that your guests can comfortably sit on the floor.
  10. 4 angles or L brackets: You can obtain these at any hardware store. Choose brackets that are compatible with the heater.
  11. L brackets to make table

  12. Screws or nails: You should also get screws or nails that fit the bracket.
  13. Electric drill: You will use this to drill the holes for attaching the heater to the table.
  14. Get Electric Drill Mechine for screws

If you don't have these instruments already, I recommend you to buy readymade Kotatsu from our homepage : .

How is it Done: Step by Step?

1. Attach the heater to the bottom of the table

This is the first step and it is the most time-consuming part of the process. You will need to turn the table upside down and then attach the heater. You will need to remove the lower part of the table before you begin to attach the heater. You can screw the four corners of the heater to the bottom of the table. You can also build a frame to secure the heater. For this, you will need hardwood. You need to measure the wood to the length of the bottom of the table. This is why you need a table with side frames. When you measure the wood, you can attach it under the table after you have placed your heater at the bottom. That means, your table will be upside down, the heater comes, then the wood follows to secure the heater. Then your Kotatsu table is ready.

attach heater with table

2. Throw your blanket or comforter over the table

This is simple, simply place the blanket over the table and it should be big enough to drape all over the table.

put blanket on the table

3. Arrange pillows or sitting positions

Make sitting positions for people to sit around the table. You can choose your method but it will be great if you will use pillows. At least, your family, guests, or friends will be more comfortable since they do not need to sit on hard floors.

table seats to sit around

4. Place serving trays on the blanket

Since it is a blanket or duvet on the table, you will not get a balanced surface to place your drinks any other stuff. You can place a serving tray in front of each side of the table. Your guests can place the drinks and plates on the tray when they have drinks or meals.

Some people place a wooden frame that is the size of the table on top of the blanket to make the table stable. You can also do that instead of using serving trays.

5. Finishing

Plug the transformer into the wall plug. Make sure that you have the right input voltage. You can then plug the heater into the plug and then turn on the heater.

Types of Kotatsu Tables

1. Kotatsu Square

squre table type of kotatsu

This table is similar to the Ikea table. The Ikea table is the most recommended option for making a kotatsu. However, it is expensive and it can be difficult to find. This table is made of plastic but it is very sturdy. It already comes with a 500 Watts heating system. It does not come with a battery although it needs batteries. This table is made for 120V, American Voltage. The size of this table is 29.5 by 29.5 by 14.5 inches. It is not heavy; it weighs 37lbs. The table is big enough for three to four people. If you are a family of 4, this table is ideal for you. The quality is impressive and it is durable.


  • It is light in weight and can be moved around easily.
  • Ideal for a small family.
  • It is made of high-quality materials.


  • There are problems with heating.
  • It does not come with a futon.

2. Azumaya Kotatsu folding table

azumaya table

This table does the job perfectly and it is also convenient for use. If your home does not have enough space, you can consider this because it comes with foldable legs. You can easily store it when you do not need it. You will definitely want to store it during summer and this table makes it easier. When you store it, it does not take up a lot of space. This table is not square so it can accommodate more than 4 people. if you have a large family, this table is a good option for you. The good thing is that this table is not only for Kotatsu, it is also great when used as a sitting lounge table. The table weighs 41.9lbs and the dimensions are 47.5 by 28.5 by 7.5 inches.


  • It is easy to store and does not take up lots of storage space.
  • It is multi-purpose; you can use it as a coffee table as well.
  • It is also light in weight.
  • The table used for this table looks very nice and rich.
  • It can accommodate more than four people.


  • It does not come with a futon.

3. Yamazen ESK – 751 (B)

gwilt tables

This table weighs 28.2lbs and the dimensions are 32.5 by 30 by 4 inches. This table comes with a 100 Volts heater that works with a 300 Watts is ideal for your needs. It can be used for up to 4 people. If you have a small family, you can go in for this table. It comes with an intermediate on and off switch that increases the convenience of use. The switch makes it one of the most preferred options for many Americans. The power cord is long; 3 meter- long and this makes it easy for you to connect your table to the nearest power plug.


  • It is sturdy and it is comfortable for use.
  • This table is reversible; you can change the color from dark grey to light grey and vice versa.
  • You can operate it like a plug and play; you do not need a transformer.


  • The packaging may not be great.

4. GWILT Rectangular

Yamazen ESK Table

If you want a table that can accommodate more than 4 people, this is a good option. The heater connected to this table comes with a one - year warranty which means that you do not need to worry about your heater for the next year. It also comes with a temperature gauge that helps you to adjust the temperature to your desire. This table has a luxurious and traditional look. It looks great irrespective of where you put it. It also comes with an on and off switch.


  • Big enough for 6 people.
  • It looks luxurious and elegant.
  • It comes with a gauge that can help you to adjust the temperature.


  • Not for single person.

In the Winter, this table will be a great idea if your heater runs on electricity. It is expensive to keep your heater every time. This can save you some cash.

What is Special About a Kotatsu?

Many foreigners who visit Japan wonder why households will not invest in heating systems instead of the Kotatsu? Many people from other advanced countries just install heating systems in their homes and they are covered for the Winter. They do not need to worry about the cold. Japan is a country that can afford to choose heating systems as well. Why do they stick to the old-fashioned Kotatsu? This must be special to maintain its spot in Japan homes all this time.

Many non- Japanese citizens who visit Japan during the Winter complain that Japan homes are colder than outside. The thing is that most parts of the country have a short Winter period. The summer comes with extremely hot temperatures and they want to make their homes as comfortable as they can.

Japanese do not care about home heating systems because they prefer other heating methods such as heated carpets, heated toilet seats, and the Kotatsu tables. They enjoy these things compared to getting a heating system. Using the Kotatsu is a great way to spend time with your family. You can watch movies or enjoy a meal time around Kotatsu.


The history of this heating system started in the Muromachi period in the fourteenth century. Back then, the Japanese cooked food using charcoal. They also heated their homes using the cooking hearth also called Irori. They introduced a seating platform that separated the cooking function of the Irori from its heating function. They placed a quilt on top of the wooden platform and this quilt trapped the heat that was coming from the charcoal burner.

Back then, the name of the now Kotatsu was Hori- kotatsu. The Hori means a ditch or digging. The ko means fire or touch. The Tatsu means a foot warmer.

The Hori- kotatsu was different from what is being maintained in recent times. In the past, they dug out space around the irori in a square shape. They made a hearth by placing the wooden platform around the dugout. Then the blanket was put on top of it. You can sit and put your legs under this to enjoy some warmth. This kotatsu was not moveable because of the dugout. The moveable one was later made from the concept of the hori- kotatsu.

With the new kotatsu, they placed the charcoal in the earthen pot and then it is placed on the tatami matting. The tatami matting allowed the kotatsu to be moved around. The new type of kotatsu was called Oki- gotatsu. The Oki means placement.

By the mid-twentieth century, the coal was replaced with an electric heat source. With the introduction of the electric heat source, you can now attach an electric heat source to the kotatsu frame. This made the kotatsu completely moveable.