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Even though Japan is a great place to live, not everyone likes every aspect of life in the country. Dishes like grilled eel and organ skewers are pretty polarizing, as is the public transportation system, which is clean and punctual, but crowded and shuts down early.

I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone, though, who doesn’t love Japan’s heated tables, called kotatsu, so more than a few people will be happy about these three ways to get even more out of Japan’s coziest piece of furniture.

At first glance, a kotatsu looks like any other table. Take a peek at the underside, though, and you’ll notice it’s fitted with a heater. Traditional kotatsu aren’t designed with a lot of clearance though, and the lack of back support while sitting on the floor can offset a lot of the comfort from your legs being nice and warm.

An easy fix for this, provided you’ve got enough room, is to set up a kotatsu sofa.

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By spreading out this rug with attached cushions, not only do you give yourself something to lean back against, but you also provide your backside with a little extra padding.

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The sofa sets are available in both three and two-sided versions, and with floor-covering thicknesses of both 15 and 40 millimeters (0.6 and 1.6 inches). Prices from online retailer Rakuten start at 29,800 yen (US $260), and according to the manufacturer’s ads, “It’s so comfortable you won’t be able to make yourself get out.”

▼ We could see ourselves happily spending all winter like this.

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Not everyone has the floor space for a kotatsu sofa in cramped Japan, though. Even worse, if you’ve got one of those single-use kotatsu we spotted last January, all of that empty seating capacity would just make you feel even lonelier. Besides, if you’ve only got yourself to worry about, you can afford to treat yourself to something a little more deluxe, anyway.

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Kotatsu are usually fitted with a blanket that traps heat beneath the table. Unfortunately, this still leaves you vulnerable to cold air assaulting you from the sides and behind. Couple a kotatsu with this blanketed chair that has an electric heater inside, and you’ll be kept warm up to your hips and lower back.

Like we mentioned above, on a cold winter’s day, kotatsu feel so good it can be hard to talk yourself into leaving one. That’s why many people take naps in their kotatsu, and with this stylish version, you won’t have to crawl out for meals, either.

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While some people in Japan still eat while sitting on the floor, it’s becoming more and more common to sit around a table for meals, especially in more affluent households. Unlike standard low kotatsu, this 37,692-yen ($327) version, available from Cecile, has enough room to use with full-sized chairs or benches.

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So flip the switch, chow down on your favorite hot pot dinner, and settle in for a cozy, toasty winter. Just go easy on the after-dinner green tea, because even though Japan has figured out ways to eat and sleep with your legs tucked into the kotatsu, there are some life functions you still have to step away from it for.

Source: Naver Matome
Top image: M3Q
Insert images: Nico Blomaga, Rakuten, Seesaa, Cecile