Best kotatsu cafés and restaurants in Tokyo

Dine at tables with 'heated blankets' in the middle of winter – these kotatsu-equipped cafés, bars and restaurants will keep you warm and toasty
Ryogoku Terrace Cafe | Time Out Tokyo
By Kunihiro Miki |
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As Japanese houses aren’t exactly well insulated and central heating has yet to make inroads, the kotatsu is an absolutely essential piece of furniture for surviving the chilly season. It’s basically a low table with a small heater underneath and a blanket draped over it; you’re supposed to slip your lower body into the contraption, close the ‘curtains’ and just take in the fuzzy feeling. A larger kotatsu can fit an entire family; it's similar to sitting together around a campfire – without the flying soot or the hassle of maintaining the fire, of course. Other than buying one for your home, your best shot for experiencing it is at a kotatsu-equipped café, bar or izakaya. Here are five of our favourites in or near Tokyo.

Top five kotatsu restaurants and bars

Restaurants, Cafés

Cafe Stay Happy

icon-location-pin Shimokitazawa

A self-proclaimed ‘kotatsu café’, Stay Happy in Shimokitazawa is run by a cosmopolitan, English-speaking Japanese couple who travelled the world before opening their comfy base. They’ve got hammocks, communal tables and around half a dozen kotatsu for your snuggling pleasure.

Bars and pubs, Izakaya

Bunbuku

icon-location-pin Mitaka

It’s a little out of the way in Mitaka – and a five-minute walk from the station – but the Bunbuku izakaya is worth the trip. After all, where else can you sit outside under a kotatsu while indulging in rich nabe and appetisers that go superbly with beer?

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Restaurants, Cafés

Tsubame Cafe

icon-location-pin Kamakura

An organic-focused casual eatery occupying an old house in historic Kamakura, Tsubame serves great matcha tea and has tatami mat seating – complete with kotatsu for those chilly winter evenings. 

Restaurants, Japanese

Ryogoku Terrace Café

icon-location-pin Ryogoku

Boasting nine horigotatsu, or kotatsu with a sunken floor to dangle your feet in, Ryogoku Terrace Café combines the heating pleasures of the kotatsu with the warm goodness of nabe. It’s a very popular spot, so consider booking in advance.

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Bars and pubs, Izakaya

Totoshigure Shimokitazawa

icon-location-pin Shimokitazawa

This seafood-focused backstreet izakaya in Shimokitazawa is noteworthy mostly for the ample variety of seating options it offers. You can choose to nibble on sashimi and swig beers on floor cushions indoors, or opt for the stylish open-air seats up front – some of which are turned into kotatsu seats in winter.

Try some oden, too

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