Japan has an image of hot and humid summers, so probably some of you think that winters shouldn’t be that cold, especially when we are talking about Kanto or Kyushu, but you can’t be more wrong.

I used to live in Aomori and is true that in that area of Japan and more in North, in Hokkaido, winters are long, cold and snowy.

However, Hokkaido at least has good central heating, thick walls, and architecture, buildings suited for the cold, therefore inside the house is super warm and cozy. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about other places. I currently live in Kanto and I feel that houses feel colder than outside and there is no gas heater or central heating, so you have to gaman (endure) the cold by using Air conditioner(if you have one).

My throat is not a big fan of air conditioner and I can’t even say it gets very warm even by using it (not to mention the bills that come at the end of the month!), so I had to find other replacements.

Here are some of the recommendations from the winter benri (convenient) items category I like using:

1. Kotatsu

When some of my non-Japanese friends came to visit me and saw the kotatsu, they were really confused and didn’t understand why I have a small table with a blanket on top in the middle of my apartment.

Some might be mistaken and think that’s all it is to the kotatsu, but in fact, this amazing part of the Japanese culture is the best item you can have in your house, especially during cold winters.

During winter, you cover the wooden table with a futon, and then put a top table on top. But of course, that’s not what makes it warm and cozy. The secret lies underneath where you will discover the source of heat, nowadays electric is usually built into the table.

You plug it in and switch the button on whenever you are cold. With the kotatsu, a cup of hot cocoa with marshmallows on top and your favorite show on Netflix, winter days will become your favorite.

When it gets hotter, you can simply remove the cords and blanket and use it as a table.

2. Electric Heater

Even though you won’t find central heating, you can still buy an Electric Heater from an electronics store. You can find lots of types, different sizes, and shapes and it is a good purchase for winter. However, be careful not to stay /fall asleep to close to it. I did that once and woke up with scars the next day.

3. Kairo- The pocket warmers

Kairo are heating pads filled with either liquid or powder and can be carried around wherever you go.

I tend to put them in my pockets or my shoes because my hands and feet are always cold, so these pocket warmers come in handy.

You need to shake it and it will gradually get warm.

4. Heat tech

The HEATTECH collection is a lineup of innerwear that keeps you warm in winter. You can find it in Uniqlo, Muji or GU and I recommend it.

Besides the innerwear, you can also look for jeans, leggings, socks, and underwear that keep you warm during cold weather. The material it’s made of and the heattech technology convert the kinetic energy into heat and keep you warm.

5. Electric blankets (denki moufu)

In case you don’t possess a heater, then electric blankets are the solution. Turn it on half an hour before sleeping or before using it and will keep you warm during the night.

In Japan, there are lots of products to help you get through the cold winter and besides the one above, you can also find hot eye masks, electric footbath items(some even have massage options and help good circulation while warming up your feet), electronic goods to warm up your feet and hands, etc.

If you live in a cold country or come to Japan during winter, you might want to consider trying out a few of the items introduced in this article.

By - cinnamonellie.