5 Japanese Ways to Keep the Body Warm in Winter

Wellness on 12 Dec, 2019

5 Japanese Ways to Keep the Body Warm in Winter

Keeping your body warm in winter can be a struggle, and being in Japan is no exception. Its chilly temperatures depend on the region. You can get milder temperatures in the south of Japan, whereas temperatures in northern Japan can plummet to the sub-zeros.

Despite this, the Japanese know how to keep their bodies warm in winter. They have adapted to the freezing weather and even use minimal energy and resources to keep themselves feeling snug.


A traditional Japanese house has an engawa surrounding its edge. It resembles a sunroom to capture most of the winter sunlight. The heat is transferred to rooms nearby, keeping its occupants warm throughout winter.

An engawa is a strategic form of Japanese architecture as it is built according to seasons. It keeps you warm in the winter while also letting the breeze in during summer.

During summertime, on the other hand, the engawa doubles as a front porch. The doors slide open to let the summer breeze in. This type of architecture is very strategic as it allows adjacent rooms to be warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.

Kotatsu Table

Kotatsu is another brilliant Japanese invention to keep your legs warm. It is a heater tucked underneath a low table, which is then draped with a futon, or a thick quilt. Japanese people tuck their legs under the kotatsu blanket as they enjoy tea, read a book, or watch television. It keeps them warm and even makes for a cosy sanctuary to nap.

Kotatsu lets you nap in warmth


Kairo, also known as pocket warmers

If you want to keep your body warm in winter fast, kairo is a quick way to provide you warmth.

Kairo is essentially a pocket warmer filled with a gel-like substance, which heats up when you snap it. There are various types of Kairo—you can keep them in your pockets, stick them in between layers of clothes, or even store them in your shoes. Many eco-friendly versions are available, where Kairo can reactivate them in boiling water to use again. Kairo is a convenient tool that offers warmth and is available throughout Japanese convenience stores and pharmacies.

Winter Food

Cold weather in Japan calls for food to keep the body warm. This includes winter specialities, such as a Nabe hot pot, a warm bowl of Oden, or ramen.

Nabe is a Japanese-style hot pot with various ingredients like meat, vegetables and tofu cooked in a broth of your choice. This customisable dish is served in the same pot it was cooked in, with the stove still burning to ensure every bite is warm. In some Japanese supermarkets, you can find a section set aside for these nabe ingredients, which are already packed for convenience.

Another winter classic is Oden—a pot dish in a soy-flavoured dashi broth. It is usually eaten with various ingredients like radish, fishcakes, Atsuage, or deep-fried tofu and boiled eggs.

Oden Pot Dish


Soak in an Onsen

GSS - Ikeda Spa Hinoki Onsen

There is something about soaking in onsen during the wintertime. Onsens are located practically throughout Japan to experience the warmth no matter how cold the region gets. Soak yourself in a hot spring bath to calm your insides as you admire the winter scenery. Amplify this therapeutic experience when you immerse yourself in an open-style bath. There are plenty of these open bath concepts around Japan, where you can unwind as you watch the snowflakes fall around you.

This Christmas, to get you in the festive mood, soak in a warm blend of Red Wine Hinoki Onsen! At Ikeda Spa, you can enjoy our Christmas Indulgence without having to travel to Japan. Immerse in an authentic Japanese day spa experience as you pamper yourself and your loved ones to a series of indulgent treats.

Red Wine aids to restore collagen and elasticity to the skin and brightens your complexion. Leave with skin that feels softer and smoother than before. End off your treatment with the scent of cranberry as it works to relieve your headaches and soothe any muscle tension. Awaken your senses with this refreshing yet therapeutic massage.