Ditch the dining room table and sit at a Japanese-style one with a heater, like at this ingenious Tokyo restaurant.
Just about the most comfortable way to spend winter in Japan is with your legs tucked underneath a kotatsu, a low table with a heater that many Japanese residents will tell you is their favorite piece of furniture. But if kotatsu can keep you warm and cozy at home, they can also do the same when you’re dining out, as Bane Bagus has figured out.
Located in Tokyo’s swanky Akasaka Mutsuke neighborhood, Bane Bagus has an open-air terrace that’s popular with the dinner crowd on summer evenings.
However, the fun of alfresco dining is greatly diminished once you get into the colder part of the year. But rather than simply close off the seating area until the temperature starts rising again in the spring, Bane Bagus has decided to clear out the chairs and instead lay down tatami reed floor mats and a couple of kotatsu!
In addition to kotatsu, the terrace is also equipped with space heaters, and an overhead covering can be put in place in the event of inclement weather.
All of this should keep diners feeling toasty during their meal, almost like soaking in an outdoor hot spring on a winter getaway. For extra warmth, the restaurant offers hot pot courses, and of course mandarin oranges, which no traditional kotatsu session is complete without, are available as after-dinner refreshments.
Just be careful about one thing. Experienced kotatsu fans will tell you that once you enter, it can be hard to pull yourself out of that cozy paradise, but since this is a restaurant, not a hotel, you’ll have to vacate the kotatsu by closing time.
Bane Bagus (Akasaka Mitsuke branch) / (バネバグース 赤坂見附店)
Address: Tokyo-to, Minato-ku, Akasaka 3-10-4, Gessekai Building 4th floor
Open 2 p.m.-5 a.m. Monday-Friday, Noon-5 a.m. Saturday, Noon-11 p.m. Sunday/holidays