A selection of oden, a type of nabe or Japanese hotpot.
Ingredients include daikon and a variety of fish cakes
Good food and good company is one of the best ways to stay warm! Nabemono (literally “pot” plus “things”) is Japanese hotpot, a staple winter meal for many Japanese families. Nabe is a communal meal where people sit around a boiling pot filled with meat, vegetables, noodles, and any other choice ingredients. Though nabe can be eaten at restaurants, Japanese people often enjoy it in the comfort of their own living room with a portable stove.
Oden, a type of nabe, comes out in the fall and winter in Japan, and you can see it everywhere from convenience stores to food carts. Think of oden as a fast food version of nabe, where you grab a bowl and get to choose ingredients that go in a light, soy-based broth. The most common oden choices are daikon, konjac, boiled eggs, and fishcakes.
Snacks and sweets to stay warm
Did you know that most Japanese homes don’t have centralized heating? Typically, there is one main room, such as the living room, which has the main heater. That’s why most families gather around the kotatsu, the traditional low table frame with a heater underneath. The top of the table is covered with a blanket, then the table top, to trap the heat. People sit with their feet tucked under the kotatsu to stay warm.