Budget-Friendly Heater Solutions for a Cozy Winter | Guidable - Your Guide to a Sustainable, Wellbeing-centred Life in Japan
Freezing because its cold

Budget-Friendly Heater Solutions for a Cozy Winter

By David Kamaly Feb 17, 2023

Winters in Japan can feel extremely cold, and the urge to reach for the air conditioner remote can be very tempting, but what about the accompanied electricity bill? Depending on the consistency, your electricity bill can be between ¥10,000-20,000 or potentially even higher. So let’s explore other alternatives, such as a heater, that will keep you warm and save you money!

Before Acquiring a Heater, Let’s Talk About Insulation!

girl opening the curtains on a bright sunny day

Image credits: Canva

Japanese homes are usually poor in terms of insulation; this enables the cold air to slip through easily. Nowhere is this more true than for windows, and the easiest solution for this would be to buy proper thick curtains (カーテン; ka-ten).

Additionally, you could buy so-called cozy boards (ぬくぬくボード; nuku nuku bo-do) or stop panels (ストップパネル; sutoppu paneru) and place them near drafty areas as a way to keep the heat in and the cold air out.


  • The thick curtain costs roughly between ¥2,000-3,000.
  • The cozy board and stop panels have a starting price of a bit over ¥1,000.


The floors being too cold to walk on can be uncomfortable; carpets are the preferable method of keeping the feet from feeling frozen during winter. There are even so-called electric carpets (電気カーペット; denki ka-petto) that can be a cost-effective method of heating the floor consistently.


  • Electric carpets vary depending on the size and can be easily found on Amazon or department stores such as Cainz, Don Quijote, and Nitori.

For more recommendations of cheap buys on Nitori, check out this article.


Girl cozy under Kotatsu

Image credits: Canva

Kotatsu (炬燵; kotatsu) is very commonly used in Japanese households and is perfect if you plan on staying in one room for an extended period. It is a beautiful invention that only requires a small table with a thick blanket. Very simple, and if that alone does not provide enough heat, then consider adding a small heater heating you under the table; alternatively, it could also work with an electric carpet (電気カーペット; denki ka-petto).


  • Without the heater, the starting price is around ¥10,000 or higher. A Kotatsu can be purchased on Amazon or at department stores such as Cainz, Don Quijote, and Nitori.


Until now, all the discussion has been around insulating and keeping areas of interest warm. When considering a heater, the room’s size will factor in more of the decision. An air conditioner (エアコン; ea-con) is very well at consistently and uniformly heating up the room; however, there is a cost that will accompany it and tends to get the air dry, which will require a humidifier.

Electric Heater

heater glowing inside a room

Image credits: Canva

An electric heater (電気ストーブ; denki suto-bu) is cheap a cheaper alternative for heating and is usually portable and can therefore be easily moved around. The downside is that it doesn’t cover more than a small area; if you happen to be outside of its range, you will feel the cold very quickly.

This option may be suitable if you have a small room, as you can always bring it closer to yourself.


  • Electric heaters start at ¥3,000 and can increase in price depending on the size and manufacturer. They can be found on Amazon or at department stores such as Cainz, Don Quijote, and Nitori.

Kerosene Heater

A kerosene heater (石油ストーブ; sekiyu suto-bu) is considered the cheapest way to heat a large room. The initial cost may be pretty high compared to the other options; however, the average retail price to fill an entire 18-liter tank is reasonably cheap and can potentially last a month. Kerosene oil can be purchased at local gas stations or home centers. According to Statista, the average retail price in Tokyo is ¥2,131, while in Saitama, it is ¥1,959 this year.

It is important to remember that it can be heavy, and it is advisable to order online unless you have access to a vehicle. It is also worth recognizing that it is a flammable liquid and therefore carries risks on top of being accompanied by a smell and fumes, so it is crucial to have proper ventilation.


  • Smaller units can be as low as ¥5,000 and go up in price the greater the size is. It can be easily purchased from Amazon.
  • Kerosene oil prices are around ¥2,000 and can be purchased at gas stations or home centers.

Is There Any Other Way to Cut Down the Cost?

saving money into a piggy bank
Image credits: Canva

If the issue isn’t heating in itself but the cost of running electricity, it is noteworthy to mention that electricity bills can be reduced considerably by simply switching to a different company with better rates. It is important to be aware that rates will change from company to company, significantly per unit charge (kWh).  For more information related to how to lower your electricity and gas bills in Japan, check out this article.

Another way is to lower your air conditioner’s setting. Instead of having it on the highest setting, decrease it to a lower one, which will also lower your monthly bill.

In Conclusion, Which Heater Should You Acquire?

When it comes to heating options during the cold winter months in Japan, it is essential to recognize that the size of the room plays a considerable role in considering a heater. The electric heater has a limited range; while the Kerosene heater is a great money saver for larger homes, the fumes and the risk of dealing with flammable liquids may be off-putting.

Every option has upsides and downsides, and a hybrid solution may prove to be more effective. This can easily be done by lowering the setting on your air conditioner, purchasing an electric carpet, insulating the room better, and changing the electricity.

Related Articles:

English-Speaking Gas and Electricity Utilities in Japan That Can Actually Save You Money!