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Japanese Futon Bed – What makes it Unique?


What is a Japanese Futon Bed

Futon in Japan is the key source for a good night’s sleep. Futon means mattress or something to lie down on.  Ever since the traditional existence of Futon, the Japanese have used them for centuries and benefited from the sleep and health-driven from these firm mattresses. Though, Futon beds have become famous in America and are being used by various people. The thought of futon still brings an image of a futon sofa or a thick mattress that can lie flat on a wooden frame. However, futon mattress in Japanese life is a firm mattress spread directly on the floor.

Parts of Japanese Futon Bed

The Japanese futon set consists of three main components that complete its picture; Shikibuton (a mat), kakebuton (the quilt), and makura (the pillow). Let’s first discuss the parts briefly and then come to know the pros and cons of using this futon bed.

japanese futon with native lamp

Shikibuton– The start of this word means to lay (Shiki) and when attached with buton or futon, it simply becomes shikbuton. You can complete a shikibuton by adding two mattresses or just a single one. Traditional Japanese futon is a single and standard size futon, but the eastern-western fusion is making thicker futons. Authentic Japanese futons are filled with 100% cotton which keeps them lightweight, easy and comfortable.

If the same cotton is added in more quantity to achieve a thicker version then the futon will become heavy. This is not ideal for the Japanese lifestyle but since the comfort of a mattress is subject, therefore Americans choose the thickness according to their liking. The latest futon comes in a variety of fillings and costs.

Kakebuton- the Japanese quilt or the blanket is cotton filled as well. It is lightweight and provides the feather-like feeling during summers and hug like warm feeling during winters. It matches the Japanese form of living and climate conditions.

Makura– Japanese pillow is traditionally smaller in size and stuffed with beans or buckwheat. If you transitioning from the softer kind of pillow to this Japanese pillow then remember that you will need a while to adjust with the difference.

Now, let’s get to the advantages and disadvantages of using authentic Japanese futon:

Advantages of Japanese futon bed

Advantages of Futon:

  • You achieve a multi-purpose space with a futon, as it can be rolled and tucked away.
  • Futons are lightweight and thin and can be easily rolled. Moreover, your kids cannot roll off a futon and fall there’s no space to fall at.
  • It provides enough cushioning to enjoy night’s sleep.
  • You can always choose the place to spread your futon.
  • It gives a spacious look to the room since it only takes a small amount of space.
  • Kids will love the futons since they cannot be broken even if they jump.

Disadvantages of Japanese Futon

  • Extra Care – Futons require a special care routine. According to the Japanese way of living, they are hanged in the sun during the day to remove dust mites and allergens and are also beaten up with a baseball-like stick. You will need to air out your futon set; otherwise, they can get moldy and heavy.
  • Hassle of rolling it and moving it to the close – Futon according to traditions require folding them and putting it away in cupboards. For some people, this can feel like a hassle and a lot to do.
  • The space in Cupboard – The entire futon set needs a separate space in the closet, so you need to keep that arranged.
  • Health Issues – If you suffer from joint problems then getting up and down from the floor can cause more pain. So futons might not be a thing for you.

How to care for a Japanese futon bed

Japanese futon bed must be folded or rolled if it is not used. If not properly tucked in it might accumulate some molds and mites even if you are using proper floor cover or a tatami mat. The folding and rolling depend on what type of futon you have.

Airing is also one of the best ways to make your Japanese futon bed last longer. Making sure you have a good airing at least once a week or twice a month.

Also, keep the area where you put the mat clean. This is a must so that dust and tiny particles will not accumulate on the mat.


A Japanese futon bed is great for houses with small spaces and can even be used for attics. Futons do offer deeper sleep and you rest well. You can be a great host with your futon beds-especially when you have odd visitors.

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