What Type of Futons Do Japanese Sleep on?

Japanese bed is entirely different to the regular American bed. The traditional Japanese bed is known as a “Futon”. Futons date back to centuries and originated during the time of wars and because of the simple and small houses Japanese owned.

A Japanese bed consists of a simple futon mattress that rests on the floor or on a thin mat. Authentic futon mattress is filled with 100% cotton and is believed to be firm, unlike the regular foam or spring mattresses. Futon bed for locals is the reason for waking up fresh and healthy every morning.

The overall Japanese lifestyle constitutes of simplicity and Futon beds are the best example. Futon covers and sheets used for a futon set are also made of simple cotton with contemporary Japanese patterns. These were once common to Japan but are now equally famous in the western world.

The American futons are a fusion of traditional Japanese futon mattresses and the western mix. Traditional futons are cost effective and contain either cotton or silk filling, while the advanced futons come with foam filling as well.

To take full advantage of Japanese futon bed, it’s important for you to understand what type of futon they sleep on. For a comfortable sleeping experience and other health benefits, read the details of futon bed.

The following elements combine to synthesize a pleasant sleeping experience:

  • Shikibuton (The mattress)
  • Kakebuton (Comforter)
  • Makura (Buckwheat Pillow)
  • Tatami mat

Japanese Futon Bed


The first and foremost essential element of Japanese sleep is a shikibuton, futon mattress. A futon is crucial in influencing the overall comfort and sleep. Authentic skikbuton is made of 100% cotton (although the latest mix is made of other materials) and is believed to be firm. Traditional Japanese shikibuton had a standard thickness but now, you can get custom made futons.

The thickness of a shikibuton varies from 2 to 5 inches and so does the length now. The standard shikibuton mattress is very friendly to the pocket but now, the fusion of east and west has raised the prices and depending upon the filling you choose, the price will vary. Since futon is the major sleep provider, therefore a good investment in high quality futon is important.

A top quality futon mattress can last for years while a cheap purchase can make you re-spend. You can also match futon with your room interior and décor by buying the contemporary to modern designed futon covers. A futon cover is important to hold the shape and firmness of the futon mattress. Along with covers, there’s a traditional futon care routine that should be followed for keeping the futon and you free from dust mites and molds.

You can go through futon care guide before purchasing one to fully understand your responsibilities. Traditional futons were laid out on the floor, whereas now you can buy a tatami mat to put before the mattress. Tatami mat is a thin mat like yoga mat; it adds cushioning to the mattress.


In regular language a kakebuton would mean comforter. The authentic and traditional kakebuton is made with high-end craftsmanship with hand and is filled with either cotton or silk. Japanese kakebuton is lightweight that allows proper breathing while at the same time efficiently retains the body heat.

Its lightweight nature is made as per Japanese climate conditions. The Kakebuton covers are generally in two styles; one with an open window on the top side that has a pattern second is with closed mesh (window). The designing in the open window like shape adds style and colors to contrast the futons et with your curtains and other interior.


The Japanese pillow, filled with buckwheat hull-Japanese bedding is incomplete without makura. The filling of buckwheat provides comfortable sleep by adjusting the head and neck to rest of body posture. For a western style, the pillows used with futon are generally the regular pillows. If you’re following the traditionally Japanese sleeping style then a pillow with buckwheat hull is necessary.

Japanese futons are directly placed on the floor, whereas the westerners prefer putting a tri-fold mattress underneath the shikibuton. This mat or mattress is a thick foam pad that adds more cushioning to the mattress on top and makes sleeping even comfortable. However, one thing that Japanese do is; they fold the futon bed every morning and place it in the closet.

The same space is utilized for living purposes. Japanese prefer simple interior while keeping the space in mind as well. Once the futon is packed and tucked away, the same room becomes living room. The choice can however be made between a tatami mat or a wooden frame, depending on how you want to use the room.

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