Thinking of using a Japanese futon as a mattress instead of a bed? If so, then read on as this article introduces a careful selection of "Shiki-Buton" and "Kake-Buton" that are made in Japan and can be bought online. We will also briefly talk about the history of the futon and explain the different parts to consider when choosing your futon.
Japanese futon types and their history
"Shiki-Buton" is the name of the futon used as a mattress.
The people of Japan have used many different types of mattresses throughout history, including "foreign“ (carpets made of soft reeds), which have a history of around 1,300 years. As the above photo shows, long ago aristocrats slept in kimonos on layers of tatami mats. Tatami mats were very expensive, so commoners slept on mushiro, another type of woven-straw flooring.
Shiki-buton, cotton-filled cloth mattresses, appeared much later, in the mid-Edo period (1681-1780), and were fairly expensive items unattainable for commoners. They became available to the masses around 1900, but even then straw mats were still used by most farmers. Today, shiki buton are the norm for floor sleepers and are usually placed on tatami mats for maximum comfort.
you are the button
Kake-buton are best compared to bed covers, but as mentioned above, aristocrats used to sleep in kimonos instead of kake-buton. Kake-buton originated from "yogi" (also called "kaimaki"), thick cotton-filled kimonos, and spread with the development of cotton cultivation after the Sengoku period (1467-1590).
The square kake buton that we know today appeared in the mid-Edo period (1681-1780) and was considered an expensive product along with the shiki buton. Like the shiki buton, they became more accessible to the general public in the first half of the 19th century and are still the standard today.
Benefits of the Japanese Futon
They are easy to transport and keep clean.
Unlike mattresses, the futon is easy to transport, as can be seen in the photo above. Japanese homes are generally smaller than Western ones, and with beds only arriving in Japan in the 1920s, it used to be common to sleep on tatami mats.
However, as Japan gets quite humid, spreading futons on the floor will lead to mold growth, so futons are usually stored during the day or hung out in the sun to dry and sanitize. To facilitate this daily ritual, futons are designed to be easily portable. This also has the benefit of freeing up more space in the bedroom, making it a more versatile space.
are futonsGreat for lower back pain
Since the futon is usually placed directly on the mats, sinking in the hips is more difficult compared to a normal mattress. For this reason, many people buy futons to help with back pain or even put a shiki button on their bed frame.
However, keep in mind that there is no concrete scientific evidence to confirm that sleeping on a futon will definitely help relieve back pain, so make sure you do your research to shop for the best bedding for you.
Japanese Futon Facts You Probably Don't Know
It is customary to put a cover over it.
Because futons are quite large, they can be difficult to wash, so it's common to have sheets or blankets on them. This keeps the futon itself from getting dirty and makes it easy to keep clean by simply washing the covers. There are cases for Shiki and Kake-Buton.
You can't wash the whole futon
Japanese futons are often filled with cotton or down, but it's important to consider which ones are washable and which ones aren't. Nowadays it is common to wash futons in large washing machines at the laundromat, but there are also many futons that cannot be washed due to their padding. Therefore, be sure to check the information for a specific futon before purchasing if you plan to wash it.
Selected Japanese futon products shipped abroad
1. High quality Japanese traditional futon shiki mattress FULI (Shikibuton)
FULI is a leading export brand for Japanese-made products. Large enough for any sleeping situation, this king-size futon has thick, soft padding. The price is quite reasonable considering the quality, and it's made from cotton, which means it dries quickly. It's filled with polyester and polyurethane, giving it a wonderfully soft feel.
Größe: Rey (75″ x 79″ x 2-1/2″) (190,5 cm x 200,66 cm x 6,35 cm)
Item thickness: 2.5" (6.35 cm)
Fabric: 100% cotton
Filling: 100% polyester and polyurethane
2. EMOOR 6-fold traditional Japanese futon mattress
The EMOOR brand is a relatively new company, founded in 2006. With the vision of "empowering the world through sleep," this brand distributes sleep products and develops and sells products to help you have a great night's sleep. This full size futon mattress is designed to be used in conjunction with a mattress. Because of this, it is thinner and is not recommended for use on its own. It's made of cotton, which means it dries quickly, and using it in place of a mattress will take your sleep to another level.
Size: Full (55" x 79") (139.7cm x 200.66cm)
the color white
Fabric: 100% cotton
Filling: 100% polyester
3. EMOOR Ultra Compact Japanese Futon Set with Storage Case Double Size.
This set of futon mattress, duvet and pillow is also from EMOOR. Even in Japan, there are few such compact futons as you can easily store them by wrapping them with an elastic band. It lacks some thickness due to its compatibility, but since it's densely packed it's quite sturdy. It is a practical item that is more suitable as a simple bedding than for everyday use.
Size: Futon Mattress: 39" x 83" (100 cm x 210 cm) Duvet: 59" x 83" (150 cm x 210 cm) Pillow: 17" x 25" (43 cm x 63 cm) Case: 20" x 24" x 15" (50.8cm x 60.96cm x 38.1cm) (11 lbs / 4.5 kg)
the color white
4. Shiki-buton de lã nishikawa de Tóquio
This shiki button comes from a longtime futon manufacturer, Nishikawa, which was founded 455 years ago and is one of the leading futon manufacturers in Japan. The fabric is 100% cotton and the backing is antibacterial, odor and insect resistant, making it a very hygienic product. The upholstery is 100% wool, i. H. it has excellent moisture absorption and does not mold easily. As expected from Nishikawa, this is a high quality futon sold at an incredibly affordable price. Note, however, that although it's listed as king size, that's by Japanese standards; therefore it may be less than expected.
Size: King (180cm x 210cm / 70.86" x 82.67")
Fabric: 100% cotton
Filling: 100% wool
5. EMOOR quilt class
This is a full size 100% cotton Kake button. EMOOR continues to strive for comfortable sleep and unsurprisingly this is a quality product. The upholstery is antibacterial, odor and insect repellent and made from special chemical-free cotton, making it an amazing product at a very reasonable price. You can even choose the amount you want in the product based on how you intend to use it - the optimal amount changes depending on the time of year and where you live. any room!
Tamano: 75" x 83" (190 cm x 210 cm)
Padding: 1.9 kg (4.2 lbs) *for winter
Fabric: 100% cotton
Filling: 100% cotton
6. Koushu Umofuton Kake-Taste
This Koushu Umofuton Kake button is considered one of the finest products in the futon world, made from down washed in the rich natural waters at the foot of Mt. The cleanliness of Fuji ー is more than twice the national average. Each futon is carefully crafted by skilled artisans, and because the fabric is woven from superfine, high-density cotton, it's breathable yet insect-resistant and soft to the touch. They use Polish white goose feathers which are lightweight and warm so you are guaranteed to receive a luxury product.
Size: 210cm × 210cm (82.67"x82.67")
Fabric: 100% cotton
Filling: 95% Polish white goose down, 5% feathers
Mark: Koushu Umofuton
7. EMOOR duvet cover made of 100% cotton
This is a futon cover that is perfect to buy together with a kake button. It's queen-sized, sturdy, and comes with handy clasps. It is 100% cotton and has high moisture and moisture wicking properties so it can be used all year round. It can also be washed, making it easy to keep clean. As usual from EMOOR, it is high-quality and packable. You can choose between 10 designs, the one that best suits your taste!
Tamano: 83" x 83" (210 cm x 210 cm)
Color: Ivory / 9 other colors available
Material: 100% cotton
Don't forget the tatami that fits under the futon!
I hope this article has helped you choose a good futon for a good night's sleep. But unless you live in a tatami floor home, you'll probably want to purchase a tatami mattress to place on the floor under your futon for the full experience. Check out our related article on the best tatami mats in Japan to buy online:
Other Related Articles:▶ How to take care of your mat or mat
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*These products may not ship to certain countries. Visit the retailer's website for more information.
The information in this article is correct at the time of publication.
Obviously tatami mats are ideal, but any soft surface, such as a carpet or mat will work. Place your pillow and comforter on top, and you have your futon!Why use a tatami mat under a futon? ›
Tatami mats are made from woven straw and are often used underneath the Japanese futon mattress. Tatami mats provide an extra layer of support with softness and could be compared to a larger, softer yoga mat.Can you put a Japanese futon on a mattress? ›
Unlike a normal Japanese futon that is used on the floor, this traditional futon is meant to be used with a bed mattress instead.Do Japanese people still use tatami mats? ›
In recent years, there has been a decline in their popularity, largely due to difficulty in cleaning the grass material, along with the need to occasionally replace them. However, it is still very common for Japanese houses to have at least one room with a tatami mat floor.Can you sleep on a Japanese futon every night? ›
Many of our customers prefer futon mattresses to other traditional bedding. So yes, well made futons are an excellent choice for everynight sleeping. Be sure to check out the difference between good quality and the imposters selling a cheap night's sleep.Is sleeping on a Japanese futon healthy? ›
A firm surface helps keep the spine aligned and reduce chances of back pain every time you wake up. Moreover, even pregnant women have benefitted from sleeping on futons. The dreaded back pain was the least of their problems as a result. You can add another soft layer to achieve your desired level of comfort.How long does tatami mat last? ›
Tatami made with the highest-quality core material can last up 50 years. Tatami made with man-made core materials are cheaper and can last about 25 years. Even the cheapest tatami are more durable than carpet.What is the difference between a futon and a shikibuton? ›
Of course it isn't that simple; the difference stems from approaching the mattress from two different philosophies—in the West, the futon is a bed/sofa replacement, while in Japan the shikibuton is a mattress that is designed to be used on the floor and put away each morning (hence its easily-folding thin profile).How long do Japanese futons last? ›
The traditional Japanese mattress, the shikifuton, is made with all natural cotton and no synthetic materials. Because of this, they require a bit more love and care than the traditional western mattress, but if well cared for these futons can last up to ten years or more.Do Japanese prefer futons or beds? ›
Although many people in Japan have Western-style mattresses and box springs, futons remain a popular choice, especially in compact apartments, because they're easy to move or store away.
For the best futon experience, we recommend selecting an eight inch thick or above futon mattress.Do tatami mats get bugs? ›
The tatami mats are made of straws and easily absorb moisture. If the surfaces is covered for prolonged periods, it will get moldy and even attract bugs ( yuck! ). A damaged tatami mat will require replacement, and this means you'll need to shell out an extra the day you move out!How often should you replace tatami mats? ›
Tatami is a natural product that, if cared for properly, can last years, but such care can be bothersome and expensive. It's recommended that you change the omote every four or five years, and the entire mat every 10 to 15 years.Can you put furniture on top of tatami mats? ›
If you wish to use large furniture, we recommend you to place protective sheets of plywood underneath to reduce damage. If you wish to use beds or sofas in a tatami room, we recommend you to use frameless or legless types so they don't damage the tatami surface.What is the most comfortable futon to sleep on every night? ›
The Bottom Line
For a futon that will last for years, look great in your home, and give you tons of comfortable support, we recommend the Novogratz Tallulah Memory Foam Futon. It has cozy cushions and a sturdy frame, among many other features, making it the overall best futon on our list.
It is most important to give your futon time to air out. Please fold up your futon mattress every day. The best care is leaving the futon out in the direct sunlight for about 2 hours for each side when the sunlight is strong.Are Japanese futons good for side sleepers? ›
Futon can be used no matter if you are a side-sleeper or stomach-sleeper. Although side sleepers feel more comfortable when their shoulders sink into the mattress.Can you sleep directly on tatami? ›
Yes you can sleep directly on a tatami mat (and many Japanese do) but if you have never done it, it may take some getting used to. The tatami mat would act like an ultra firm mattress.How often should you flip your futon? ›
Futons & Shikibutons Make sure your organic futon or shikibuton wears evenly (avoiding body impressions) by flipping and rotating it regularly, so you end up sleeping on all different parts of the bed equally. We recommend doing this once a week for the first month, then once every other week thereafter.How do you get the smell out of a tatami mat? ›
Simply air your Tatami mat outdoors for a few days if the smell is too strong, and be sure to avoid moisture from rain or sprinklers. You can also just clean the surface with a mixture of lemon oil and water, just wiping it with a damp cloth, to have it smelling fresh in no time!
You should avoid cleaning tatami with a wet cloth because tatami mats are highly absorbent and any retained moisture may cause mold to grow. A wet cloth may also remove some of the natural surface oils which help protect the mat from aging too quickly. For deeper cleaning, using a dry cloth and wipe along the grain.What happens if tatami gets wet? ›
If tatami gest wet, it can get damaged, mold can set in, and fleas can proliferate. Do not wipe with a damp cloth. If you do wipe with a damp cloth, be sure to also wipe with a dry cloth and ventilate, to make sure it is dry.What does tatami mean in Japanese? ›
A tatami (畳) is a type of mat used as a flooring material in traditional Japanese-style rooms. Tatamis are made in standard sizes, twice as long as wide, about 0.9 m by 1.8 m depending on the region. In martial arts, tatami are the floor used for training in a dojo and for competition.How long do Shikibutons last? ›
A well-maintained futon or shikibuton should last between 10 and 15 years. An organic latex mattress will last 20 to 30 years. A futon or shikibuton is a firm, yet supportive sleeping surface.What is a Shiki futon? ›
The Shiki Futon is a traditional Japanese hand-quilted mattress that is filled with cotton. The futon is rolled out on the floor at night for sleeping and can be easily rolled up and stored away during the day when they were not needed.Can you sit on a shikibuton? ›
Low to the ground
“People who have back pain may find it more difficult to stand up from shikibuton, as it's spread on the floor,” says Kaifu. “It's easier to do so from a bed, as you can just slide down from it.” If you have trouble sitting on or rising from the floor, a shikibuton may not be for you.
- Measure the space available for your futon in the desired room. ...
- Consider the materials you would like for your futon. ...
- Choose a frame model from a variety of futons in different styles, colors and price points. ...
- Select a futon mattress according to thickness and comfort.
Futon sofa beds are a type of bed that can be converted into a couch when not in use. Like traditional futons, these beds come equipped with thin, firm mattresses, and often require a mattress topper or mattress pad for extra comfort.What is the best filling for a futon mattress? ›
Although cotton was used in the traditional futons in the past, it had a tendency to matt down and produce lumps. We now use a pure cotton filling blended with a small amount of polyester fibres. This product has all the advantages of cotton, but the polyester reduces the matting and compression process.Why do Japanese sleep on floors? ›
Proponents of the Japanese sleep system claim many benefits--both health and otherwise--to sleeping on the floor. Among them: Cooler temperatures, since cool air settles to the floor. Better circulation, and reduced back and muscle pain.
It is common practice in Japan to sleep on a very thin mattress over a tatami mat, made of rice straw and woven with soft rush grass. The Japanese believe this practice will help your muscles relax, allowing for a natural alignment of your hips, shoulders and spine.
Japanese futons can be folded and put away. Most Japanese who use a Japanese futon fold them every morning upon waking up, and place them in a corner of the room or store them in a closet. Because they are laid directly on the floor, has not good air circulation, and moisture is likely to be trapped in the futon.What bed size are most futons? ›
Most futon mattresses come in a full size/double size because they can easily fit two people, but when opened up to be used as a bed, they don't take up too much space. They are also big enough to be folded up and used as a couch when they aren't being used for sleep.How do you store Japanese futons during the day? ›
You should fold or roll up the futon and place it in the breathable storage case before putting it in the closet. The storage case will help keep off dust and keep insects out.What makes a futon more comfortable? ›
Place an air mattress on top of the futon
Since futons are usually thin and closer to the ground, putting an air mattress on top of the futon makes it a great height and a lot more comfortable. Buy an air mattress that is easy to inflate and deflate to make less work for yourself when setting up your futon for a guest.
However, that being said I would recommend the twin size beds because these futons are traditionally made from cotton and they can get pretty heavy.How do you get rid of tatami bugs? ›
To prevent a dani infestation, first rule is to keep clean: vacuum your tatami every week and shake out and change bedding frequently. Heat and UV light will kill dani, which is why you see your Japanese neighbors hang out their bedding and futons out in the sun.How do you get rid of tatami mites? ›
Keep your futons fresh
Dani love to live in warm, moist places like your futon and the tatami underneath it. In the warmer, sunnier months, strip the sheets and padding off your futons and hang them outside to bake in the sun on warm days. Heat kills dani. In addition, wash your sheets and blankets regularly.
Even if Western-style bedding is popular, Japanese people often still sleep on a tatami mat with a futon, a thin mattress, on top.
The tatami mats are also heat - treated to prepare for customs clearance into the US. International shipping has been very expensive recently and has increased up to 6 times pre-2019 levels. There are also customs clearance costs and tariffs for the import of tatami mats into the U.S.How do you store a tatami mattress? ›
Keep the mats away from damp or hot places, such as radiators. In addition lofts and basements are not ideal storage areas. It may be dry but if these places aren't visited regularly there will be little airflow. Wherever you store Tatami try and put them on pallets or pieces of timber so air can circulate.Can you do yoga on a tatami mat? ›
Tatami mats are known for their comfortable texture that allow for better grip, which is why they are an attractive surface for yoga.What are the small bugs on my tatami mat? ›
One common type of bug is called "dani" (ダニ), or often known to foreigners as tatami bugs. These tiny, tiny bugs dwell deep within tatami mats and feed on human blood at night, leaving tiny bumps on the skin.Are tatami mats worth it? ›
Not only do Tatami mats help improve back pain, but they can improve your posture, too. The neutral sleeping position lets your spine rest without creating knots in your back. You can wake up feeling less sore and with looser joints.Can you sleep on a futon mattress on the floor? ›
A shikibuton is a Japanese futon mattress designed to rest on the floor. It can be rolled up and put away when you're not sleeping, freeing up extra space. When rolled out, it's usually between 3 and 4.5 inches thick, giving the sleeper the experience of laying on the earth with a little extra support.Can I use regular sheets on a futon? ›
While a fitted sheet can be used in place of a futon cover, it fits best if the futon is used flat, in the bed position only. A futon cover is designed to stay put even as the futon mattress flexes.Do people still sleep on tatami mats? ›
They were traditionally used as flooring throughout Japanese homes, but today they're primarily found in a designated tatami room, which is most often used for sleeping.What can you put under a futon mattress? ›
Bed bases, like foundations and even simple wooden slats, can make a major difference in your futon's comfort level. If you don't have a bed base under your futon, consider adding slats under the mattress. The slats will even out the futon's sleeping surface and provide support.Can you get bed bugs on a futon? ›
The frame usually includes wooden slats, with numerous joints where the slats attach. Each of these joints must be inspected carefully since they are prime bed bug hiding places. Some futons have hollow metal tubing where bed bugs hide.
New mattresses should be rotated, on average, every 3 months. But use your best judgment and if you feel a bit of a sag or can see one with the naked eye, it might be best to rotate your mattress more often. Cotton needs to be rotated quarterly.Is a futon good for side sleepers? ›
Futon can be used no matter if you are a side-sleeper or stomach-sleeper. Although side sleepers feel more comfortable when their shoulders sink into the mattress.Is a futon the same size as a full size bed? ›
Full-size futon mattresses are the most common kind you'll find in stores and online, and there's a good reason for that: They're the best balance between cost and convenience. Full or double-size mattresses and futons are 54 inches wide and 75 inches long.Do tatami mats attract bugs? ›
The tatami mats are made of straws and easily absorb moisture. If the surfaces is covered for prolonged periods, it will get moldy and even attract bugs ( yuck! ). A damaged tatami mat will require replacement, and this means you'll need to shell out an extra the day you move out!Do tatami mats get moldy? ›
Mold: Sometimes a bit of mold will grow on your Tatami mat if it is exposed to moisture. If you find some on your Tatami mat, gently brush off the mold. Then, wipe with a clean cloth moistened with ethyl alcohol to completely clean the area.How long does a tatami mattress last? ›
The core material determines the price and life-span of tatami. Tatami made with the highest-quality core material can last up 50 years. Tatami made with man-made core materials are cheaper and can last about 25 years.