Having enough room in your home for invited and unexpected guests isn’t a new thing. As the idea of downsizing becomes more popular, it can make it more difficult to find enough sleeping space for guests. Futons have always been a good space-saving option. However, an even better option than your standard “North American” futon is a Japanese Futon. After World War II, North Americans adopted the trend of futons as people focused on economical bedding and minimalism.
What is the difference between a Japanese Futon and a Typical Futon?
Western Futons are vastly different from the original and traditional Japanese ones. An authentic Japanese futon is going to look nothing like what you would see in a furniture store.
The Japanese Futon or the Shikibuton uses the minimalist idea of space-saving. The Japanese style of a futon is a thin, foldable mattress that isn’t any more than a few inches thick. You place these cushions on what is called a Tatami mat.
These may sound like very uncomfortable sleeping conditions, but the truth is there are a lot of advantages to these slim beds that you may be unaware of. Furthermore, since there is no bulk, these beds are easy to transport and to store. You will no longer have to deal with not having enough space to sleep people because of how easy it is to work with the Japanese style.
Why do Japanese Sleep on Futons?
There are always a bunch of interesting facts about life and the stuff that is in it. The Japanese futon is no exception. Here are a few cool facts you may or may not know about the Japanese futon.
- The term Shikibuton is the original name for a Japanese Futon, and it is where the term Futon was coined.
- There are some clear differences between the Shikibuton and what ‘Westerners’ know about Futons.
- Shikibutons can be folded, rolled and tucked into cupboards without jumping out the minute you open the cupboard.
- The Japanese locals place these futons on a thin straw mat called a ‘Tatami.’
- There is no weight limit for these Japanese mats. Even those on the heavier side find these futons comfortable.
- Environmentalists will love that Japanese futons are eco-friendly as they are generally made from environmentally friendly materials.
- The mattress of a Japanese style bed is very breathable, allowing for optimal airflow.
- Sleeping on a Japanese futon gives you a more solid night’s sleep because you don’t have to deal with squeaks or spring noises that you get with a western futon.
- The Japanese futon is easy to move, allowing you a lot of sleeping options in your home for you and your guests.
What is a Tatami Mat?
A Tatami mat is a type of mat used for putting beneath a Shikibuton. The Tatami mats are generally covered by a soft rush or straw that is woven. The inside of the mat is generally made from the straw or rice. However, some of the more contemporary types have compressed chips of wood or polystyrene cores. The average Tatami mats are 5.5cm thick, and these mats are generally fairly long and can be queen size. Despite how thin they are, they add a lot of comfort to the firm Japanese futon when on hard floors. These mats help provide a protective barrier from the floor to the futon. What happens is a very comfortable portable Japanese bed.
What is a Traditional Shikibuton Floor Mattress?
Shikibutons are the traditional futon by the Japanese, and they are slim and rectangular. The traditional shikibuton is a cotton-stuffed cushion for sleeping on, and they are very versatile compared to western futons. In Japan, these simple cushions are apart of the minimalist traditions and lifestyles that go back centuries.
The Japanese handmade style of a Shikibuton is generally laid on the floor with a straw mat called the tatami between the cushion and the floor. Additionally, they generally go with a nice duvet of goose feathers and ample pillows. When not slept on, they are excellent for using as floor cushions for additional seating.
What is Shikibuton made from?
Shikibutons or Shiki futons are made from eco-friendly materials and without synthetic fibers, chemicals and they also do not contain innerspring. The Shiki Futon is stuffed with 100% cotton, though there is no guarantee that the cotton is organic. However, the Shikibutons are considered to be “green” by most who get them.
Shikibuton Therapeutic Effects
The common way of thinking is that if there is something wrong or we are experiencing pain, then we should be sleeping on something comfortable and cushiony. However, that is far from the truth. The truth is a soft and comfortable surface can make body aches and pains worse.
There are some key advantages of a Shikibuton that include the fact that it is both firm and supportive. These beds are firm and help provide a natural alignment while still offering you comfort. Many more wonderful therapeutic effects provide you with benefits.
The use of eco-friendly materials is always a plus over synthetic and plastic materials that are both harmful to you and the environment.
A clear advantage of the traditional Japanese futon is that they are very space conscious. These floor cushions are ideal for those who are very limited in space or who don’t have enough guests to necessitate a designated guest room.
Preventing Night Sweats
Some advanced mattresses have a cooling effect. However, the Shikibuton is designed to provide you optimal airflow. These cushions help you to sleep cooler and help to prevent you from sweating at night because you are more comfortable.
Due to the size and style of the Japanese cushions, they are very portable. These futon cushions are known for being easy to place in any room of your home regardless of where they are stored.
Due to the natural materials used in these cushions tend to be allergen-free because they are free from chemicals. Furthermore, the lack of coils or foam that can hide mites or various other pollutants helps fight back against allergens.
Are Japanese futons better for your back?
The Japanese have known this for years, and we are starting to learn about it, sleeping on the floor is good for your back and your overall posture. These cushions are soft enough to be comfortable and firm enough to be supportive in all the right ways.
These beds tend to be less expensive than other types of futons and cushions. Since these perfect beds don’t have all the hardware that the common American beds have, they tend to be cheaper. However, if you want 100% organic, it will be pricier.
Disadvantages of Japanese Futons
Along with all the benefits, there are a few cons that come with the pros. Check it out.
These cushions are rather firm. Therefore, if you aren’t used to laying on very firm surfaces for sleep, you may find it hard to get used to or hard to sleep on as compared to American cushions made of foam and many more inches thick.
Difficult to Find
Shikibutons tend to be more difficult to find than a western foam futon, especially here in the west. Therefore, you may have a harder time finding the perfect traditional Japanese futon.
Cotton is notorious for moisture absorption. Therefore, you want to reduce moisture. There are some things you can do to reduce the moisture like the use of a Tatami mat.
Japanese Shiki Futon Care Tips
Keep them dry – when you have the chance, hang your futon outside to dry in the sunlight.
Flip it – don’t always lay your futon on the floor on the same side. Flip it over once in a while.
Fold it – if you aren’t using your futon, make sure to fold it up to keep it safe.
Fluff it- the way you fluff a pillow, you should fluff yourJapanese cushion.
Use a protective pad – make sure to lay a tatami mat down on the floor to be a barrier.
The Best Japanese Futons
Not only is finding a Japanese futon a little difficult, but it is also even more difficult to find the best. Therefore, we have compiled a list of the best Japanese futons on the market. Have a look.
This Japanese futon is designed by a Japanese Craftsman who designed this futon to be authentic. This mattress is 100% stuffed with cotton and 100% polyester. The Fuli Japanese Shiki Futon is made to be high-quality, and the bedding is in compression packing. The size of the product is 55″ x 83″ x 2-1/2,” and the weight is 7.7 lbs. This futon is a great choice for authenticity and comfort.
This padded mattress is ideal for your back health while allowing you to have some protection from the floor. This particular futon needs a tatami mat because it is thinner than foam beds. However, sleeping on this will help align your spine to reduce back issues. This traditional Japanese mattress is made to provide you a comfortable sleep anywhere you go. You can easily transport this cushion as it is portable and easy to fold up. The Shiki Futon is designed with antibacterial and hypoallergenic materials that make it great for anyone with any sensitivity. The dimensions of this mattress are 39” X 83”.
3. REDCAMP Japanese Futon Mattress Topper Twin Size, Traditional Shiki Futon Cotton Foldable Tatami Floor Mattress for Sleep and Travel
This Japanese futon is designed to be comfortable and provides you enough padding for a great sleeping experience. You will love how easy this mattress is to carry around and to store. Though it must be used with a tatami mat, your back will love you for sleeping on this futon. If you are looking to place a bed in a small space, this is the right choice for you. You can bring this futon outside and enjoy it just about anywhere. When you have unexpected guests, you will love that you have the REDCAMP Japanese futon on hand.
4. D&D Futon Furniture Queen Size Black Cotton/Foam/Polyester Traditional Japanese Floor Rolling Futon Mattresses, Yoga Meditation Mats, Beds 3 x 60 x 80
This floor mattress comes to you brand new, and it is a queen-sized mattress, which makes it ideal for any guests you have. The futon is filled with 100% cotton, and it meets all flame-retardant laws. This American made Japanese futon is both comfortable and space-saving. You will find that the materials are durable and the quality of this mattress is excellent. Though you can’t fold this mattress in half, you can roll it for storing, and it comes with ties to hold it together. You will be able to enjoy a nice night’s sleep on this Shiki Futon as it provides optimal support and comfort.
For a traditional Japanese futon, you get the EMOOR. This mattress is designed for those who want the authentic Shikibuton experience. This futon comes with the mattress and matching the pillow to provide you the ultimate extra bed or minimalist bed for any home. You or your guests will enjoy how comfortable and rested you will feel upon waking after a night’s sleep. This mattress needs a tatami mat and is not recommended for direct floor sleeping. The dimensions of this cushion are 59.07” X 78.77”.
6. BJ Design Futon Mattress Twin Bedding – Traditional Japanese Sleeping Mat – Shikibuton Shiki Futon – Floor Beds for Apartment, Home, Studio – Double Volume Cotton Padding – 80 x 36 x 4 Inch
This mattress provides you ergonomic comfort that offers you back support. This futon uses double cotton as part of the traditional Japanese mattresses, and it makes for a comfortable night’s sleep without back strain. The fabric of the Shikibuton is soft and gentle on your skin. You will feel like you are sleeping in complete comfort with this minimalist bed. One of the best features of the BJ Design is that it is low maintenance as it requires little to no cleaning. Wash the mattress cover from time to time. You will love the overall quality of this floor bed.
Tatami mats are necessary for the Japanese futon. You will love this particular mat as it is elegantly designed and made with Rush grass that excellent for any nature lovers’ home. This mat is ideal for either an oriental rug or as an underlay for a Shikibuton. This thin mat provides additional comfort to anyone sitting or sleeping on a hard surface. Furthermore, this mat is easy to store as it folds into three and can be easily placed in any closet for safekeeping.
8. FULI 100% Cotton Cover for Traditional Japanese Floor Futon Mattress, Full XL, Navy. Made in Japan
The FULI floor futon is ideal for anyone who is looking for a comfortable sleeping space. Made from high-quality and imported cotton, you will love how soft and gentle this mattress is on your skin. The beautiful colors this floor futon comes in is ideal for any home and any décor style. This traditional Japanese futon is the perfect guest bed for anyone with minimal space. You go to sleep on this bed and wake up refreshed. The dimensions are 55’ X 82”.
For a thick and comfortable floor mattress, you get the EMOOR French-wool blend futon. This floor futon is considerably thicker than most traditional Japanese futons, but it still provides you adequate support to prevent aches and pains. The quality of this mattress is extremely high and compares very well with other authentic Japanese made mattresses. You will love the cool comfort and how well the air circulates through this futon. The craftsmanship shines in every aspect of this mattress. It is the perfect addition to any home.
This tatami matt is designed with high-quality Rush grass that is grown in Japan. The mat itself is excellent for use as a rug or an underlay to any Japanese floor futon. You will achieve maximum comfort with the use of this mat on any floor. However, be aware that the rush grass may not have a smell you are accustomed to and it will go away after a day or two of being aired outdoors. Overall, you will love the color and durability of this mat.
When it comes to quality sleep, the Japanese know what they are doing. From the minimalist style of the Japanese futon to the comfort and added support that these beds provide, you will love having one of these floor futons on hand. Did you enjoy the list? Hopefully, you found what you are looking for as only the best Japanese futons were mentioned along with the best tatami mats available.