A Complete Guide on Japanese Futon

japanese futons guide

A Complete Guide on Japanese Futon

When you have a limited space, or you simply want to create an additional sleeping area in an already used room, you may want to consider using futons. These futons are essentially a space-saving piece of furniture which will double as a bed surface or a sitting area. It’s basically dependent on what your need is.

During the day, you can also use them as a couch or a sitting area. In the night, you can fold them down and create a sleeping surface. You will get comfort from a futon because of its cushioned mat which is a soft surface.

One of the widely famous types of the futon is what is called a Japanese futon. It is also known as a traditional Shikibuton and uses the same concept as that of a futon to give your sleeping space a minimalist approach.

What is Japanese Futon?

A Japanese futon or Shikibuton is a little different than the typical concept of a futon. However, it is these differences in design and style that actually make them a versatile product than their bulkier and framed futon companion.

If you are getting more curious about learning what actually a Japanese futon is, keep reading for a fuller explanation.

The traditional Japanese futon, called Shikibuton, are slim in form, rectangular in design and are rollable cushions which are typically filled with cotton. They bat to provide users with a cushioned support and comfort.  The Japanese futon is usually thinner than the modern foam-filled cushions and their typical measure in height is from 3 to 4 inches. These futons are available in a variety of bed sizes so that they bring your bedroom in alignment with modern conveniences.

You can also fold these futons to create a sitting mat. When you are not using them, you should roll up and store them away. It would be better to keep something beneath these futons to maintain airflow so that body heat doesn’t not stuck inside it along with the moisture. If not, the futon can help create a humid environment which is ideal for the growth of mildew and bacteria!

What Is A Tatami Mat?

Traditionally, tatami mats are created out of a woven grass or reed mat which gives it an airy yet firm support. The purpose of a tatami mat is to prevent your Shiki futon from resting flat on the floor and also provide it more cushioning and of course breathability. You can also store the mats away safely when they are not in use. Some Japanese households also use these mats as a complete coverage flooring as they are used within pieces of furniture.

The modern tatami mats are created from such materials such as synthetic foams, rubber, or other types of materials. All of these materials are likely to cause a similar effect. The tatami mats offer amazing usability. You can, for example, use these mats to protect your flooring as well as to create a comfortable walking or sleeping surface.

What Is A Shikibuton Made Of?

All the Shiki futons are almost always made out of cotton which is typically found in both its cover and fill. Its casing is normally a zippered cover which is made from woven cotton or from the cotton duck weave.

As they are made of simple and harmless material, these futons are believed to be an environment-friendly option. Even though foam futon choices may offer greater comfort and support yet, they are not truly regarded as true Japanese futons.

Fundamentals of Japanese Futon:

A Japanese bed typically consists of three basic parts that we have discussed below:


The Shikibuton or mattress is the main component. It is three to four inches in thickness and has more or less same dimensions as tatami mat. Its length extends to 5.9 feet and almost half as wide.

Previously, the Shikibuton used to be stuffed with 100% cotton. However, contemporary models are made using a whole variety of materials, such as wools, latex, foam and other synthetic materials.


A Kakebuton is primarily a comforter. It has a larger size than a Shikibuton. A Kakebuton can either be a hand or machine-quilted. It is made out of fabrics that range from cheap cotton and polyester to far more expensive items like silk.

Cotton made Kakebuton is more vulnerable to dust mites, whereas silk-made Kakebuton offers greater resistance to allergies and is able to regulate temperature better through the seasons.


This is somewhat an expression of Japanese cultural tradition. While you can use any type of pillow that has a Japanese futon yet if you are aiming to experience the complete Japanese culture, make Makura a part of your bedding!

It is typically smaller and firmer than a regular pillow. Its authentic models come packed with buckwheat hulls. Even if you don’t want to get a Japanese pillow, a Makura is still recommended as they offer far more impactful protection against allergies, neck pain, and tensions!

Benefits of Japanese Futon:

  • A futon mattress is fairly firm and is quite unlike a softer mattress, sleeping on it will help keep your joints in the right position. This mattress won’t allow your joints to become sag or lose. As joint sagging can lead to backache through the muscle overstretching, this mattress will protect you from this.
  • Soft mattresses often cause elongated joint stretching. This means collagen fiber will lengthen resulting in a bad back or a cricked neck. Japanese Futon protects you from this as well.
  • You can place futon on a wooden slab; this could be beneficial. Futon mattress offers better air circulation which prevents the moisture and reduces body sweating.
  • While sleeping, we tend to lose a pound of our skin that turns into dust and falls off our bed, increasing the risk of dust mites. However, the wooden slabs under the futons ensure a complete circulation of air, thereby reducing the risks of dust allergies, asthma, and other health conditions.
  • As per the tradition, Japanese futon beds are put out in the sun for air for a few hours. Because of this practice, you can prevent the occurrence of dust mites and molds that will leave futons hygienic.
  • You cannot move or air the typical beds, and they are also very likely to contain lethal toxins which can increase asthma and other skin allergies. However, Japanese futon is made out of natural fibers that make them a perfect choice for kids and other age groups.
  • Japanese futon helps you ensure in getting a good night’s sleep. So, when you wake up, you are feeling fresh and active.
  • A Japanese futon is useful as it helps create a multipurpose space since you can fold it and put it away when not needed.
  • It will make your small sized room look larger. As you lay on the floor, the futon makes the room look more spacious!
  • A Japanese futon is also safe to lie on. Even if you roll off it, you won’t be harmed as there is not much distance to fall from!

Drawbacks of Japanese Futon:

  • It can absorb perspiration that we leave during sleep. If the futon is not aired in the sun, it will get heavy and moldy! The futon is also prone to dust. Make sure you keep them under sun regularly to avoid it.
  • For many people, putting their bed in the closet during the morning and laying it out again at night could cause troubles. This is because it requires a lot of efforts as the futon is not possible to be taken out for a spontaneous nap!
  • Futons are big in size. So, if you want to put them into a closet, you will require quite a space.
  • In case you have difficulty getting up and down from the floor, then futon is not a very good choice for you.

How to Take Care OF a Japanese Futon?

Just as with any other mattress, futon also requires to be taken care of. If you want to ensure that your futon remains healthy and safe, you must take the following precautions:

  • Ensure mold prevention by flipping it every day and placing a Tatami mat beneath it
  • Keep it free of moisture by lying out under the sun, killing allergens
  • Use mattress protectors to keep it clean
  • Do not wash the futon but rather, do stain cleaning to keep it in a neat and clean shape

These steps are necessary in order to ensure the good health of your mattress.


If you are aiming for a traditional yet cozy and comfortable sleeping experience, Japanese futons could be an excellent choice. Placing them in your bedroom will also add a touch of cultural diversity to your place in addition to giving you a good night’s sleep. Buy yourself one of the best cooling pillows to go along with your futon.

If you are in need of funds for your purchase, check out our mattress giveaways or scholarships.

These comfy and comfortable futons are pro-health and fairly friendly for the environment.

Go for it if that’s what you aim for!

One we recommend:

EMOOR 3-Piece Japanese Futon Set Classe

  • Classe is EMOOR’s best and long selling, simple and basic futon series. Have a good sleep with our good quality, Made-in-Japan futon at reasonable price.
  • Comes with a Comforter (Kakebuton), a Futon Mattress (Shikibuton) and a Pillow. Futon Mattress is about 2.5in (8cm) thick, contains a firm polyester pad sandwiched with soft filling. Firm but not too hard. Good for your back.
  • Outer fabric is 100% Cotton
  • Dimensions: Japanese 02.Twin-long Size [Comforter] 59 x 83 in (150 x 210cm) [Futon Mattress] 39 x 83in (100 x 210cm) [Pillow] 17 x 25in (43 x 63cm) How to care: Non-washable. We recommend to use cover and wash cover only when it gets dirty. You may find covers with the ASIN: B00KFWGAUM
  • Please note that the Futon Set is vacuum sealed at the time of delivery. When the Package is opened, the Futon Set will be expanded back to the normal size