Welcome to Japanese Futon Zen!

Modern Japanese Floor Futon on Tatami Mats

A Japanese futon. Photo credit: Ian Norman: (Flickr)

Hi! Welcome to my website. My name is Cody, and I’ve built Japanese Futon Zen with one goal in mind – to be your #1 resource for all information about the Japanese futon. What you’ll find here are answers to questions like

What is a Japanese futon?

What are the benefits of having a Japanese futon?

Which Japanese futon is the best fit for me?

And virtually any other question you may have on the topic. I’ve done my best to make this website as helpful as possible for everyone.

Short on time and need a quick rundown? Just keep scrolling for a general overview as well as product recommendations for your home. Want a thorough breakdown for the individual parts of a traditional Japanese futon? Surf around! You’ll find all of that and much, much more. Well, let’s get to it!

 

Best Japanese Futon on a Budget

Best Budget Japanese Shiki Futon for College Student

A Good Match For:

  • College Students
  • Frequent Travelers
  • Anyone on a Budget

 

 

Best Traditional Japanese Futon Set

Best Tradtional Japanese Futon Combination Set

A Good Match For:

  • Small Apartments
  • Japanese Culture Enthusiasts

*Note:  Always perform your own measurements and / or check with the retailer to ensure sizes will fit.

 

Best Modern Japanese Style Bed Set

Best Modern Japanese Style Bed Combination Set

A Good Match For:

  • Low Maintenance Bed Seekers
  • Modern Connoisseurs

*Note:  Always perform your own measurements and / or check with the retailer to ensure sizes will fit.

 

Who I Am (and What That Has to Do with Futons)

Atsugi Naval Base in Japan

Little me (in plaid) with family and friends at an air show in Japan. Good times.

While I wish that I made traditional handmade futons in my free time (or something equally as cool), that unfortunately isn’t the case. I’m just a military brat who spent a few years of my childhood growing up in Japan. It was here that, unbeknownst to me at the time, I began developing a deep appreciation for the Japanese people and their way of life. One thing in particular that has stuck with me is their sleeping habits.

I’m a traditional futon supporter and advocate because to me, it simply makes sense. Japanese futons (and even Japanese style platform beds) take up less room, are in many cases more hygienic than Western beds, and have a natural beauty that can’t be beat. I hope that my personal experience and months of extensive research will benefit you in your consideration of the Japanese futon. Let’s get started!

 

What is a Japanese Futon?

For those familiar with its history, calling a futon “Japanese” might seem a bit redundant. In English, the word “futon” has been directly borrowed from the Japanese language where it simply means “bedding.” Japanese futons differ from their Western counterparts in a few key ways.

  1. Japanese futons consist of more than just a mattress and frame.
  2. Japanese futons can be folded away and stored in a closet during the day, allowing for room where there is otherwise little.
  3. Japanese futons are not (and should not) be treated as cheap alternatives to beds.

When we talk about Western beds, we do so with the understanding that there is more to one than just a box spring and a mattress. It is obvious to us that sheets, pillows, and a comforter are also necessary to complete a functional bed set. Similarly, the Japanese futon has its own necessary parts. Fundamental pieces of a complete Japanese futon include

Shikibuton (The Mattress)
Kakebuton (The Comforter)
Makura (A Pillow)
Taoruketto (Summer Blanket)

Each of these pieces share a common trait:  Portability. A traditional Japanese futon gets folded upon awakening and is placed in the closet (or at least a corner of the room) throughout the day, then unfolded again to sleep at night. Similar contemporary products like the tatami bed and Japanese platform bed no longer grant sleepers their portable convenience, but still manage to maintain their minimalist and simplistic appeal.

On a final note, I’d like reiterate that a Japanese futon is not a cheap alternative to a bed. While it may seem like a good idea to purchase a low-cost futon as a short-term fix – an idea that I completely understand – it is important to remember that a short-term fix is just that, and prolonged use could have negative consequences to your overall well-being.

 

Who Can Benefit from a Japanese Futon?

To answer the question of who can benefit most from a Japanese futon, it makes sense to first understand a little history about Japan. Habitable land in Japan has always been a precious asset, making the Japanese people very resourceful when it comes to space. Historically, the average Japanese family had one room. This room had to meet all the needs of the family (eating, sleeping, living, etc.). Thus, the Japanese futon was born.

Though times may have changed, the majority of Japanese people continue to sleep on futons for the same benefits as before. While literally anyone can enjoy the benefits from using a futon, some might find it more pleasing than others. Those who might benefit most from this style of sleep

  • Are fine with sleeping low to the floor
  • Have a limited amount of space available
  • Enjoy living a simplistic / minimalist lifestyle

Of course, I can recognize that futons aren’t for everyone. If you love your California king and all the accessories that can accompany it, this style of bedding probably isn’t for you. But if you love simplicity and see the beauty in minimalist design, a Japanese futon could be just the thing you needed to increase your quality of life.