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How do families sleep in Japan?


Japan is a country with a rich culture and traditions that are fascinating to explore. One of the aspects that make Japan unique is the way families sleep. Unlike in Western cultures where everyone has their own room, Japanese families share the same space to sleep. This article will delve into how families sleep in Japan, exploring the reasons behind this practice and what it entails.

The concept of futon

Futon is a term that is commonly used in Japan to describe a type of bedding. It is essentially a thin mattress that can be easily folded and stored away during the day. The concept of futon is deeply ingrained in Japanese culture and its use has been passed down from generation to generation.

Japanese Snack Box

Multi-functional rooms

The Japanese home is designed to be multi-functional, with rooms being used for different purposes throughout the day. The living room, for example, can easily be transformed into a sleeping area at night by simply laying out futons on the floor.

The role of tatami mats

Tatami mats are another key component of Japanese sleeping habits. They are made from rice straw and covered with woven rush grass, providing a soft and comfortable surface for sleeping. Tatami mats also help to regulate temperature and humidity levels in the room, making it a comfortable space to sleep in.

Sharing space

In Japan, it is common for families to share the same sleeping space. This usually involves laying out futons on the floor in the living room or other communal areas of the house. This practice not only saves space but also promotes family bonding as everyone sleeps together.

Privacy concerns

While sharing sleeping space may seem strange to Westerners, it is important to note that Japanese culture places a high value on privacy. Even though families share the same space, they still respect each other’s personal boundaries and maintain their own individual sense of privacy.

Traditional versus modern homes

While traditional Japanese homes were designed with communal living spaces in mind, modern homes tend to have more private bedrooms for each family member. However, even in modern homes, it is not uncommon for families to still use communal areas for sleeping.

Benefits of co-sleeping

There are many benefits to co-sleeping, including improved family bonding, better sleep quality, and a reduced risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). In Japan, co-sleeping has been shown to promote a strong sense of family unity and closeness.

The downsides of co-sleeping

While co-sleeping has its benefits, there are also potential downsides to consider. These include disrupted sleep patterns and an increased risk of spreading illnesses among family members. It is important for families to weigh these factors when deciding whether or not to co-sleep.

Cultural differences

It is important to recognize that cultural differences play a significant role in how families sleep in different parts of the world. While co-sleeping may be common in Japan, it may not be as widely accepted or practiced in other cultures.


In conclusion, how families sleep in Japan is deeply rooted in cultural traditions and practices. While it may seem strange or unfamiliar to outsiders, co-sleeping has been shown to have many benefits for families who practice it. Whether one chooses to co-sleep or not ultimately depends on individual preferences and cultural norms.

Do Japanese families sleep in same bed?

Sleeping together as a family is commonplace in Japan, with babies sleeping with their parents until the next child is born. Typically, the eldest child will continue to co-sleep with another family member until they reach the age of ten.

How do kids sleep in Japan?

In Japan, it is common for parents to sleep near their baby on bamboo or straw mats, or on a futon. Others choose to keep their baby in a crib or bassinet within their reach. Cultures that frequently engage in cosleeping have low occurrences of SIDS.

Do Japanese families share a bedroom?

In Japanese families, it is common to practice “soine” or co-sleeping, where parents share a sleeping space with their children until they reach around ten years old. This is considered a normal cultural practice.

What is the sleep tradition in Japan?

Inemuri is a Japanese custom where individuals take a nap during work hours, whether it’s in a meeting, during the commute or while waiting for transportation after a night out. Inemuri is an interesting phenomenon unique to Japan that outsiders may view as laziness or a weak work ethic, but it is actually not the case.

What countries do families sleep together?

Sweden, Egypt, and Japan are among the countries that prioritize a child-rearing model promoting interdependence and view co-sleeping as advantageous for a child’s development. This belief is highly valued in these cultures.

Do kids in Japan go out on their own?

“It is common for children in Japan to walk to their local school independently,” explained Hironori Kato, a transportation planning professor at University of Tokyo.

It is worth noting that the practice of co-sleeping in Japan is not limited to immediate family members. In some cases, families may invite friends or extended family members to sleep in their communal sleeping space. This is particularly common during festivals or other special occasions when many people gather together.

Another interesting aspect of Japanese sleeping habits is the use of traditional sleepwear. Known as yukata, these lightweight cotton robes are worn by both men and women as a comfortable and breathable alternative to pajamas. They are particularly popular during the summer months when temperatures can reach sweltering levels.

Despite the benefits of co-sleeping, it is important to acknowledge that not all families in Japan practice this tradition. With the rise of Western-style living, more families are opting for private bedrooms and traditional beds. However, even those who do not co-sleep tend to maintain a strong sense of familial closeness and respect for one another’s personal space.

In recent years, there has been a growing interest in Japanese sleeping habits and how they can be incorporated into modern Western lifestyles. Some people have even adopted the use of futons and tatami mats in their own homes as a way to save space and promote better sleep. This trend highlights the enduring appeal of Japanese culture and its unique approach to everyday life.

Overall, how families sleep in Japan is a reflection of the country’s rich cultural heritage and commitment to family values. While it may differ from Western norms, it serves as a reminder that there are many ways to live and thrive as a family unit.

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