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What is a Japanese mattress called?


A Japanese mattress is a unique bed that has gained a lot of popularity in recent years. While many people are familiar with traditional mattresses, such as those made of springs and foam, the Japanese mattress offers a different sleeping experience altogether. In this article, we will explore what a Japanese mattress is called, its history, materials used in making it, and how it compares to traditional mattresses.

The History of the Japanese Mattress

The Japanese have been using futons for centuries as their traditional bedding. Futons were originally made from cotton, which was then stuffed into a cloth bag. They were laid on the floor for sleeping and then folded away during the day to create more living space. Over time, futons evolved to include wool and silk and became thicker and more comfortable. Today, futons are still a popular choice in Japan and around the world.

Japanese Snack Box

What is a Japanese Mattress Called?

A Japanese mattress is called a shikibuton. Shikibutons are thin, usually less than three inches thick, and can be made from a variety of materials. They are designed to be laid directly on the floor or on top of a tatami mat.

Materials Used in Making a Shikibuton

Shikibutons can be made from various materials, such as cotton, wool, latex foam, or memory foam. Cotton is the most common material used in shikibutons because it is breathable, lightweight, and provides good insulation against the cold. Wool is another material used in shikibutons because it is soft and naturally hypoallergenic. Latex foam and memory foam are also popular choices because they provide excellent support for the body.

How Does a Shikibuton Compare to Traditional Mattresses?

A shikibuton differs from traditional mattresses in several ways. Firstly, it is much thinner than a traditional mattress, which can take some getting used to. Secondly, it is typically laid directly on the floor or on top of a tatami mat rather than being propped up on a bed frame. This means that it may not provide as much support for people who have back problems or need extra cushioning for their joints. However, shikibutons are lightweight, portable, and easy to store away when not in use.

The Benefits of Sleeping on a Shikibuton

There are several benefits to sleeping on a shikibuton. Firstly, they are lightweight and easy to move around, which makes them perfect for small living spaces or for people who like to rearrange their furniture frequently. Secondly, they are low maintenance and can be easily cleaned by airing them out in the sun or by vacuuming them. Thirdly, they are eco-friendly as they do not require the use of any electricity or machinery to make them.

Choosing the Right Shikibuton

When choosing a shikibuton, it is important to consider your sleeping habits and preferences. If you prefer a firmer mattress, then you may want to opt for one made from latex or memory foam. If you prefer a softer mattress, then cotton or wool may be better suited to your needs.

Caring for Your Shikibuton

To keep your shikibuton clean and fresh-smelling, it is important to air it out regularly by laying it outside in the sun for several hours. You should also vacuum it regularly to remove any dust or dirt that may have accumulated on it. If your shikibuton becomes stained or soiled, you can spot-clean it with a mild detergent and warm water.

The Future of the Shikibuton

The popularity of shikibutons has grown significantly over the years due to their eco-friendliness and portability. As more people become aware of their benefits, it is likely that they will continue to gain popularity both in Japan and around the world.


In conclusion, a Japanese mattress, also known as a shikibuton, is a unique and comfortable alternative to traditional mattresses. They are lightweight, eco-friendly, and easy to store away when not in use. Choosing the right shikibuton depends on your personal preferences and sleeping habits. With proper care and maintenance, your shikibuton can last for many years to come!

What is a futon called in Japan?

A shikibuton is a type of Japanese bed designed for sleeping on the floor. It is essentially a cushion that is laid out before use, and is commonly referred to as a futon.

What is a thin Japanese mattress called?

A futon is a type of bedding originating from Japan that includes a thin, padded mattress called a ‘shikibuton’, a quilt known as ‘kakebuton’, and a pillow filled with beans called ‘makura’. Essentially, it is a bed without a frame.

What is the difference between a futon and a shikibuton?

The dissimilarity between the futon and shikibuton mattresses is due to their different cultural backgrounds. In the West, futons are seen as a replacement for beds and sofas, whereas in Japan, shikibutons are designed to be used on the floor and put away each morning, as they have a thin profile that is easy to fold.

Is a Japanese mattress comfortable?

While Japanese floor mattresses are beneficial in terms of spinal alignment, they may not be the best option for individuals who sleep on their sides. Due to its thinness, it may not effectively relieve pressure on the hips and shoulders, which experience greater pressure when sleeping on the side. This may result in discomfort for some individuals.

What is Japanese bedding called?

A futon refers to a style of bedding that originated in Japan.

Why do Japanese use futons instead of beds?

While Western-style mattresses and box springs are common in Japan, futons continue to be a favored option, particularly in small apartments. This is because they are easy to move and store away when not in use.

Additional Tips for Sleeping on a Shikibuton

While sleeping on a shikibuton can be a comfortable and enjoyable experience, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure a good night’s sleep. Firstly, it is important to have proper support for your back and neck while sleeping. This can be achieved by using a pillow that provides adequate support for your head and neck. Additionally, it may be helpful to place a folded blanket or towel under your hips to provide extra support for your lower back.

Another thing to keep in mind is the temperature of the room. Since shikibutons are thin and do not provide much insulation against the cold, it may be necessary to layer blankets or use a space heater to keep warm during the colder months. On the other hand, during the warmer months, it may be helpful to use a lighter blanket or sheet to prevent overheating.

How to Store Your Shikibuton

When not in use, it is important to store your shikibuton properly to prevent damage and prolong its lifespan. The best way to store a shikibuton is by rolling it up tightly and securing it with straps or ties. This will prevent it from becoming misshapen or developing creases over time.

It is also important to store your shikibuton in a dry and well-ventilated area to prevent the growth of mold or mildew. Avoid storing it in damp or humid areas, such as basements or bathrooms. If you live in an area with high humidity levels, consider using a dehumidifier in the room where you store your shikibuton.

Final Thoughts

A Japanese mattress, or shikibuton, can provide a comfortable and unique sleeping experience for those who prefer a minimalist approach to bedding. While it may take some getting used to, many people find that sleeping on a shikibuton can lead to better sleep quality and improved posture. With proper care and maintenance, a shikibuton can last for many years and provide countless nights of restful sleep.

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