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Why do Japanese sleep on futons?

The History of Futons in Japan

The use of futons in Japan dates back to the Heian period (794-1185). At that time, they were luxury items used only by the wealthy. However, as Japan became more urbanized during the Edo period (1603-1868), futons became more widely used and affordable for the general population.

The Benefits of Sleeping on a Futon

There are several benefits to sleeping on a futon. One is that it provides a firm sleeping surface that can help alleviate back pain. Additionally, futons are lightweight and easy to move, which makes them ideal for small apartments or homes. Finally, futons can be easily folded and stored during the day, which frees up space in a room.

Japanese Snack Box

Futons vs. Western Mattresses

One of the main differences between futons and Western-style mattresses is that futons are much thinner. This means that they offer less cushioning and support than a typical mattress. However, this can actually be beneficial for people who suffer from back pain or other spinal problems.

How to Use a Futon Properly

Using a futon properly involves several steps. First, the futon should be laid out on a flat surface with no lumps or bumps. Next, it should be aired out regularly to prevent mold and mildew from forming. Finally, it’s important to rotate the futon regularly to ensure that it wears evenly.

The Role of Futons in Japanese Culture

In Japan, futons are not just a practical sleeping solution; they also have cultural significance. For example, it is traditional for Japanese families to lay out their futons every night before going to bed. Additionally, futons are often used as seating cushions during the day.

Futon Materials

Futons can be made from a variety of materials, including cotton, wool, silk, and synthetic fibers. Each material has its own advantages and disadvantages. For example, cotton futons are lightweight and breathable, while wool futons provide more warmth and insulation.

Buying a Futon

When buying a futon, there are several factors to consider. These include the size of the futon (which should correspond to the size of your bed frame), the thickness of the futon (which will affect how comfortable it is), and the material from which it is made.

Futon Maintenance

Proper maintenance is key to ensuring that your futon lasts as long as possible. This involves airing it out regularly to prevent mold and mildew from forming, as well as rotating it regularly to ensure even wear. Additionally, you should replace your futon every few years to ensure that it remains comfortable and supportive.

Alternatives to Futons

While futons are a popular choice in Japan, they may not be right for everyone. Fortunately, there are several alternatives available. These include Western-style mattresses (which are thicker and more cushioned), tatami mats (which provide a firm but comfortable surface), and air mattresses (which are portable and easy to store).

The Future of Futons

As Japan becomes more modernized, the use of futons has declined somewhat in recent years. However, they continue to be an important part of Japanese culture and are likely to remain so for many years to come.


In conclusion, there are many reasons why Japanese people sleep on futons. They offer several benefits over Western-style mattresses, including portability and ease of storage. Additionally, they have cultural significance in Japan and continue to be an important part of daily life for many Japanese people today.

Can you sleep on a Japanese futon every night?

Several of our clients favor futon mattresses over conventional bedding options. Indeed, high-quality futons are suitable for sleeping every night. However, it is crucial to distinguish between well-made futons and low-quality imitations that offer poor sleep quality.

What percentage of Japanese people sleep on futons?

According to our survey results, 59 percent sleep in Western style beds compared to 40 percent who indicated to sleep in Japanese style futons.

Why do Japanese sleep on hard beds?

In Japan, it is customary to sleep on a thin mattress placed on top of a tatami mat constructed from rice straw and woven with soft rush grass. This practice is believed to promote muscle relaxation and natural alignment of the hips, shoulders, and spine.

Why do most Japanese sleep on the floor?

By sleeping with the mat on the floor – rather than on a bed frame, as in Western culture – the Japanese believe it helps to relax the muscles, while enabling the hips, shoulders and spine to maintain a natural alignment during rest.

Do Japanese sleep without pillows?

The biggest differentiator in the traditional way the Japanese sleep is that they sleep on the floor, on top of a precisely arranged combination of cushions and mats. At the bottom is a tatami mat, followed by a Shikifuton (or mattress) and a kakebuton (the duvet), and topped off with a buckwheat hull pillow.Aug 26, 2019

What are the cons of a Japanese futon?

One major drawback of a Japanese futon is the amount of floor space it requires due to its rectangular shape and lack of legs for support. Furthermore, you will need to find a place to store the mattress when it is not being used.

Another reason why futons are popular in Japan is their affordability. Compared to Western-style mattresses, futons can be much more affordable, making them accessible to a wider range of people. This is especially important in Japan, where living spaces can be small and expensive.

In recent years, there has been a growing interest in futons outside of Japan. Many people in Western countries have started to embrace the minimalist lifestyle that futons represent. Additionally, futons can be a great option for people who live in small apartments or who frequently move around, as they are lightweight and easy to transport.

Despite the popularity of futons, there are some drawbacks to consider. For example, futons can be difficult to get used to if you are accustomed to sleeping on a thicker mattress. Additionally, they may not provide enough cushioning for people with certain health conditions, such as arthritis or chronic pain.

Overall, whether or not you choose to sleep on a futon depends on your personal preferences and needs. If you are interested in trying out a futon, it’s important to do your research and find one that is comfortable and supportive. With proper care and maintenance, a high-quality futon can provide many years of comfortable sleep.

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