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Definition of Futón

The futon is a traditional Japanese bed style consisting of three main pieces: the mattress which is called ‘shikibuton’, the comforter which is ‘kakebuton’ and the pillow ‘makura’.


  1. Japanese bed
  2. Japanese sofa bed


At the end of the Tokugawa shogunate futons began to become widespread
in the general public and by the middle of the Meiji era almost the entire population was using a cotton futon.

The experience of sleeping on a futon is one of the most attractive activities for people going to Japan, this usually happens when staying in a ‘ryokan’ which is a traditional Japanese hotel.

The mattress and comforter are made of cotton because it is a good insulator. The comforter may be filled with ‘wata’, wool or feathers from goose or other birds.

The pillow is traditionally stuffed with beans or soba shells or called in Japanese ‘sobagara’. These bring many benefits to rest.

Traditionally futons are used on ‘tatami’, a type of flooring used in traditional Japanese style rooms, which provides a softer base than most other types of flooring such as wood or stone.

Sleeping on a futon offers extensive benefits to the body, as it is focused on eliminating stress, offers peace of mind and relaxation to the soul. It also prevents scoliosis in the back and many pregnant women prefer it for sleeping.


Nowadays in Japan people still sleep on a futon, although on wooden frames, let’s say on a wooden base like a western bed but with a futon mattress.

Futons can last up to 15 years and need to be replaced less frequently than a conventional mattress.