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„Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.“ Benjamin Franklin

I bet you never heard about a futon mattress, or maybe you didn’t know these, let’s call it facts. Some of them are from the history behind this piece of furniture, and some are just pure facts. Breath in, now breath out and let’s read!

The minimalism of your soul

At the entrance to a traditional Japanese house, you feel like entering into a piece of art. That is the way how it was built, to impress you and fuse the line between nature and our lifestyle. Nature-based are in the spotlight and can be found anywhere inside the traditional Japanese house. 

On the other hand, minimalism is the second strongest aspect of these houses. If we made all this into one sentence it will be:  

„This is the place where your soul and mind can feel freedom.“

A little history from Japan

The origin of these mattresses as nobles came from the 17th century in Japan. These thin, roll-up beds became more popular in the 18th century also in Japan. They gained popularity came from the possibility to be placed directly on the floor and the possibility to store them when not in use.

It is said, that the evolution came from the time when people slept on roll-up mats directly placed on the floor. Same as today, they had to work with small space for sleep, thus came the idea of the roll-up.

Back in the 18th century, as the mattress became more and more popular, and cotton became more widespread, came mass production. This time is considered as the birth of futons as we know them today. You can find them in more homes than ever before.

Simple, roll-up bed!

The remarkable beauty of a simple world „FUTON“, translated from Japanese, traditionally means bed. Simple explanation but why not look further in the world of this beautiful furniture that can change its shape and purpose.

In Western modern cultures, there is a luxurious bedroom where people sleep and after they wake up as a part of the morning routine, they do their beds. That is precisely the meaning of a bedroom.

However, in Japan, the lovely houses are typically small which means that Japanese people had to work with less private space. 

From this „key issue“ undoubtedly comes the creative roll-up bed solution of shapeshifting. Each morning the whole bed is packed away and stored in a cupboard so that the room looks empty and clean, later it can be used for other purposes or shifts into a sofa.

Did you know about the Japanese futon mattresses?

Traditional Japanese bed consist of: shikibuton 敷き布団(supportive layer), kakebuton 掛け布団(covering for the top layer, duvet) and makura (pillow)

Shikibuton: comes from the Japanese word hiku, meaning “to lay”. The Shikibuton can include one or two mattresses of varying thickness.

Kakebuton: is a Japanese verb that means to lay on top. In other words, it is a comforter or duvet.

Makura: this word means pillow. Traditional Japanese makura is part of the futon. The small size and strength of this pillow will ensure you a good sleep. It is filled with buckwheat hulls or beans.

The bottom layer is filled with cotton. The mattress cover is usually made from wool or cotton. It can be directly placed on the floor, but in many Japanese houses, they place them on Tatami floors.

Tatami floor is made from rice straws. These types of floors can provide a soft base for the mattress.

The Japan Futon mattress gives the essential needs for your body such as a nice natural touch, support for your spine for the whole night. Thanks to the used materials inside, the futon mattress can adapt to the season. During summer they can absorb all the moisture from the room and during winter they will keep you warm and cozy.

The western world and the Japanese mattress

As we mentioned the traditional Japanese futon is filled exclusively with cotton. In almost any traditional Japanese house you will find a futon mattress directly placed on the tatami floor.

The western world-recognized modern futons, which are made from materials such as natural fibers, wool, natural rubber, coconut fiber, or horsehair. Tatami didn’t become a part of the western living style, so the futon is directly placed on the floor or in a futon frame, this is a main difference between the eastern and west futon.

Western futon bed
Photo by Roberto Nickson on Unsplash

Our modern way of living banished nature from day-to-day living, we live in concrete jungles and just in recent years, we are discovering something that we knew way back in time. It is not a surprise that the traditional Japanese way of sleeping is becoming more and more popular in the last few years.

Be open to new experiences, be more open-minded and try a new and different way of life. Embrace nature in our life and have some of it every day. Focus on our surroundings and don’t take everything as granted as it is, give something back to your body.

So what are you waiting for? Did you know about futons before or do you have any experience with them? Let us know in the comments below!