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Shikibuton /Japanese Futon Mattress
What is a Shikibuton Japanese futon mattress and where can you buy one?
In this post we have gathered all the information about what a shikibuton mattress is and where you can purchase one. The Japanese are known for their minimalist nature and this includes their bedroom and sleeping arrangements. They commonly sleep on a futon that sits on the floor, called a shikibuton. A shikibuton can easily be rolled up and stowed away during the days and pulled out when needed at nights. This allows for the bedroom to be utilized for alternative purposes during the day. A shikibuton is made of a minimal amount of filling (commonly cotton or wool) and sits directly on the floor. Shikibutons are not only great for storage but they are great for the environment as well. Using less material and easily recyclable materials means these mattresses leave less excess resources in our landfills at the end of their life cycle.
What size is a Shikibuton Japanese futon mattress?
A shikibuton is a thin Japanese futon mattress that is usually filled with cotton or wool. It sits on the floor and can be rolled up for storage or portability when not in use. A shikibuton comes in a variety of sizes, styles and materials in order to meet the needs of multiple sleeping preferences.
History of the Japanese shikibuton?
For centuries the Japanese commonly lived in small homes, sometimes with a single room for the entire family. These small living quarters contributed to the minimalist lifestyle of the Japanese culture as well as many innovative and versatile products to fit within a small space. The easy storage of the Japanese futon made it comfortable and perfect for their lifestyle and it stuck.
Western culture has a different view of beds that developed more from a status perspective. Royalty in Europe slept on luxurious thick beds while poorer households slept on the floor or thinner beds.
After WWII soldiers came back to society after being in Japan and spread the word about Futon mattresses and how comfortable they are. It didn’t take long for the western culture to embrace futons and make them their own.
As with anything the western culture took futons and made them their own. The only problem is they began to make them thicker and took the “more is better approach”. This made western style futons thick and unable to be rolled and stored, which is the main appeal of a Japanese futon.
Today, for those looking for an original Shikibuton – Japanese style futon experience they must steer clear of the westernized futon and purchase an original Japanese made futon.
Westernized futons vs A Shikibuton "Original" Japanese futon?
Western culture embraced the Japanese shikibuton futon and made it their own. In making their own version they made changes and ultimately made a slightly different product. here are the main differences between a westernized futon and Japanese futon.
Western futon: A western futon mattress is exactly as it sounds a westernized take on the original Japanese futon mattress. Westernized culture made their futon thicker and more robust. They also added in a variety of different fillings and build specs in order to meet the needs of a variety of sleepers. Western futons come in anything from memory foam to latex and innerspring options. The main difference with a western futon is that they made them so thick that they do not easily fold or roll up storage, which is one of the main features that the Japanese need in their shikibuton.
Shikibuton – Japanese futon: The shikibuton is thinner and made with wool/ cotton. Unlike the western futon it can easily be rolled or folded up for storage when not in use.
Things to consider before buying a shikibuton "japanese futon" mattress.
Comfort: A shikibuton may be thinner than a traditional mattress or futon you are used to. This may mean it has a slightly firmer feel than you are used to. However, firm sleeping platforms are actually very healthy and supportive for spinal alignment and back pain.
Price: A shikibuton will likely be much more affordable than a standard western mattress you are used to.
Portability: A shikibuton is easy to roll up and stow away or bring with you on the go. This makes it more versatile than a traditional mattress. There are a variety of different types of shikibutons with different options for portability and storage.
Size: Shikibuton futons come in a variety of sizes to fit a single person or multiple sleepers. The larger the size the more expensive and harder to stow.
Advantages and disadvantages of shikibuton mattresses
- Affordably priced – about a quarter of the price of a standard mattress or bed set.
- Eco-friendly – Shikibuton’s use less materials as well as recyclable and chemical free materials.
- Small footprint/portable – you can easily roll or fold up your japanese futon and put it in a closet or take it with you on the go.
- Variety – Less variety of comfort levels and materials than a standard mattress.
- Low to the ground – May be hard to get in and out of bed for older individuals or those with bad hips or backs.
- Firm feel – the comfort of a shikibuton may be firmer than a standard western style mattress. This does not mean it is worse but just may be a different feel than you are used to.
Top 4: Shikibuton's - Traditional Japanese Futon Mattresses
BEST TRADITIONAL SHIKIBUTON
WHAT CUSTOMERS LOVE:
Avaioable in 3" or 5" inch options. Medium-firm feel and affordably priced.
PRICE: From $290
If you are looking for a traditional Shikibuton mattress then this is our top pick for you. These Traditional Japanese Shiki Futon are made from layers of organic cotton and encased in an organic cotton twill fabric. Made for use on the floor or on a tatami mat. Breathable and lightweight, these Organic Cotton Shiki Futons are designed to be rolled up and stored away when not in use. You can customize your comfort by layering two or more shikibutons on top of each other. This can provide a softer sleeping surface. Organic Cotton is a natural, renewable, biodegradable and sustainable fiber. Cotton breathes, so it stays cool, is never itchy, and it’s grown pesticide free, and free of any harmful chemicals. Available with organic ticking or poly cotton ticking.
WHAT CUSTOMERS LOVE:
Easy folding for storage when not in use.
PRICE: From $303
The thicker and firmer easy storage sleeping solution; Just flip ’em, fold ’em and store ’em! Tri-fold foam folding beds (or as we like to call them, shikibutons) are the perfect folding bed for guests, but can also serve as a quick conversion sofa / ottoman or even a camping mat. The foam in this tri fold futon is guest bed grade with a firm, high density feel made specifically to hold up for years under intermittent use.
BEST BUDGET FRIENDLY OPTION
WHAT CUSTOMERS LOVE:
Available in a variety of sizes and colors at an affordable price
This Japanese futon mattress is great for sleeping guests, taking camping or for sleeping additional kids. The affordable price range easy portability make it a perfect option for occasional use. Unlike some of the other shikibuton mattresses in this post, this mattress is not designed for sleeping on every night. It uses entry level materials and craftsmanship and does not provide the support that some of the other options do. If you are looking for an every night mattress then this is not our top pick for you.
WHAT CUSTOMERS LOVE:
A very comfortable medium-firm Japanese futon mattress. Extremely breathable.
Airweave utilizes a proprietary airfiber that looks similar to an interwoven plastic material. This gives the mattress and open and breathable structure while still providing amazing support. The Airweave futon or shikibuton mattress is made in Japan and designed to be used on the floor, a tatami mat or at a mattress topper. This mattress is going to give the sleeper a firm supportive surface to sleep on that ins’t commonly found with other traditional Japanese futon mattresses.
Alternative options for purchasing a futon or shikibuton mattress?
What to do with your old mattress?
When you purchase a mattress online you are left to find a way to get rid of your old one. Luckily “A Bedder World” has mattress disposal services throughout the country. We work with mattress recycling centers to make sure your old mattress gets disposed of in the most eco-friendly manner possible. To date we have recycled over 500K mattresses. Book a pick up here. Or try recycling it yourself!
Shikibuton mattresses are becoming more common and there are quite a few high quality companies providing options for for customers to buy online. All of the companies listed in this post are companies that we trust and that have great reputations within the sleep community. You can feel confident placing an order with an of them.