Sleep well Japanese style

The Nineties was the time for futons. They were cheap, they were good quality and they could be found in starter homes across the country.

A couple of decades on and they largely seem to have been forgotten, and their reputation has suffered, which is a terrible shame, as they were great in so many ways. If you want a bed that will last for years and which is comfortable, with proven health benefits, then you really should consider a Japanese bed. Fashions change and sometimes, in order to stay ahead of the game, it is good to make a choice that it is neither in or out of fashion. The Japanese bed is that choice.

Health Benefits

We mentioned health benefits. The Japanese are known for being a healthy nation so the fact that they have put a lot of thought into designing their beds will come as no surprise. Sleeping on a Japanese bed is known to improve blood circulation, prevent back and neck pain, reduces risk of scolosis and corrects posture. One study found that the traditional Japanese bed prevents hip fractures in the elderly.

What is a Japanese bed?

A Japanese bed is traditionally known as a shikibuton or shikifuton, and is made up of a:

–  Shiki futon – the mattres

– Kakebuton comforter – the bedding

– Soba gara makura buckwheat hull pillows – pillows

– Tri-fold mattress pad

– Tatami mat – for the floor

– Platform bed – the frame

Japan Gardens is a good website which sells these items as well as many other Japanese products. This tatame floor mat is £182.96.


As with many things, we in the UK have adapted things to be more western in style, but the new Western Japanese beds still have many of the benefits of the traditional beds, and as with many Japanese items, the simplicty is still there. Japanese beds are simple but good quality. They are made to last, and a few years down the line you really appreciate this.

There are a few good shops which stock Japanese beds.

The Futon Shop stocks futon beds such as this Nevada futon bed base. As you can see, the base is solid and made to last decades and it has the low height of a Japanese bed.

The Funky Futon Company goes one step further with this Shiki futon bed base.  The simple frame is easily assembled, so good for if you move house quite a bit.  And its low height means that it is perfect for that attic room.

The Futon Company can be found on many high streets and stocks many Japanese influenced piece so furniture.  It is good for many items, from this tatami mat for £55

to this platform bed, for £395.

The idea of a traditional Japanese bed may be too adventurous for many of us, but that doesn’t mean we can’t adapt the idea and enjoy it in our own way. Many of the benefits can still be found in the Western versions, so if you’re in the bed buying process, why not try a Japanese style bed?

Failing that, how about a wearable futon bed…..?!

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