5 Best Japanese Futon Mattresses: Comprehensive Review and Buying Guide

Last updated May 5, 2020 Read 17 min
Written by: Alex Savy

The Japanese are a nation of long-living people.

And the secret to this — aside from a lot of seafood in their diet — is healthy sleep.

One of the essential parts of traditional Japanese culture is shikibuton, a rollable floor mattress that is used for daily sleeping. And given its thin design, it might be hard to imagine that it can offer any comfort.

But it can, indeed. And I invite you to check out the five best Japanese futon mattresses that I have tested and reviewed below to help you choose the one that will bring healthy sleep to your life!

A Quick Preview

EMOOR Japanese Futon
Best Japanese Futon Mattress

EMOOR Japanese Futon
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FULI Japanese Futon
Best for Luxurious Looks

FULI Japanese Futon
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Luxton Home
Best for Spine Support

Luxton Home
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D&D Futon Furniture
Best Affordable Pick

D&D Futon Furniture
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MAXYOYO
Best Travel-Friendly Option

MAXYOYO
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Our Reviews of 5 Best Japanese Futons

Best Japanese Futon Mattress - EMOOR Japanese Futon

EMOOR Japanese Futon

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Highlights

  • designed by Japanese craftsmen;
  • has a natural cotton cover;
  • contains a firm polyester pad for better support.

I will start my review of the best Japanese futon mattresses with this classic model by EMOOR. This is one of the most authentic options on the market because it’s made in Japan. Plus, it has a well-made design and feels very comfortable, so you will be able to upgrade your sleeping experience easily!

For unbeatable support, this shikibuton features a sandwich-like design with a firm polyester pad being surrounded by soft padding. Thanks to this combo, the mattress can conform to your body shape and support the correct spine alignment.

Also, the fluffy fibers and a natural cotton cover prevent the EMOOR from sleeping hot. The cotton helps wick away body moisture and feels soft and pleasant to the touch, whereas fibers adjust to your body temperature and maintain the optimal microclimate while you sleep.

The firm polyester pad, along with ensuring proper support, also contributes to anti-sagging properties and durability. So, the EMOOR shikibuton will easily serve you for years to come, assuming that you’ll care for it properly.

The EMOOR futon doesn’t offer you any extras, except being manufactured in Japan, but has all the basic features — such as well-made construction, decent cradling, and cool sleep. And all this goodness comes with more than an appealing price tag!

Best for Luxurious Looks - FULI Japanese Futon

FULI Japanese Futon

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Highlights

  • three-layer construction;
  • available in a variety of sizes;
  • luxurious design.

The FULI has proudly claimed its place in this review of the top-rated Japanese futon mattresses because it features the combo of luxurious design, decent durability, and great supportive properties — basically, all the things you can ask for in a futon!

The mattress features three layers and measures around 2.5 inches thick when fully expanded. So, if you’re an average or petite sleeper, this mattress can totally cradle you and ensure the right spine support.

The mattress surface cover is made of durable materials and has a breathable weave, which makes it resistant to dust mites and mold. This is a great feature for those who don’t have a balcony or live in humid climates and cannot regularly air out their mattresses.

One more good thing about the FULI is the cotton cover. Natural cotton has good breathability and is able to absorb moisture, so you will stay cool and dry throughout the night.

Having tested it for a while, I can surely say that the FULI is a decent futon mattress for both occasional and regular sleeping. It looks great, offers a decent amount of cushioning, and supports your spine in any position.

Best for Spine Support - Luxton Home

Luxton Home

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Highlights

  • lightweight and compact;
  • supports natural spine alignment;
  • breathable and sleeps cool.

The next option in my review of the best shikibutons is by Luxton Home, and it can become a lifesaver for everyone who struggles with back issues. Even though this model is slightly thinner than the average futon, it is comfortable to sleep on and very supportive for the spine.

I was testing this futon after a long-haul flight, and given it always gives me a bit of stiffness in the lumbar area, this mattress worked miracles. I felt completely rested and fresh the morning after!

Now, this Japanese futon has a firmer feel, so it can make a perfect pick for back and stomach sleepers, even heavier ones, who suffer from back issues.

The cotton cover contributes to breathability and feels soft and cool to the skin. According to the manufacturer, the mattress can suit individuals with allergies and skin disorders because of its antibacterial properties. 

The Luxton Home is a really good pick if you need a durable and firm shikibuton that can relieve your back pain and bring the sound sleep back into your life.

Best Affordable Pick  - D&D Futon FurnitureD and D Futon Furniture

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Highlights

  • sandwich construction with a firm core;
  • cotton batting for better pressure relief;
  • durable and breathable polyester cover.

When testing and reviewing the best Japanese futon mattresses, I came across this low-cost shikibuton by D&D Futon Furniture. This model packs the combo of resilient foam, cozy cotton batting, and a durable polyester cover. And its price is beyond tempting! So, what are we waiting for?

The first thing that caught my eye was the sandwich-like design. A thin layer of firm foam is stuffed between soft cotton, and this combination results in a medium feel with some hug. The futon gently cradles your body and helps you sleep soundly.

The cotton batting also adjusts to your body temperature, while the breathable polyester cover helps you stay dry. So, if you live in a hot climate or struggle with hot flashes, you might discover all the wonders of cool sleep with this shikibuton.

Along with that, if you’re into yoga or meditation, you can easily use this futon as your mat. It’s pretty durable and can withstand active use during yoga sessions while ensuring your comfort.

I really enjoyed sleeping on this Japanese futon. It’s soft, comfortable, and seems pretty durable for a budget-friendly item.

Best Travel-Friendly Option  - MAXYOYOMAXYOYO

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Highlights

  • quilted design for even fill distribution;
  • comes with a dustproof cover
  • available in many colors and prints.

And the last option in my review of the best Japanese futon mattresses is for all my fellow travelers out there. You’ve always dreamed about having something comfortable and cozy under your back after a long hiking day? Or, you never trust those hotel beds? Well, this model by MAXYOYO can turn into a travel-friendly bed and offer you sound sleep wherever you go.

What makes this shikibuton travel-friendly is its compact construction. The Queen size weighs only about 13.7 pounds and is easy to carry around when folded. Also, the MAXYOYO comes with a dustproof cover of the same design as the futon, a bandage strap to fold it, and a convenient carrying bag to make the transportation even easier.

Along with that, the futon features a great supportive combo of resilient foam and microfiber cotton batting that can offer some sinkage and help relax your muscles while you sleep. Also, the quilted design will ensure even weight distribution without lumps and dips, so you won’t be tossing and turning for hours.

The versatility of this futon mattress is incredible. Aside from using it as intended, you can turn it into a mattress topper for your RV bed, a yoga mat, or even a low-sitting chair if you fold it and sit on it. Isn’t that great?

If you need a low-cost, durable, compact and versatile futon mattress, you should definitely go with this one because it has all of this plus a stylish look.

Japanese Traditions in Sleep at a Glance

Japanese Traditions in Sleep at a Glance

So, a futon is a traditional type of bedding that had been used in Japan for decades. Most Japanese families lived in small houses — it usually had just one room for all the family members — so in order to make the most of the tiny space, they used mattresses that could be easily folded away during the day.

The term ‘traditional floor futon’ typically refers to one item, but actually, a traditional Japanese bed included a set of elements:

  • shikibuton, or the ‘spreading futon’ — a mattress that you spread on the floor to sleep on.
  • kakebuton, or the ‘covering futon’ — a duvet cover that fits the size of the futon.
  • makura — a small pillow that is put on the futon.

The shikibuton is generally about 3 inches thick; however, some models may reach 4 inches. Hand-crafted models mostly use natural cotton as the filling, because of its density and great insulating properties. Mass-produced futons may feature a memory foam core layer for better support.

The cover can be made of cotton or bamboo fabric: both these materials wick away moisture and promote airflow inside the futon.

Now, you may want to pair your futon with a tatami mat made of bamboo straws. This elevates the futon from the bare ground and improves heat and moisture removal. Also, the tatami feels softer than the floor and could make your futon more comfortable.

Note that Japanese futons are used for sleeping only because they’re typically too soft and pliable to create a comfortable spot for leisure activities. 

Also, since futons lie on the floor and are more exposed to humidity, they need to be aired out daily to prevent mold development and funky odors.

How to Choose a Good Japanese Futon?

How to Choose a Good Japanese Futon

Every decision should be made with thorough attention to detail.

And when it comes to sleep, you need to be even more attentive. After all, we spend the third of our life sleeping, and our body needs proper rest.

So, let’s see what you should pay attention to when choosing a traditional Japanese floor mattress to upgrade your sleeping experience.

Check the Size 

Most modern shikibutons are made in standard mattress sizes, such as Twin, Full, Queen, or King. So, make your choice based on your needs. An average-weight couple may feel comfortable even on a Full-size mattress, while larger sleepers might need Queen or even King. At the same time, a single sleeper will benefit from a lightweight Twin-size model.

A Twin-size shikibuton can easily turn into a comfortable sleeping mat for camping! It won’t take much space when folded and can help you improve your sleep.

Consider the Materials of Japanese futon mattresses 

Modern Japanese beds may have either natural cotton or synthetic stuffing. Which of these you choose mainly depends on your needs and personal preferences.

Cotton is more breathable and initially hypoallergenic, while synthetic fibers have better durability and don’t form lumps over time. Along with that, some futons feature a thin layer of foam for better support and more pronounced cradling. 

The cover is important too. Some manufacturers might use various chemicals to enhance the antimicrobial properties of their futons, so it’s always a good idea to check this before purchase. Especially if you have allergies.

Some Japanese-style futons come with a protective cover that won’t allow dust and debris to build up inside. This cover is often removable, so you can take it away and wash it, which makes the maintenance easier.

Think About the Maintenance

The dust and moisture can make even the best Japanese futon wear out quickly.

The best way to prevent this is to air out your futon regularly and expose it to direct sunlight. But if you cannot do that for some reason, here are the alternative ways:

  • Opt for heavy-duty materials. Cotton or synthetic fabrics with a tight weave are able to let the air in while keeping the dust out.
  • Purchase a cover or a protector. An encasement will protect the futon from accidental spills and stains or bed bugs, which is especially helpful if you live in an apartment.

Also, you may be able to just wash your futon (it’s a good idea to use a laundromat for this purpose, as a standard household washer may be too small for that).

Note though, that not all shikibutons are washable or tumble dryer-friendly. Some of them might allow only dry cleaning. So, be sure to check the manufacturer care instructions before you do something with them.

Outline the Price

Even though futons are a relatively affordable type of mattress, you still need to understand how much you may have to spend on it. A model with basic features may cost you about $100, but some more luxurious and thicker options could cost as much as $300 or even more.

Wrapping Up

Japanese futons are popular for a reason. They’re affordable, versatile and can support your spine during sleep no worse than a regular bed. All the models I’ve presented above can make a great pick if you consider purchasing this bedding item. As for my personal favorite, I’d choose the EMOOR Japanese futon. I really loved the amount of support and comfort this shikibuton can offer and its cooling effect, which is possible due to the soft cotton cover. Also, the fact that it’s been handmade by Japanese craftsmen somehow adds to the authenticity and is exciting in some way. What about you? What things are you looking for in a perfect futon mattress? Share your feedback below, I’d love to hear from you!

Our research

26

Mattresses Considered

98

Hours of Research

3

Sleep Experts Consulted

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