In this article we will take a look at the way of traditional Japanese sleeping. Western style beds have become widely accepted and can be found in most homes. In fact, Japanese furniture stores sell beds in all kinds of sizes and forms, including some unique fold-away types. However, the old style of sleeping in Japan is to lie down on rectangular-shaped mats called "futon" (布団) -- in a room where the floor is laid with "tatami's" (see links below for more information). When it comes time to prepare for sleeping, the futon bedding materials are removed from the sliding door "oshi-ire" closet and placed on the tatami floor. There are two basic types of futons: (1) "shiki-buton" (敷布団), which is thicker and serves as the bottom mattress, and (2) "ka-ke-buton" (掛け布団), which lighter and is used as a Duvet/blanket. For those who want a softer/more supportive mattress feel, a foam mat can be laid under the shiki-buton. Of course, pillows (makura/枕) are also used, and a wide variety of makura are sold in Japanese stores -- including traditional types which are filled with buckwheat. In order to keep futons clean and fresh, they are generally hung out on the balcony to soak up natural sunlight and then vacuumed afterwards (there are special vacuum cleaners made for this purpose). We hope you will have the chance to enjoy our Japanese-style of sleeping.
Written by Goodfield