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Introduction to Japanese Futon

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Japanese Futon

Japanese Futon

Photo (c) Shizuko Mishima
Futon are traditional Japanese beddings. Although many people in Japan sleep on beds in these days, it is still common to sleep on futon spread on the floor. Small couches which turn into beds are often called futon, but they are different from traditional Japanese futon.

Futon are supposed to be put away during the day in the closet called oshiire. In typical Japanese houses, one room is often used for dual purposes. During the day, a room can be used as workroom or guestroom after futon is stored in the oshiire.

A traditional Japanese futon includes shikibuton (under futon) and kakebuton (comforters). Futon are made of various materials, such as cotton, wool, feather, down, and more. Different types of futon are used, depending on the season and personal preferences.

It is important to occasionally air out futon outside on sunny days to prevent mold from forming and to kill dust mites. You may ruin your futon if you keep them in the closet or spread on the floor all the time. Japan is humid, especially during the rainy season. Futon dryers (futon kansouki) are also available.

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