Futons and Pillows


For centuries, the people of Japan have had to make the best of the little space available. The average family had one room, which served all purposes-eating, sleeping, working, and living. Out of this grew the Japanese futon. Now J-Life International, Inc. brings this Japanese concept to the American public. All of our custom futon bedding items are made of high quality 100% cotton fabric from Japan. They are made in the U.S. by highly skilled craftsmen using traditional materials and designs. The average life of our Futon bedding items is 7-22 years (depending on usage, averaging 15 years). To take advantage of the complete Japanese futon sleep experience, we recommend the entire set consisting of the Kake Futon (comforter blanket), Shiki Futon (natural cotton filled futon to sleep on) and Soba Gara Makura - Buckwheat Hull Pillow.

Shiki Futons - the Japanese Mattress:

The premise behind a Shiki Futon is not to be a cheap alternative to a bed but rather to be a complete sleep system. However, your level of desired comfort depends on a number of factors. The most important factor when considering how much of the sleep system to purchase is what you are sleeping on now.

Your body and all its muscles adjust to your sleeping surface over time (average adjustment time is 1 week to any new surface). Just as you may wakeup feeling sore or uncomfortable or get a poor night's sleep in a hotel room, you may have a short adjustment period to your new futon.

This largely depends on what you are transitioning from. If you have been sleeping on an American Futon that is typically 6-12 inches in thickness or a sofa (or directly on the floor), the Shiki Futon will be heaven in comparison. If you have been sleeping on a pillow top mattress, and transition over, you may find the Shiki Futon a bit firm.

The best way to determine your needs is to purchase the Shiki Futon to start. Try it for at least a week. If you feel that you need additional support or comfort, purchase the 3-Fold Mattress.

Everyone is unique in their sleep needs and only you know what you need however, we have found in hundreds of cases that most people who have suffered a bad back and cannot sleep for more than a couple of hours at a time due to muscle soreness, etc. have seen some type of improvement by using our Shiki Futon. This is due to the proper posture attained by sleeping on a firmer surface and adding our Soba Gara Makura (Buckwheat Hull Pillow) for proper body alignment.

J-Life Shiki Futon

This is a true Japanese shiki futon. There is no foam, wool or innersprings in the J-Life Futon. All J-Life Futons meet US federal flammability requirements..

Made in the USA, the J-Life Futon is also hand made but the use of American manufacturing techniques have resulted in a much more effiicient process that allows us to bring this premium futon to you at a significant savings in cost. Covered in a tough 7 ounce white twill material, this futon will stand up to daily use for many years. Additonally, most users do not require any additional padding (such as a tri-fold mattress) to be completely comfortable.

Kake Futon

Our silk-filled J-Life kakefutons are fit for an emperor. Once forbidden to all but the imperial families of Japan and China, kakefuton filled with light, supple, hand pulled mulberry silk are the ultimate in comfort. Silk fibers constantly equalize temperature eliminating hot and cold spots in the comforter. They also wick away moisture and dissipate it better than cotton, down or polyester. Also, unlike down and cotton/poly filled comforters, silk is hypo-allergenic and inhospitable to dust mites. It is also mildew resistant. And, best of all, these comforters can be cleaned! Silk filled kakefutons can be dry cleaned. The removable custom covers are machine washable. This is an improvement over the cotton/poly filled kakefutons available today which cannot be cleaned or dry cleaned.

Buckwheat Hull Pillows (Soba Gara Makura)

The Japanese Buckwheat Hull Pillow (or "Soba Gara Makura" as it is called in Japan) has been around for many centuries and still continues to be the most popular pillow used by modern day Japan. This pillow allows you to sleep comfortably in the correct position while keeping your spine in perfect alignment. It offers firm yet comfortable support and will keep your head and neck cool by absorbing the sweat and heat and allowing it to dissipate. Our Japanese Buckwheat Hull Pillows are made of 100% thoroughly cleansed organic buckwheat. Our hulls are specially polished to sit well with each other and fit the contours of your head and neck and give the perfect amount of support. Each pillow is covered in our traditional Japanese futon fabric that is imported directly from Japan. Each Soba Gara Makura, Japanese Buckwheat Pillow comes with a traditional matching pillow case (open on both ends). This case is completely machine washable and made from a vegetable dyed cotton. The Soba Gara Makura Buckwheat Hull pillow must be sunned outdoors occasionally to avoid moisture retention in the contents of the organic buckwheat hulls.

In Japan (as in most of the world), tension headaches are very common. This is a result of increasing stress levels at home and in the workplace. The phenomenon of this tension headache is known to the Japanese as "Katakori". The best remedy for Katakori is the Soba Gara Makura. When your muscles are in their preferred position of proper cervical curvature they will not have to work so hard during the night. Your muscles can relax. While your muscles are relaxing your nerves can then heal from the daily irritation of head, back and arm movements. This naturally increases your body comfort and allows you to fall asleep faster.Sleeping is one of the most important things we do. Proper sleep affects how we perform throughout the day. The better we sleep, the better our performance. In spite of the importance of sleep, most pillows were not designed to properly support the body to ensure a good night's sleep. But with the Soba Gara Makura Buckwheat pillow you will sleep in a proper position and your muscles will be able to relax. The relaxation of your muscles will ease body pain, giving you a better and more thorough sleep.

For your convenience, our Japanese Buckwheat Pillow comes in two designs. We offer a standard pillow shape and also a neck roll shape. The neck roll is best for people who prefer sleeping on their backs. The traditional pillow shape works well for any sleeping position.

Once you try our traditional Japanese buckwheat pillow, we are sure you will fall in love with it. Over the years we have had many satisfied customers that wouldn't part with their pillow for anything. After you try it, you'll wonder how you ever lived without it.

Please contact us with any questions. One of our Customer Care Specialists will be more than happy to assist you with your selection.