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Buy futon in JP and sending internationally 2019/6/19 10:44
Am not sure if this is the right place to ask these but I have a couple of questions re: futons:
1. Where is the best place to buy them? Anything I should take note of before buying? Is it better if I get a futon with tatami mat set?
2. Is it possible to bring it with me (as checked-in luggage) home or is it better to just have it shipped as a separate item?
3. Am from a tropical country. It's hot all year-round. Is it advisable to get a futon?

Thanks a lot to everyone who will respond.
by DND (guest)  

Re: Buy futon in JP and sending internationally 2019/6/19 19:43
I'm not a futon expert, just someone who uses one to sleep, so take these as one person's opinions only!

1. It depends on what kind of futon you're looking for. Small futon-ya will have the traditional-looking Japanese fabrics. These futon are great in the beginning, but they get flattened and often need to be re-stuffed after awhile. So if you're not living in Japan, they might not be the best option. That said, I like how they look.

Home stores such as Nitori, Cainz Homes, Sekichu, and so forth have different grades, styles, and materials of futon available. Usually you'd get a foam pad that goes under, the futon of cotton or another material, and then over that a blanket to use. But there are lots of different choices. It might be worth it to talk with someone at one of those places to see if there is a good option for tropical climates. These futon are usually cream or plain colored, but if that doesn't matter then they'll be the better option.

I sleep on two of the futon-ya futon (never got around to getting them re-stuffed, so I just stack them instead!) and then on top of that, a foam pad from Nitori. In the winter, the foam pad has a layer of down I can add to it for more warmth. In the summer, you can buy "cool pads" also from Nitori and similar stores that help keep you cool. I've never used one, but I'm looking into buying one this year to try out. I've used one for my pillow that I like, so I'm thinking of getting a full sized one.

2. The only way I could see it being allowed as checked luggage is if you managed to get it into a box that fit within the guidelines of the airline you're flying. A futon-ya probably wont be able to pack a futon up (but maybe they could, you'll want to ask!), but some home stores might sell the futon shrink-wrapped smaller. You'd need to check at the store for what they sell, then check with the airline's guidelines. Shipping could be expensive... depending on what type you get, they can be both heavy and oddly-shaped. Unfortunately, I can't give much advice on that since I've never shipped a futon. I think it would depend on what you ended up buying.

3. Honestly, I personally wouldn't bother. Futon sit flat on the floor. Your body heat gets trapped and it is easy for the futon to get moldy unless you are very careful with the care of it, like airing it out and then folding it up every single day (a bit of a hassle!), and making sure you put it in the sun as much as possible (they're heavy and it's best to have a balcony to hang them off of). There are wooden slats you can buy to go under the futon that helps with air circulation, but that's one more thing to get unless you can find something similar in your home country. It doesn't really seem worth it to me! I used the wooden slats for awhile, but they're also troublesome. Overall while I like sleeping on futon, they can be a pain. Look into the care of them and make sure that you're willing to put in the work to keep them nice before you decide!

As a side note, if you do go for a futon, don't forget the sheets! Some of them might be a non-standard size in your country, so if you need to put sheets on them you'll want to make sure to get ones that will fit!
by Murny (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Buy futon in JP and sending internationally 2019/6/19 20:29
Why do you want to buy a futon? Had you slept on one and liked it? If so, try to find the one that is similar to that futon.

There is a huge variety of futon, in terms of contents, lining, thickness, lightness, etc. etc. etc. If you are coming to a Japanese city, perhaps you may want to consult at places like Shinjuku where shop clerks may be used to foreign tourists (meaning that they would know their necessities and climate and so on). Takashimaya Times Square consists of big shops carrying futon, which are Takashimaya Department Store, Tokyu Hands and Nitori. Visit them all and ask for your options.

Meanwhile, as the other poster mentioned, airing it out and then folding it up every single day, and making sure you put it in the sun as much as possible is what is expected as the norm. A typical Japanese futon user does it, or else they would not only be labeled as lazy but would suffer from mites and mold which would be hard to get rid of once you've got them (which is the reason many locals including me prefer to use Western beds and mattresses).

Tatami is a totally different story which needs tender care of its own. One reason you may want to buy it is to enjoy the scent and feel of igusa which is the material tatami is made from. Otherwise, you can just place your futon on things like sunoko which will sort of automatically air it as you sleep.

In any case, both futon and tatami are expected to be renewed once every several years or so.
by Uco rate this post as useful

Re: Buy futon in JP and sending internationally 2019/6/19 22:56
I forgot to write that, since you're supposed to fold and lift your futon two times a day, you as a beginner may want to choose a lighter and easy-to-fold one.
by Uco rate this post as useful

Re: Buy futon in JP and sending internationally 2019/6/20 10:49
Wow, I was blown away by the detailed responses. Thank you, guys.

First to answer, Uco's question, yes, I did sleep on a futon before and found it really comfortable. No idea what kind of material was in there though; I didnft bother to ask as I wrongly assumed all futons are the same. But that was during autumn, and I figured the cool weather may have also had a lot to do with the good quality of my sleep then, which is why I am wondering if the effect could still be replicated in a tropical environment.

Second, I suffer from some back problems, which I hope could be improved by sleeping flat on the floor on a regular basis.

Another reason I am considering buying a futon is that I move houses often, and am a little tired of having to move whole beds and mattresses with me every time. I imagine a futon would be much easier to move around and store away, especially since I live alone in rather small spaces.

But thanks for pointing out the matter about the futonfs upkeep. While doing some reading about this kind of bed, I did come across the mold/mites issue, which is now making me have second thoughts about getting one. Wish therefs a way to circumvent the airing out often part. Itfs soon going to be rainy season where Ifm at, and airing out a futon weekly just wonft be an option then.

Murny, I appreciate that you raised the part about shipping fees. I inquired and it cost almost half the price of a futon set to have them sent hahaha, no can do.

Guess I just have to shelf this plan for now. I just wish I can find a better or almost as good alternative. Again, my deep gratitude to you guys for replying.
by DND (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Buy futon in JP and sending internationally 2019/6/20 12:32

Thanks for the feedback. Your reasons do sound like you could indeed use a futon. You may want to try a set, and if it doesn't work, you can just throw it away and get back to beds.

When making your purchase, discuss all the things you've written here. Specialists would be able to suggest which product may suit you best.

Also available are futon driers (futon-kansou-ki) that are electronic products the size of a vacuum cleaner.

Keep in mind that, if you're making your purchase in Japan anyway, you can try staying at an inn where guests sleep on futon. If you still like it, ask the inn for details and try to get a similar set.
by Uco rate this post as useful

Re: Buy futon in JP and sending internationally 2019/6/20 21:14
DND, as I mentioned in my post, for awhile I used wooden slats under my futon in order to increase the airflow under them. It basically looked like this: https://images.app.goo.gl/fMXUYwaxgLHD5rd46 and had canvas attaching the wooden slats together so it would roll up. I got it at a home store like Cainz. Using it, I didn't need to roll up my futon every day. Instead, I would just put it out in the sun on sunny days when I had a chance, maybe once a week or every two weeks and leave it rolled out on the floor otherwise. (Lazy I know, but I hated having to roll the futon up all the time!!)

There are also products you can either buy or even build if you're handy that are similar, like a bed frame but with slats for airflow. Cainz has a bed that even folds up with the futon still on it that seems like a stand for it! I feel you could do a DIY version in your home country very easily. If you google "wooden slats for under futon", you can see a lot of ideas. Just another thought!
by Murny (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Buy futon in JP and sending internationally 2019/6/26 12:25
Sorry for not getting back sooner. I got a little busy with work the past week.

For now, I decided to postpone getting a futon. But if my trip to Japan pushes through by end of year, I might end up buying anyway! I will definitely keep in mind all your suggestions.

Again, thank you so much. Blessings to you, Uco and Murny! ^^
by DND (guest) rate this post as useful

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