We will guide you through the process of filling cotton in your own special zabuton (Japanese floor cushion). This is a uniquely Japanese method of stuffing cotton into the square fabric. A futon craftsman will carefully show and teach you that century-old traditional secret on a tatami mat. If there is more time, we will teach you not only how to stuff the cotton, but also how to stitch the fabric together and attach tassels.
You can take your finished zabuton home in a classic kimono style azuma bag made from leftover futon fabric! You can use your zabuton on the plane on your way home.
You will also see other futon craftsmen working around you, handcrafting a variety of traditional futons! These futons are made to order, not only from Japan, but from all over the world.
This is a unique opportunity that only Futon Tokyo can offer you.
We look forward to your participation.
If you want to use organic materials, you can opt to make a extra-thin pillow (pillow pad).
The event is usually held on Wednesdays. Please check the dates on the application page.
- Suitable for : 13+ Children under 13 years old must be accompanied by an adult
- Start Time : 13:30
- Duration : 2 hours
- Price : JPY5,000
- Required Skills: None in particular
After you have stuffed the cotton, we will close it and make the tassels for you. If there is time left in the workshop, you can do it in parts.
- Place : Our futon workshop (we will be making futons in the same room)
- Experience fee
- Material for making a 50 cm (19.6″) square zabuton or a extra-thin organic pillow 62 x 43 cm (46″ x 27″).
- One Azuma Cotton Bag – You can take your finished item in and bring it back with you.
- Tea (bottle)
- Disposable Face Mask
- This activity will have a maximum of 4 people. (Only one chaperone is allowed per participant. More than one chaperone is not possible due to space limitations.)
- Not wheelchair accessible (sorry, no elevators)
- Please be careful not to get too closer to the craftsman while they are using needles. The needle is a specialized tool for making zabuton, very thick and dangerous.
- Skirts are not suitable as you will be using your legs to hold down the cotton. Please wear pants. Or bring your own pants and change.
- Masks are required to avoid inhaling cotton fibers.
- Cotton fibers will stick to your hair as well, so we recommend wearing a cap if this is a concern. Or wrap a cloth or towel around your head.
- We will publicize the workshop on our website and social networking sites. Your photos may also be featured. If you don’t like it, please let us know in advance.
Material : Natural cotton filling
Fabric (inside out, one side opening. The other three sides are stitched and closed already.)
How to make a zabuton step by step
1. Wataire 綿入れ (Lay cotton on the fabric)
Lay the fabric on tatami.
Tear the first layer of cotton larger than the fabric on all four sides.
Place it on the fabric.
Put more layers of cotton crosswise.
There are the directions of fibers of cotton.
Trim the overflowed cotton from the certain points.
Place it on the top of the center and make there thicker.
Fold the cotton to fit the shape of the fabric.
2.Wataire 綿入れ (Wadding)
Fold the them with one hand, turn over the fabric little by little.
Adjust the shape and even out the surface.
Tack all corners of the cotton to the corners of the fabric.
Following it, we will take care of your zabuton.
3.Kuke 絎け (Stitching up)
Close the opening with zabuton needle and thread (very delicate control of power is required) .
4.Tataki たたき (Beating)
Beat zabuton to make sure that every corner are filled with cotton.
Cotton is settled down.
5. Toji, Fusatuske 綴じ、房付け (Binding and make the tufts)
Using silk threads, make a cross binding in the center and tufts on each corner to fix the position of the cotton.
Congratulations! Your zabuton is finished!
Bring it back with your memory of Tokyo and enjoy at home.
It is most important to give your zabuton time to air out to keep it hygienic and resilient. Cotton filling is not meant to be washed. Machine washing can lead warping. If the fabric get stained, please use a damp cloth to wipe. Using a cover is also recommended.
More about Zabuton
The origin of zabuton
It has a close relation with tatami. Zabutons are made for sitting on the floor in tatami rooms. This way of sitting that take a seat on the floor without chair is one of representative Japanese-style. There are many traditional rules and manners related to zabuton in the Japanese culture. Traditional Japanese-style rooms are elegant and beautiful. The host pay full attention to make where the guests sit comfortable in order to show their hospitality to the guests. The Japanese traditional textile, for example cotton, linen, and polyester have been used for zabuton fabric. Zabuton have various sizes depending on the purpose. (in descending order in size, monks, rakugo storytellers, newlywed couples, for house warming, for everyday use) Japanese lifestyles have been changing, altering the styles of zabutons as well. We can see that new zabutons in the new shapes and even smaller sizes have been produced to fit the modern lifestyle.
The difference of zabuton and cushion
The main difference is how to use. Cushions are usually placed between your back and sofa (or chair) or on your side whereas zabutons are usually placed between your hip (or knee) and floor. Zabutons make it comfortable to sit on the floor and also keep your body warm. In general, zabutons are thinner than cushions and most of them are in rectangle. Though zabutons are smaller than futons, there are some making process that are common with traditional futons. Zabutons are used not only when sitting, but also folded and used as temporary pillows and nap mattresses for baby.