You may have heard the term “sobakawa” or buckwheat pillow before and most likely you have, because that is why you are here, reading this article.
In this article we are going to talk all about these magnificent pillows, why they can help you sleep better, and even review the best ones on the market.
If you are ready to learn about how you can sleep better, then read on.
“Soba” is the Japanese word for Buckwheat. The seeds of the plant are harvested, hulled, and ground to make noodles and other flour-based foods.
The “kawa” at the end of the word means “leather.”
Properly translated, “sobakawa” means the hulls of the buckwheat plant.
So why on earth would you make a pillow, out of sobakawa?
Buckwheat or “sobakawa” pillows are made with all-natural materials, including buckwheat hulls, organic cotton, etc.
They’re made free of man-made fabrics, so you won’t have to worry about exposure to materials that can cause allergic reactions.
Before buying a buckwheat pillow, there are a few things we want to point out:
Buckwheat pillows are extremely firm, so if you’re used to fluffy and softer pillows, these will take a lot of getting used to.
As mentioned above, the zipper is nice so you can adjust the firmness that way.
Also, due to their hull filling, they can be a bit noisy due to them shifting every time you toss and turn at night.
Lastly, in order to clean them, you need to remove the buckwheat hulls, which add a few extra steps (and time) to the overall cleaning process.
However, the benefits far outweight these items.
Consumers who switched from traditional pillows to sobakawa pillows said that as soon as they adjusted to the new pillow, they will never go back to a traditional pillow again!
The Hullo pillow is 100% made in the U.S. which is appealing to many consumers.
There are also no chemical-based foams or feathers, making this pillow 100% natural as well.
The Hullo might feel hard at first, but that provides support for your head, neck and spine.
There is a zipper so that you can remove some of the hulls if you want a less firm pillow.
The Hullo does a really go job if molding to the shape of your head, so if you give it 2-3 nights, you will start to feel its benefits.
One satisfied consumer said “Wow! I’m very impressed with this pillow! I have chronic migraines and this keeps my head in the proper position all night and is nice and cool.”
Another happy customer stated that “Idon’t normally post reviews, but this pillow is exceptional. I’ve tried countless pillows of various types, but this is by far the best I’ve used. I’ve been using it for about a week, and I have already noticed a significant decrease in my chronic neck and upper back pain.”
What’s unique about beans72 is their pillows used to be exclusively made by their founder, who has slept on buckwheat pillows since she was a child in Japan.
When she moved to the U.S., she couldn’t find any pillow that resembled what she was used to sleeping on, so started making her own.
With the success of her company, her motto is to promise to bring a designed, calculated, and hand-fabricated pillow that is genuine Japanese.
This pillow is filled with 100% natural organic buckwheat hulls.
The hulls are triple air cleaned, which is a process that removes dust, flour, and any other debris from the hulls.
The pillows cover is made of 100% unbleached cotton and comes in a natural cream color.
Many reviewers love the pillow cover and say that it is very soft and luxurious.
beans72 consumers rave about this pillow:
“To be blunt, the first week of using this pillow was miserable. This was because I was adjusting to the firmness inherent in buckwheat hull pillows which I had never tried before, and also because I had not removed enough of the extra hulls they generously provide so that my pillow could shape itself to my face. I have since fallen completely for this pillow, and I don’ think I’ll go back.”
“It’s been almost 2 years now. I can’t live without this pillow. I take it with me when I travel, which is quite a sacrifice in terms of losing space in the luggage, but it’s worth it to me. I also have not yet needed to readjust the amount of buckwheat in the pillow.”
“Like many other reviews, I have tried every type of pillow with no luck. I read the review where the guy updated 8 months and 2 years after buying this pillow, and figured it was worth a try. Couldn’t be happier! I sleep and actually feel rested in the morning. I think the Japanese size is perfect, I have multiple pillows on my bed, but sleep on this. I have the larger one to use when I’m sick and need to sleep propped up, like if I have a cold, it helps a ton. Remove some of the hulls and save them, not only to adjust the fill and firmness but to add back if it needs it. Many reviews state this takes about 1 1/2 to 2 years, lol. Highly recommend, I wish I would have done it sooner.”
Another quality pillow constructed in the USA, the ComfySleep Buckwheat Pillow is constructed from U.S. grown buckwheat and an organic cotton cover.
Also made with a zipper so that you can add or remove the buckwheat filling or remove the cotton cover to wash.
What is nice about this ComfySleep pillow is that the zipper is invisible and you don’t’ really feel it on the sides.
The organic cotton cover provides a breathable surface and is very soft to the touch.
One satisfied consumer said “I am very much enjoying my new pillow! In truth, I was not sure how I would feel about this pillow and was grateful for the chance to try it. I find that I am waking with less neck pain. I appreciate the craftwomanship of the pillow and the thoughtfulness of sending extra buckwheat hulls”
Another said “I am a belly sleeper and at first I did not like it at all but my daughter suggested that I remove some of the buckwheat. I removed about 1/4 of them and now the pillow is wonderful. I have no neck pain at all. I’m so glad I was able to unzip the pillow and make it more suitable for me with ease.”
The first thing I want to point out about the Sobakawa Buckwheat Pillow is that is does not have a zipper.
This means you cannot open the pillow to remove hulls.
However, we still wanted to include this on the list because of it’s great consumer reviews and surprising softness.
The designers of this pillow seem to have perfected the amount of hulls they filled inside the pillow.
The cover is made of 100% cotton and is also very soft.
We recommend putting another cotton pillow cover on top so you can remove and wash that one, leaving the original clean.
We also recommend this pillow as the best affordable option, especially if you have never tried a buckwheat pillow before!
This is a great test pillow and then you can upgrade to a more expensive one later if you feel like you need to.
Consumers had a lot of great things to say:
“For over a month I’ve struggled with a pinched nerve or tweaked neck muscle which gave me a daily headache. Researching pillows on Amazon I found a suggestion for this one. I read the reviews and said ‘this can’t be true! relief in a single night?’… I received my pillow last night and slept on it one time (so far)… the BEST sleep of my life, NO neck pain, waking fully refreshed with easy motion including my back which surprised me. In fact, I was so impressed that first thing this morning I bought two more pillows – one for each son. I’m going to spare them decades of lost sleep! I am now firmly a believer”
“We have purchased pillows ranging in price from 5 to 75 dollars each, yet I come back to this. Day one and two, expect to have some pain due to adjusting, but by day 3, you will be shocked at how much better you feel from being properly supported and your muscles ACTUALLY resting.“
These sobakawa pillows can last a long time, years if not decades, if properly cared for.
Whole buckwheat pillows cannot be put into the washing machine, they have their own way of being cleaned.
Furthermore, soaking buckwheat hulls in water will ruin them. They also cannot be put in a dryer.
If the buckwheat hulls are completely soaked – say, for example, you spilled your morning coffee all over your pillow – the hulls should be replaced with new ones.
Saturating the hulls with any kind of liquid may cause them to loose their supportive, three-dimensional shape.
Furthermore, cleaning coffee or any other liquid from them is impossible and may lead to mold growth.
We recommend you keep your sobakawa pillow in a cotton pillow cover that you can remove and wash as needed.
To freshen up the buckwheat, you can occasionally remove the hulls from the pillow and set them in the sun.
If the pillow is kept dry, you never really need to replace the hulls and they will not generate any odd odors or mold over time.
Preventing moisture and protecting the hulls is done with a cotton pillow sheet and you can even put a waterproof covering under the cotton sheet.
Preventative measures will give you years of usage out of your pillow!
PS: if you ever do spill or the hulls, get wet, they can be replaced!
If you struggle with neck or back pain, are sensitive to many of the materials used in natural pillows, or are a hot sleeper, then we highly recommend you try a sobakawa pillow asap! Any of the ones mentioned above will work.
Once you adjust to the firmness and different texture of the pillow, we promise you, you will wonder how you ever lived without it!