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Why Do Koreans Sleep On The Floor?

Jason Park
Published by: Jason Park
Last updated:

Koreans sleep on the floor cause back in the days, they created heated floors, also called “Ondol,” which means warm floor.

Sleeping on the floor isn’t something you see every day; however, there’s nothing wrong with it since it’s still clean.

Most people think that it’s no hygienic sleeping on the floor, but when you look at a country like Korea, hygiene is extremely high.

Koreans sleep on the floor cause back in the days, they created heated floors, also called “Ondol,” which means warm floor.

Ever since then, it’s been a tradition, and the majority of daily activities happen on the floor. Korea is known to keep its hygiene on an extremely high level.

Due to most of their daily activities happening in the living room, it’s pretty normal for them to sit on the floor.

There’s nothing wrong with that as long it’s clean and comfortable to sit. Many western people aren’t used to sitting on the floor, which makes it seem uncomfortable, but you’ll get used to it.

Do All Koreans Sleep On The Floor?

No, not all Koreans sleep on the floor since everything keeps improving and their infrastructure itself. More and more people start getting a bed, and more wealthy people often have a king-sized bed.

However, if you look at the older generations, they often still sleep on the floor, and most don’t even have a bed. They are probably used to it throughout many years of sleeping on the floor and don’t want a bed to sleep on.

If you’re ever laying on the floor with your Korean boyfriend, you’re probably calling him Oppa. But why do Koreans liked to be called oppa?

Do All Koreans Sleep On The Floor

Why Do Japanese Sleep On Floors?

Most Japanese sleep on the floor because of the Tatami mats, which are quite comfortable once you get used to the firmness. You might feel a little stiff at first, but you’ll get used to it over time, and it will feel very comfortable.

I’ve had this myself fin the past when I traveled to Japan. Most guesthouses that I visited only had a mat for the floor, and that’s pretty much where I slept for a couple of weeks. Personally, for me, it’s not that much different from sleeping in bed.

Of course, if you haven’t tried it yourself, you aren’t used to it. However, you want to train your brain to get used to sleeping on the floor. It’s very comfortable and also good for the back.

Another plus for me is that I can charge my phone without getting up from the bed. Also, I can’t roll off my bed, which won’t happen. However, If I ever do a 360 roll, I won’t fall on the floor.

Most people probably won’t ever sleep on the floor, but if you’re ever going to visit Japan. You’ll see that they all eat and sleep on the floor. Eating on the floor with just a table is pretty nice since it doesn’t require much space.

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How Does Ondol Heating Work?

An Ondol is a floor heater that keeps the floor warm. There are four seasons in Koreas, and when it’s winter, you’ll probably freeze to death if you don’t have a floor heater. Yes, it’s that cold in Korea. You might not expect it, but keep it in mind.

It’s made with a water pipe system that runs under the floor, which warms up to keep the floor warm. Almost all houses in Korea have these kinds of heaters because it’s already built-in.

If you’re from the US, you’ve probably never heard of this. It’s pretty basic since it’s only a water pipe under the floor that heats up.

Average Price for an Ondol Heating in Korea

There’s no average price for an Ondol heating since it depends on your house and how many rooms you need it for. However, if you look at it from a ten pyeoung apartment (1 person studio), it’s probably around $50 a month for the entire floor to heat up.

It’s not that expensive, but it’s probably not worth getting an Ondol for your entire house if you aren’t from Korea.


Now that you’ve come to the end of this article, I hope you’ve learned something about why Koreans sleep on the floor. As you might see, it’s very common there and not really in the US. That’s normal since every culture is different, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

If you’re ever going to visit Korea, you’ll see it yourself and probably sleep on the floor yourself. The same goes for Japan. I hope you’ll get used to it and enjoy your stay in Asia.

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    About The Author

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    Jason Park

    Jason has been living in Seoul for over 4 years, and during that time, he has experienced many of the city's hidden stores. He loves to write about his experiences and share them with others. Jason has been quoted and referenced by different major media companies like Mashed, Distractify, ThePrint and TastingTable. In his free time, he likes to watch Korean dramas and learn more about Korean culture.

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