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Tatami Mats: Construction And Uses For Traditional Japanese Flooring

Tatami mats have been a traditional form of flooring in Japanese homes since at least the 12th century.

The Tatami mat was originally a luxury item used by high ranking officials and religious leaders in feudal Japan. As more and more people in society had access to this luxury item, different colours were used to show the rank of the household that owned the mat.

From a simple straw mat, Tatami culture evolved through the upper classes and then down to every class in Japanese society by the 16th century.

Construction Of A Japanese Tatami Mat

There are three key parts to an authentic Tatami mat. First there is the sea grass reed covering. Then there is the rice straw interior. Finally, the mat is finished around the edges with cloth brocade.

Once finished, a Tatami mat is around 6 cm deep and has a high density that creates a very comfortable surface. Whatever activity you are undertaking  Tatami mats are made in many different sizes and there’s one to suit your needs.

It is the tightly compressed rice straw core that creates such a great “yielding” surface, suitable for various activities. Because of the way it is constructed, natural air pockets form between the compacted straw, giving a surprisingly comfortable surface.

Uses For Japanese Tatami Mats

In the modern Western home Tatami mats are often used as a surface for futon mattresses and for a truly stylish Japanese flavour the mats and mattresses can drop into a slatted low level bed.

Also these natural surfaces can create the centrepiece for an occasion. As well as entertaining, they are highly suitable surfaces to use for exercising or meditation. Especially good for practices such as yoga, where a lot of the body makes contact with the floor at once, the natural firm density of a Tatami mat can really help to enhance calmness, poise and ensure stability.

In very practical terms, they are great for kids to mess around on as there’s no harm done if they fall over. The only caveat to this is that very young children and water based activities aren’t advised on  the surface of these beautiful lifestyle items.

Tatami mats are steeped in Japanese culture and history. If you want to be as authentic as possible, you would need to pay attention to the rules of laying the mats down.

The number or layout of Tatami mats is supposed to bring good or bad fortune on the household. They should not be laid out in a grid, otherwise bad luck will befall the household. The exception to the grid layout is during a period of mourning.

Such is the importance of Tatami culture to the Japanese that even modern businesses are designed with floorspace to the size of 5 ½ Tatami mats as this ensures good fortune.

Whether you wish to invigorate yourself with Japanese culture, or just invest in high-quality and  different floorspace, click here to view the high-quality Tatami mats Futons Online can offer in different sizes.