Vivere Zen - Tatami Valutazione: 4.7 / 5 (1286 voti su Feedaty)


The traditional Japanese tatami is a mat made of a woven rush covering (igusa) which in its interior consists of several layers of pressed rice straw. The hem is made of cloth webbing (tatamiberi) which is generally made of black fabric, but can also be embellished with various decorations, as was customary in Japanese noble houses.

Japanese tatamis average 5-6 cm in height and are not removed from their position. Besides the standard size, Viverezen offers you the option to buy a product more suitable for Western habits, that is the low tatami, which with a height of 2.5 cm and a reduced weight, have the advantage of being much easier to manage.

In our catalog you can also find roll-up goza, mats made of the same woven rush. The foldable models, with a thickness of 1.2 cm and provided with a practical bag, are ideal for those who want to bring one to the gym.

The stylish simplicity of the tatami means that this product can be placed both in zen-inspired interior design and in a more modern and Western one. It is an eco-friendly product, made from natural materials, which makes it particularly akin to what is the philosophy of contemporary Organic Furniture.

As previously mentioned, the traditional tatami is composed of several overlapping layers of rice straw. Between the layers of stubble there is air, insulated inside: for this reason a Japanese tatami is cool in summer and warm during winter.

The pressed straw makes the surface slightly soft, which is very different from the comfort of a western brick floor or even a wooden parquet floor.

In short, Japanese tatami is: natural, organic, attractive, elastic, durable, non-slip, shock-absorbent, contributes to the energy efficiency of the environment, isolates sound and insulates heat.

If you want to see first hand the tatami mats for sale in our online store, you can call us to schedule a visit to the Showroom in Turin.

Tips and suggestions

Thanks to its modular and sectional structure, the tatami is perfect for different furnishing solutions.

For resting

It can be placed directly on the floor, as a base for the mattress, or within a slatted structure. Japanese beds can vary in height from 10 centimeters of the footboard models, up to 35/40 centimeters. Our Torino and Milano models have a recess of about 5,5 cm between the slats and the bed frame for the placement of tatami. Lifting the panels from the ground promotes perspiration, and allows you to add an oriental flair to your home without upsetting your habits too much.  

The tatami presents a firm support for the back and is usually used with a futon, the typical Japanese mattress. The futon can be made of pure cotton, wool, or with inserts of coconut (breathable) or latex (softer than cotton). For more info on the types of futons you can visit the dedicated section.

Can I use the tatami with my old mattress?

You can use it with a spring or memory foam mattress. This solution is best in dry environments and if the tatami rests on slats, since a western mattress provides less transpiration than a futon, and is also more difficult to move. On no account should a mattress made entirely of latex be used, especially if it is made of natural latex: it would develop mold in a short time and risk ruining the tatami.

As a sofa

With a tatami mat, a futon and colorful cushions, you will have a simple and cheerful sofa at the same time. By adding a second identical module, you will obtain a double sofa bed completely metal-free. The tatami sofa is a product that can fit a modern living room, a living room or an attic. Having no armrests, it is sufficient to take a bedspread to revamp it, or in our catalog you can find the appropriate slipcovers, all colorful and in natural materials such as cotton and linen.

In your kids' room

Tatami and futons can turn into a simple and affordable Montessori crib. If you have enough space in the room you can also consider creating a play area with two or more panels. Walking on the tatami mats is extremely pleasant, and the reed surface will protect your baby from the cold floor!

For meditation and massages

The tatami has a specific function in practices such as shiatsu or Thai massage, as well as creating an incomparable atmosphere. In fact, the operator discharges most of his weight on his knees, which need adequate protection. As already stated, straw is firm but yielding at the same time: it represents an excellent solution and contributes to the well-being of the patient, especially if the mat chosen for treatments is very thin. The Seiza position is also typical of Yoga meditation and is traditionally practiced on the tatami.

For martial arts

Karate, Judo, Taekwondo, Aikido and Muay Thai schools have always made large use of tatami, which used to cover the entire floor of the Dojo. The natural absorption capacity of rice straw made it a great ally in training, especially for exercises that included projections, jumps and falls. Nowadays, gyms have more modern alternatives available, but it is no surprise that the typical polymer mats, which can be rolled up or fit together like a puzzle, have kept the name of tatami. In the fights of official Judo competitions, the competition areas were indicated by particular tatami mats, painted green and red. It is perhaps no coincidence that the same colors often return in the gym mats of the same name

Obviously, it is possible to use this kind of flooring also in gyms that deal with gymnastics in general, or more modern and western martial disciplines, such as Boxing, MMM, Kick Boxing, especially since in today's gyms it is common that the same areas are used at different times for training of different sports.

Backboards, nightstands, and more

The many different uses of tatami are not over yet: with the right counterweight and placed on the wall, one of these panels can be converted into a headboard for your Japanese bed, or a backboard for your futon sofa. The latest addition to the catalog of Vivere Zen is a folding tatami made of coconut that can be used as a screen. You'll also find square or round nightstands, which can be matched to all platform beds, or even a futon directly resting on the floor.

A bit of history

Originally, tatami were not used in flooring, but rather were a luxury for Japanese aristocrats, who used them as seating, a bed, or a desk. Later they also became popular in the homes of priests and samurai, who had gained power within Japanese society and flaunted them as a sign of wealth. The less wealthy, on the other hand, had rammed earth floors.

Tatami mats in the homes of the nobility took on a strategic function in the period between the end of the 15th century and the beginning of the 17th. Under the panels there were empty areas where the men of the personal guard could hide, ready to take action in case of a sudden attack. The tatami, once raised, could even act as a shield. In the seventeenth century, the use of these mats began to become widespread among all social classes.

Symbol of a Zen philosophy

In Japan, the room that follows the traditional architectural and furnishing style is called washitsu, whereas the term yōshitsu is used when referring to a Western-style room. The yōshitsu is always, strictly, without tatami. The Japanese washitsu is distinguished by empty rooms, without superfluous furniture, or other unnecessary accessories. There are no chairs, which would also ruin the tatami. Sliding doors (fusuma) separate the rooms or hide the cabinets. This structure, in addition to respecting the dictates of Feng Shui thanks to the free flow of energy currents, is suitable for the small spaces of smaller homes. The futon, laid on the floor at night, is then rolled up to leave the room free for daytime activities

Washitsu is all about a perception of time and space with an almost religious ritual. One of the most important rooms within the Japanese home is the tea ceremony room. Decorated with illustrated scrolls (emakimono), flowers and bonsai trees, this room is called sukiya when it consists of four and a half tatami mats. When there are many guests, or a greater formality is desired, a larger room is used, which bears the name hiroma.

Sizes and layout 

The panels that are most commonly sold in the West are about 200 centimeters long. The width ranges from 60 to 100 centimeters. This way a single tatami can house a single mattress, whose standard sizes range from 80x190 cm to 90x200 cm.

In Japan, tatami is not only a part of the furniture, but it is a real architectural unit of measurement. Traditional rooms are designed based on tatami.

Classic Japanese tatami mats measure 3 x 6 shaku. The thickness is two sun, where one sun is one-tenth of a shaku. These measurements are standardized, and are used to indicate the size of rooms. The sukiya of the tea ceremony, for example, is a 9 x 9 shaku square room. A shaku is 30,3 cm so expressed in centimeters, the typical tatami has a size of 90.9 x 181.8 x 6.06 cm.

It is very difficult to find in Italy or in Europe panels with these exact sizes. They are quite common instead the models of 90x180 cm, which respect the same criterion but adapting to our metric system. Viverezen has for you in the catalog of tatami extra-large, measuring 100x200 cm.

In both cases one measure is exactly half the length of the other, and this allows you to create harmonious compositions, complying with the rule of the cross. In Japan tatami must never be arranged so that the four corners touch, forming a cross.

Among the typical designs, one of the most common is that of the sukiya: in the center is placed a square of 3 x 3 shaku, while the four panels of standard size are placed around in a spiral.If you would like to see some traditional patterns, and read a short study on the fear of 4 in the East, check our Tatami Guide.

Custom patterns and sizes

As opposed to Japanese homes, we don't design our houses to fit tatami. Dimensions obviously do not coincide with Japanese shaku, and there are often obstacles that make the area to be covered even more irregular, such as doors that close inward, pillars, or even the presence of Western furniture. Call us to receive a free, no-obligation custom design. We'll show you how to make the most of the space you have. With a list price of 50 € per cut, finally, we can make custom tatami with tailored size.


Here are some tips to properly maintain your tatami. First of all, since they are made of pressed straw and rush, they should not be left exposed to excessive humidity. Should it be necessary to clean them, if there are stains, it is recommended to use a slightly damp cloth (well wrung out, not completely wet!). Using a vacuum cleaner to remove dust can also be optimal. If the mat gets wet, it should be dried as soon as possible, perhaps by bringing a heater to it or blowing warm air through it using a hair dryer.

Air the panels

Opening the windows and lifting the mattress is a good solution. If you're using a futon, it's not that difficult either: this type of mattress can easily be folded in half, one day on one side, and the next on the other. Having the option, the ideal would be to put the mats once a year in the open air. In this case, however, it is necessary to avoid direct light, and leave the lower side of the panel to the sun. If exposed directly to sunlight, the woven rush could take on a reddish color. This operation besides preserving the tatami contributes, especially at the beginning, to dissipate the strong smell of straw, which not everyone finds pleasant.

Don't step on me!

It is mandatory to walk on the tatami without shoes, and only socks or bare feet are allowed. According to Japanese rituality, the sock to be used is called tabi and is featured by the traditional white color. This sock is usually sewn with the flip-flop, so as to allow, once left the room, the use of sandals. In the West we can be more permissive and admit even flip-flops with fabric soles. The most important thing is not to press on the surface of the tatami with anything sharp: the woven rush would otherwise be damaged.

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