Japan is a country with an interesting culture and tradition. It is no wonder, therefore, that a lot of Japanese art, food, and style are incorporated into the Western world today. One of these is the tatami room, which are popular in Japanese-styled homes, hotels, and restaurant worldwide. It is even said that a visit in Japan can never be complete without experiencing the coziness and uniqueness of a Japanese tatami room.
The tatami room goes way back in the history of Japan. In the 19th century, it used to be present in every Japanese home and was used for formal meetings involving samurais. Today, Japanese homes still have at least one tatami room, now mainly used as a guest room or reception room.
Tatami rooms can be distinguished by its three main components: the tatami mats, shoji, and tokonoma. Tatami mats are made using rice straw, woodchip boards or Styrofoam, and covered with woven rice. Tatami mats are the traditional flooring used in tatami rooms. The shoji, on the other hand, is a sliding panel that can be used as decoration or partition between different rooms. It is made of wooden panels with rice paper covering on both sides. They can either be plain or containing floral design. The tokonoma is an alcove, a recessed space in the room, with raised floor where art is displayed. In traditional Japanese homes, it used to hold huge scrolls that hung on the wall with flower arrangements on the floor below the scroll.
Another important feature of a Japanese tatami room is the limited furniture, due mainly to the fact that tatami mats are easily scratched; usually only a small table and sitting cushions are present. Also, a tatami room is not a tatami room without a low ceiling. Just like traditional Japanese homes, tatami rooms have a height of only about 6 feet. The Japanese have an interesting perception of room height as tradition dictates that they sit on the floor with their backs straight rather than on chairs and couches.
A tatami room is simply a work of art just by itself, and its coziness and uniqueness are unlike any other. These are what keep the tatami rooms popular for both locals and foreigners alike. In this world full of change, the tatami room is one of the few things that have survived the transition from the traditional to modern society through the years. It is something that Japan and its people are truly proud of.