ikehiko japanese rush grass tatami mat

Top 10 best tatami mats 2021

Looking for a tatami mat to put under your Japanese futon mattress to make your floor bed more comfortable?

Or are you looking for a floor mat for your kids to play on?

The tatami mat is portable, very light weight, can be folded and stacked away. What a perfect home improvement for people with kids or stay-over guests!

In this article, I will talk about 10 tatami mats and alternatives that will give your floor bed more comfort and maximum authenticity.

Table of Contents

What is a tatami mat?

tatami mat IKEHIKO floor mat

Tatami mat is a Japanese traditional mat that is used as flooring tile (Wikipedia). It often can be tri-folded and stacked up when not in use.

Japanese people would put their futon mattress bed on the floor, which is the tatami mat, and sleep close to the ground. Sleeping on the floor or firm surfaces has its benefits – your spine is naturally aligned, which helps avoid back pain.

Tatami mat is traditionally covered by woven soft rush straw and its core made of rice straw. For modern mats, the core is now usually made of compressed wood chip boards or polystyrene foam.

Thanks to the material, the tatami mat is both springy and firm. It is softer than then hard floor for sure, but still firm enough for a good sleeping posture.

Tatami mat has a strong grass smell

Because the tatami mat is made of straw, it has a strong scent that, according to some people, is like the smell from freshly cut grass.

If you don’t like the smell, hang the mat in the shade with good air flow for 1 day.

Overview of the best tatami mats

IKEHIKO igusa rush grass tatami mat

ikehiko japanese rush grass tatami mat

Most portable

  • Surface: Rush grass 100% grown in Japan
  • Core and back: Non-woven fabric
  • Sizes available in: Twin and Full
  • Specifications for Twin size:
    • Dimensions: 39 x 83 x 0.5″ (unfolded) – 39 x 27.5 x 1.5″ (folded into 3)
    • Weight: 5 lbs

ORIENTAL FURNITURE rice straw Tatami Mat

Most authentic and aesthetical

  • Surface: baked dried rice straw
  • Double layer top for extra protection (that’s why it’s thicker)
  • Border: black fabric bound with twine
  • A moisture resistant barrier is included in the foundation of the mat – the manufacturer claims
  • Specifications (for half Queen size)
    • Dimension: 80 x 30 x 2 inches
    • Can’t be folded
    • Weight: 59 lbs

MUSTMAT Japanese Rattan Tatami Mat

Mustmat tatami mat rattan quad fold

Beautiful detailed liner, quad-fold

  • Surface: 100% rattan
  • Back: Non-woven fabric
  • Specifications
    • Flattened: 78.7 x 35.4 x 1.2 inches
    • Folded in four: 19.7 x 35.4 x 4.8 inches
    • Weight: 7.5 lbs

1. IKEHIKO igusa rush grass tatami mat​

ikehiko japanese rush grass tatami mat
  • Surface: Rush grass 100% grown in Japan
  • Core and back: Non-woven fabric
  • Sizes available in: Twin and Full
  • Specifications for Twin size:
    • Dimensions: 39 x 83 x 0.5″ (unfolded) – 39 x 27.5 x 1.5″ (folded into 3)
    • Weight: 5 lbs

This tatami mat has the most positive ratings and the most reviews among the ones that I have seen on Amazon. It’s very very light weight (only 5 lbs), allowing you to carry it with you wherever you go. No need to sleep on the floor when visit a friend.

  • Very positive reviews and ratings on Amazon
  • Very lightweight
  • Thin –> you may find it not cushioning enough

2. ORIENTAL FURNITURE Tatami Mat

Oriental Furniture rice straw tatami mat
  • Surface: baked dried rice straw
  • Double layer top for extra protection (that’s why it’s thicker)
  • Border: black fabric bound with twine
  • A moisture resistant barrier is included in the foundation of the mat – the manufacturer claims
  • Specifications (for half Queen size)
    • Dimension: 80 x 30 x 2 inches
    • Can’t be folded
    • Weight: 59 lbs

This tatami mat is thick, firm, and heavy – very authentic! You can use this as flooring to turn your room into a tea room, a yoga/meditation room, or a bedroom. It’s the thickest among the tatami mats I have seen on Amazon – 2 inches.

It is manufactured to the exact size of half the normal sizes from full, queen, king, to california king. In order to fit this tatami mattresses onto your bed, you can buy them in pair.

Tea room whole floor covered with tatami mat beautiful aesthetical Japanese oriental tradition
  • Thick – 2 inches, heavy and sturdy
  • One of the most authentic-looking tatami mat on Amazon
  • Overall, good reviews on Amazon
  • A few customers reported to receive damaged products
  • The liner is not well stitched
  • Can’t be folded, heavy
    Higher price range

3. MUSTMAT Japanese Rattan Tatami Mat

Mustmat tatami mat rattan quad fold
  • Surface: 100% rattan
  • Back: Non-woven fabric
  • Specifications
    • Flattened: 78.7 x 35.4 x 1.2 inches
    • Folded in four: 19.7 x 35.4 x 4.8 inches
    • Weight: 7.5 lbs
tatami mat close up liner rattan
The detailed liner

This tatami mat is great in the detailed pattern, from the surface to the liner. Unlike other tatami mats, this one is made of rattan instead of igusa rush grass (rattan is a thin pliable stem of a palm).

If you are looking to save space in your home, this tatami mat is a great option. It’s quad-fold, meaning you can fold it 4 times, saving space in length and width. This will fit more easily than the other tatami mats in this article in your wardrobe.

  • Beautiful details
  • Fold in 4, more compact than some other tatami mats
  • Very lightweight, compact and portable
  • A few customers reported to receive damaged products
  • The liner is not well stitched
  • Can’t be folded, heavy
    Higher price range

4. MUSTMAT Tatami Mat Japanese Traditional Igusa Rush Grass

  • Surface: 100% rush grass.
  • Backside: Non-woven fabric.
  • Specifications:
    • Flattened: 35.4 x 78.7 x 1.2 inches(standard metric size 200 x 90 x 3cm
    • Folded: 35.4 x 19.7 x 4.8 inches (fold in 4)
    • Weight: 12 lbs
  •  
  •  

5. EMOOR tri-fold tatami mattress

emoor tatami mat brown
  • Surface: 100% Rush grass (igusa)
  • Back: Non-woven fabric
  • Specifications for Twin size
    • Flattened: 83 x 39 x 0.4 inches
    • Tri-folded: 28 x 39 x 1.2 inches
    • Weight: 9 lbs

Add a little spice to your authentic japanese decoration? This tatami mat is available in both the traditional un-dyed hue green color and this modern brown.

Emoor is a brand that sells everything about Japanese sleeping – you can find not only tatami mat but also futon bed, duvet, cover, and pillow to come with it. It’s a one-stop shop!

Check out these bedding needs to complete your healthy Japanese sleeping style.

  • Lightweight
  • Nice color
  • Thin –> you may find it not cushioning enough

6. BALANCEFROM EVA foam puzzle flooring mat

cheap tatami mat alternative gym mat foam flooring mat
  • Package includes 6-tiles and 12-end-borders
  • Material: high-density EVA foam, meaning good support and cushion
  • Does not contain toxic phthalates
  • Non-skid textured
  • Available in different thickness: from 0.5 inch, 0.75 inch to 1 inch
  • Specifications:
    • Each tile: 24 x 24 x 1 inches
    • Weight: 9 lbs

Want a cheap alternative to tatami mats? This is it. The EVA foam is soft enough to be a pad for your Japanese futon bed. It also works great for kids play, and even for your home gym!

This is the one for you if you just want something cheap and don’t care about the aesthetics.

  • 2-year warranty
  • Cheap
  • Water-resistant –> easy to clean
  • Noise-resistant
  • Very, very lightweight
  • Very easy to bring around and store away – each tile is 24 x 24 x 1 inches
  • Not aesthetic

What's my recommendation?​

The safest choice that brings you a good night sleep and a breeze of the Japanese culture is the IKEHIKO tatami mat. This guest bed has a lot of positive ratings and reviews on Amazon.

If you want a whole floor covered with this traditional rush grass mat, go for the ORIENTAL FURNITURE tatami mat. You can make a very aesthetically pleasing tea room with 4 of these mats. Plus, it is heavy and very sturdy.

If you really pay attention to small details, the MUSTMAT rattan mat is a go-to.

A cheap (but not very visually pleasing) alternative is the BALANCEFROM workout flooring tile.

FAQs about tatami mats

How to get rid of the smell from your tatami mat?

Because the tatami mat is made of straw, it has a strong scent that, according to some people, is like the smell from freshly cut grass.

If you don’t like the smell, hang the mat in the shade with good air flow for 1 day.

How to clean your tatami mat?

  1. Don’t use wet cloth. The straw is very absorbent and will absorb any moisture. This will enable mold to grow.
  2. Vacuum or wipe the mat with a dry soft cloth along the woven direction. Don’t go perpendicularly to the straw as that might damage the surface of the tatami mat.
  3. Avoid Direct Sunlight. Sun exposure will cause the grass surface to age and turn yellow.
  4. Keep it dry and cool. Don’t hang your mat under the sunlight to dry it. Instead, let the air flow do the trick

How to prevent your tatami mat from growing mold?

  1. Don’t use wet cloth to wipe the mat. Vacuum and wipe it down with a dry cloth instead.
  2. Air-ventilation. Make sure your house or closet, where you store the mat, is well air-ventilated.
  3. Use a de-humidifier to reduce the humidity in your house.

How to get rid of mold in your tatami mat?

Scrub it with ethanol (alocohol) using a small toothbrush. The alcohol will evaporate quickly, so you don’t need to fear that grow will mold because of moisture.

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