Traditional Japanese-style houses have special rooms used a special flooring material called Tatami (or Tatami mat) made of rush grasses (Igusa). A room with Tatami is called “Washitsu”. Recently the houses become more westernized because of the lifestyle change. More houses have no Washitsu though there are still some favored this Japanese-style room.
In Japan people take off their shoes before entering a house which does not bring in any dirt from your shoes. Tatami consists of mainly rice straw and rushes (Igusa) and has resilient soft surface. Therefore, it is comfortable to sit and lie down directly on Tatami.
It is said that the distinctive incense of rushes (Igusa) has a sedating effect like a healing effect by forest bathing. Japanese find a sense of comfort in such Tatami smell when they take a deep breath at entering the Tatami rooms (Washitsu) and calm down at lying down directly on the Tatami.
Nowadays some offices and hotels outside Japan find value of Tatami and more places actually implement to use Tatami for their living rooms, bed rooms and so on.
<Structure of Tatami>
The surface of Tatami Doko compacted rice straws is covered with woven rushes (Igusa) called Tatami Omote, sewn by a band called Tatami Beri. In short, a Tatami is made up of three components, the surface Tatami Omote, the inner core Tatami Doko, and the border Tatami Beri. The material of Tatami Doko is recently used polystyrene foams or insulation boards.
<Super Insulation and Moisturizing Power>
Tatami Doko and Tatami Omote contain air, which results in cutting off cold and hot air outside and keeps pleasant room temperature in both summer and winter. Rushes (Igusa) absorb moisture by its sponge-like holes and emits humidity when it is dry.
<Relaxing Effect of Tatami>
Tatami gives off a pleasant smell of rushes (Igusa). The scent has a calming and relaxing effect like a forest bathing. Some studies show that rushes (Igusa) absorb carbon dioxide and clean the air.
The air in Tatami Doko and rushes (Igusa) absorb the noise. This soundproof characteristic reduces the noise of footsteps and provides calm and peaceful atmosphere.
Compressed rushes (Igusa) contain some humidity and has anti-fire properties. When it burns, it is not being spread quickly but smoldering. This flame resistance traits is highly evaluated by Japan Fire and Disaster Management Agency.
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