The Japanese are known for their practices and habits. One of the most well-known practices is their tea-drinking ritual.

Commonly known as the Sado, Chado, or Chanoyu, the Japanese tea ceremony is a holistic ritual that has been passed down through generations. It is the simple act of making green tea (matcha) and serving it to the guests. These can be both formal and casual, with or without a meal but always accompanied with confections.

The Setting

The Japanese tea ceremony is just like inviting people over for a cup of coffee but with a few extra formalities.

  • The tea is always served in a Tatami room that has Tatami mats covering the floor. These are woven straw mats of one by two meters in size. A room is generally measured in terms of the number of Tatami mats in it.
  • This room is quiet, completely covered with partitions or sliding doors called Fusuma. These doors are either plain or painted. The décor in the room is kept to the minimum and simple in nature. Sometimes you can find a hanging scroll that is changed to reflect the season.
  • A low table can be found in the center of the room. This is where the guests are served their tea. In colder months, these tables can be heated from below and covered with blankets.

This setup helps the Japanese step away from the commotion of their daily lives and outside noise. The tea ceremony is quiet, peaceful and helps one connect with themselves and healthily relish the health drink.

The rooms where tatami mats are used require one to remove their footwear before stepping in. This is done not just to keep the mats clean but also to maintain the room’s sanctity.

Buying A Tatatmi Mat

Thinking of buying a Tatami mat? Here are a few tips to help you:

  • There are four standard sizes to opt from, based on the size of your room.
  • The mat is made up of three parts –
  • Tatami Doko – The inside of the mat is traditionally filled with compressed rice straw but has been replaced with compressed wood to tackle bugs and rice straw scarcity problems
  • Tatami- Omote – The surface of the mat is woven with a dried rush and warped with cotton yarn or hemp.
  • Tatami- Fuchi – The edge of the mat is covered with cloth to hide the weaving ends.
  • The mats used in western-style houses and for Judo are different from those commonly used in the traditional tea rooms.
  • Today there are mats made with bamboo instead of rice straw. It can be a long-lasting alternative.
  • The folding size of the mats differs too. It helps in easy storage of the mats when not in use. This can be a major deciding factor for those with little or no storage space.
  • If you are particular about a traditional mat, check for the materials used and the brand’s reputation to ensure their claims are authentic and manufacturing guidelines.

These mats are not used just in tea rooms but around the rest of the house as well. These are used for their health benefits and support the general Japanese style of sitting on the floor. Sitting on the floor has numerous health benefits and is still followed by many old people in the country.