Places, Images, Times & Transformations


Mat used as a flooring material in traditional Japanese-style rooms. Since the Muromachi period tatami have been made of a thick base of straw covered with a soft surface of woven rush. The size of tatami was gradually standardized within each region of Japan, and today tatami continue to be used as a unit of measure (jō) for Japanese and sometimes even for Western-style rooms. In the Tokyo area, a tatami (i.e. 1 jō) measures 1.76 by 0.88 meters (5.8 by 2.9 ft). (adapted from Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia. Tokyo: Kodansha, 1993)

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