Tatami mats are a great base for any futon or mattress and many of our customers buy our tatami mats for exactly this purpose. The tatami mats provide a firm yet springy base to a mattress or futon that is all natural, has breathability and has a nice natural, calming scent from the igusa rush omote and the wara rice straw core.
How many tatami mats do I need?
The key thing is that you have enough tatami mats to cover the area of your mattress.
At tatami.us we sell the Honma format of tatami mats and each mat is 37.4 x 74.8 x 2.2 inches (95 x 190 x 5.5 cm). You need to measure your mattress or futon and then see how many tatami mats you need.
Two tatami mats cover 74.8” X 74.8”
Three tatami mats cover 74.8” X 112.2”
Four and a half tatami mats cover 112.2” X 112.2”
Many traditional Japanese Shikibuton futons will fit on either one tatami mat (for a compact futon) or two tatami mats for a double futon. Make sure you measure first because different manufactures make different sizes.
North American Queen size beds
For typical North American queen size beds (approximate size 60 X 80 inches) you will need three tatami mats to make the right size base. Using three mats, you will have visible tatami mat edges which many customers like because the extra tatami area around the mattress creates a wonderful space to sit and put your feet when getting in and out of bed.
Another Option for a Queen size bed with 2 tatamis – you can make a small platform (say 74.8 inches X 8 inches tall with the same depth as the tatami mats – 2.2 inches) that increases the length of two tatami mats so that a Queen size mattress fits on two tatami mats with the overhang covered by this small platform. This can save you the cost of an extra tatami.
North American King size beds
A North American King size bed will require four and a half tatami mats to cover the space needed. As with the Queen size bed, you will have visible tatami mat edges around your mattress which many customers like because the extra tatami area around the mattress creates a wonderful space to sit and put your feet when getting in and out of bed.
Can I sleep directly on a tatami mat with no futon or mattress?
Yes you can sleep directly on a tatami mat (and many Japanese do) but if you have never done it, it may take some getting used to. The tatami mat would act like an ultra firm mattress.
There are many potential benefits to sleeping directly on a tatami mat including enforcing good posture which may help with back pain, and providing a cool sleeping surface with natural ventilation through the all-natural tatami mat.
It may not be perfect for side sleepers to sleep directly on a tatami mat – give yourself some time to get used to it.