Living in an apartment with Japanese-style room

Living in an apartment with Japanese-style room

What to be careful of when using a Japanese-style room with tatami

Apartments with Japanese-style rooms tend to be cheaper with many favorable conditions. If you prefer such apartments, we would be glad to assist you.

Some people might find it hard to live in a room with tatami mats. But it was standard feature among apartments decades ago. Once you get used to living in a tatami room, it shouldn’t be a problem.

What to be careful of when applying for Japanese-style apartment

Tatami mats must be replaced periodically. When you move into a Japanese-style apartment, the tatami mats are usually replaced with new ones.

If the tatami mats are damaged when you move out, repair fees will be taken from your deposit. Tatami mats are softer than ordinary floors and are relatively easily damaged.

Tatamis fading from sunlight or furniture marks from tables, shelves, or TV stands are considered normal wear and tear and usually aren’t deducted from your deposit. Other types of damages such as bed marks ( something you wouldn’t put in a tatami room ) or crayon marks require replacement and might be deducted from your deposit. Details may vary depending on landlord so it’s best to check the contract before applying.

Whether repair fees are deducted from your deposit or not depends on the degree of damage. A typical fee can range from 30,000 to 40,000 yen for one room. We will provide advice below on how to take good care of your tatami mats.

When picking an apartment with tatami mats

There are 3 things to beware of when using your tatami mat.

  • damage and stain
  • mold and tics
  • the smell of tatami mats

Damage and stain


Tatami mats are made of a type of rush. They are soft and can absorb moisture.

Beds can put a dent in your tatami mats

Beds can leave dents on tatami mats, costing you valuable repair fees from your deposit. If you wish to use large furniture, we recommend you to place protective sheets of plywood underneath to reduce damage.

If you wish to use beds or sofas in a tatami room, we recommend you to use frameless or legless types so they don’t damage the tatami surface.


As mentioned earlier, tatami mats can easily absorb moisture so it’s best to wipe off any food or liquid that come in contact with them. Wipe off promptly with a dry rag.

Wipe of stains with a wet rag and then wipe it again with a dry one.

For persistent stains, add laundry bleach to water and soak the rag in it. Dab off the surface with the rag for best results.

Mold and tics

Using carpets or rugs over tatami mats, or hanging your laundry in your room will build up moisture in your room. Your tatami will absorb all the moisture, resulting in mold and tics.

Caution should be used during Japan’s rainy season and summer time ( June through September ) as it gets very humid. A dehumidifier is recommended. To keep your tatami mats dry and clean, we suggest you to open your windows and ventilate the rooms.

Tatami mats have their distinct fragrance


Tatami mats give off a fragrance similar to vanilin found in aroma therapy oils and has relaxing qualities. Japanese people are accustomed to this frangrance and consider them pleasant. If you are not used to the fragrance, you might not like it initially.

How to keep your tatami mats clean


Tatami mats can get easily stained and dust tends to collect between the individual mats. Frequent care will prolong your tatami’s life. But that doesn’t mean any special care is required.

Periodically vacuuming your tatami and wiping off any stains immediately will keep them nice and fresh.

If you plan to move to Japan or seek assistance after settling in, please contact us

If you have plans to move to Japan or need help getting settled, we’d be glad to assist you. We can also help you from choosing the right apartment to assisting you with the paperwork, as well as provide support for your everyday life.

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