To obtain specifications for a tactile display that would be effective in virtual reality and tele-existence systems, we have developed two types of matrix-type experimental tactile displays. One is for virtual figures (display A) and the other is for virtual textures (display B). Display A's pad has a 4 × 6 array of stimulus pins, each 0.8 mm in diameter. Three pad configurations, in which distances between any two adjacent pins (pin pitch) are 1.2, 1.9, or 2.5 mm, were developed to examine the influence of distance on a human operator's determination of virtual figures. Display B has an 8 × 8 array of stimulus pins, each 0.3 mm in diameter and with 1-or 1.8-mm pin pitch, because presentation of virtual textures was presumed to require a higher pin density. To establish a design method for these matrix-type tactile displays, we performed a series of psychophysical experiments using displays A and B. By evaluating variations in the correct answer percentage and threshold caused by different pin arrays and different pin strokes, we determined under what conditions the operator could best feel the virtual figures and textures. The results revealed that the two-point threshold should be adopted as the pitch between pins in the design of the tactile display, that a pin stroke should exceed 0.25 mm, and that the adjustment method is the most appropriate to evaluate the capabilities of tactile displays. Finally, when we compared the virtual texture with the real texture, we found that the threshold for the real texture is almost 1/3rd that of the virtual texture. This result implies that it is effective to present variations in patterns caused by rotation and variation in shearing force, itself produced by relative motion between the finger surface and object surface.