125 Legendary Japanese Tattoo Ideas Filled with Culture

Japanese tattoos are quite popular now, not just among the Japanese culture, but tattoo enthusiasts all around the world get Japanese tattoos because of their unique designs and appearance. You will find a wide range of meaningful and gorgeous-looking Japanese tattoos. Two of the main types of Japanese tattoos are traditional and modern Japanese tattoos.

Traditional Japanese tattoos are those done using a special pencil-like tool that took years to finish and is quite expensive. For modern Japanese tattoos, artists use normal electrical tools, and these are much more feasible to get done today. Considering the rich Japanese culture, it comes as no surprise that Japanese tattoos are quite meaningful, especially with the different symbols present in them.

If you plan on getting cultural touch in your Tattoo, then you must get at least one Japanese tattoos. To help you out in choosing the best Japanese Tattoo, mentioned below are some of the most popular Japanese tattoo designs that will surely amaze you along with their historical and symbolic meaning.

Japanese Tattoos

Meaning behind Japanese Tattoos

Japanese tattoos have a strong cultural meaning attached to them, which make it quite symbolic to the Japanese culture and people. In older times, they used to wear these tattoos as a symbol of specific societal status. As time passed, criminals and slaves started inking their bodies with Japanese tattoos to mark their status in society. However,over years, the popularity of Japanese tattoos grew among people around the world and developed into different designs. These tattoos were the original traditional Japanese tattoos that very few people get today and follow.

Japanese tattoos include many elements and symbols and each has a different meaning. Japanese dragon tattoos are very popular and represent strength and wisdom. Besides, Japanese phoenix tattoos are also a top pick among tattoo freaks and symbolize rebirth and fire. Other meanings visible in Japanese tattoos are death, life, protection, change, determination, courage, wind, and the list just goes on and on.

Japanese tattoos are known for their exotic use of colors and the symbolic meaning each color portrays. The white color symbolizes purity and truth, and is a soothing color that gives comfort to others,especially those mourning the loss of a loved one. Black represents mystery, yellow represents optimism and prosperity, pink signifies good health and femininity, and lastly green symbolizes youth, energy, and life.

With so much meaning in each tattoo design, it is hard to miss out on Japanese tattoos. The best part about these tattoos is that they have various realistic meanings that each one of us can relate to and learn from. 

Japanese Tattoos

Ideal Placement for Japanese Tattoos

Popular Japanese tattoos design figure covering the entire body; this means you can adorn your body from top to bottom with some amazing Japanese artwork. Nowadays, getting your whole body tatted might not be the ideal choice, and it also takes a lot of guts to get it done. If you are going for small Japanese tattoos that include minimum details, you can choose to get it on your arm, hands, neck, or face.

Most of the Japanese tattoo designs comprise of large over the top designs; hence it’s best to always go for an area that allows the artists to tattoo the design without any restrictions freely. The places that give you the most places is the arm, back, stomach and thigh. You can also opt for the leg, especially if the design involves a spiral or narrow look. It’s completely your choice as to where you want your Japanese Tattoo to appear, but no matter where you get it, it will look phenomenal and unique as ever.

Japanese Tattoo Ideas

Japanese Phoenix Tattoo

Japanese Phoenix Tattoo

If you’re up for attaining some mystical feature sin your Tattoo, then you must try out this Japanese phoenix tattoo. This Tattoo is the perfect way to showcase traditional Japanese tattooing as this Tattoo consists of a colored inked phoenix situated around a couple of beautiful pink flowers. The color palette of this Tattoo is marvelous as it comprises of some of the best colors like blue, green, sea green, orange, and many other colors.

This Tattoo is quite symbolic as it represents rebirth, and a change you’ve wanted to showcase to people. This particular creature comes from the Greek mythology, which has been also adapted by the Japanese culture.

Traditional Japanese Dragon Tattoo

Traditional Japanese Dragon Tattoo

You can also try out this traditional Japanese dragon tattoo and achieve some bold imagery on your body. This Tattoo includes a black and grey inked dragon that swirls around your hand. Dragon tattoos look extremely good on the hand as the swirly design compliments the hand. Japanese dragon tattoos are quite popular; however this design is one of a kind as it consists of a bolder look.

The tattoo artist has done a wonderful job with the contouring and shading, as it helps bring out the realistic and graphic touch in this Tattoo. This classic dragon tattoo is a symbol of strength and power, which are two important traits hidden inside everybody’s personality, but people are often too scared to discover it. This Tattoo may motivate you to use your powerful characteristics.

Lotus Japanese Tattoo

Lotus Japanese Tattoo

If you’re opting for a more feminine touch in your Tattoo, then you must go for this Japanese lotus tattoo. This Tattoo consists of pink inked lotus surrounded by green inked leaves that look wonderful. The tattoo artist has used two types of pinks on each side of the petal which helps give the Tattoo a three-dimensional look.

This Tattoo has a very subtle vibe to it and is perfect if you’re looking for something meaningful. This popular lotus tattoo symbolizes passion and love which are the two most important traits that everyone should live by without fail. This Tattoo is the perfect choice for all the pretty women out there.

Japanese Wolf Tattoo

Japanese Wolf Tattoo

Japanese wolf tattoos are quite ancient and include and include exquisite details. This tattoo consist of   Wild dog-like black and grey inked Wolf with its long pink tongue out, and the background features orange inked flowers. The tattoo artist has put in his best with grey shading and contouring that helps make this Tattoo so unique and attractive.

This is the best tattoo if you have a fondness for the ancient Japanese folklore. This tattoo originates from the native Japanese time where these Wolves represented being the messengers of the Kami spirits and were an important part in rituals to catch the attention of the Shinto gods. The meaning behind of this Tattoo may be too ancient for you to relate to; however, the Irezumi,which is known as tattooing in Japanese art, is present in this Tattoo, which is why you should go for it.

Large Japanese Spider Web Tattoo

Spider Web Tattoo

If you want to get the right essence of Japanese Tattoo which is one that includes covering a large area of the body then you must go for this Japanese spider web tattoo. This Tattoo includes a large black and grey spider web in the background, and on the web consists of a brown inked spider with many other Japanese elements including a samurai. This Tattoo includes the right Japanese Tattoo detailing which is what makes it look so spectacular.

For this type of Tattoo you will need a large space like your chest or back as the Tattoo includes many elements. Japanese spider tattoos are quite meaningful as they represent your personality as warrior like, and showcases how you’re not scared of anything and are willing to fight anything that comes in your way.

Japanese Skull Tattoo

Japanese Skull Tattoo

If you’re in search of something dramatic in your Tattoo then you’re at the right option. This Japanese skull tattoo is one of the most common skull tattoos that look amazingly good, especially with colored ink. The Tattoo includes a realistic black and grey inked skull, with some vintage pink inked flowers above the skull and detailed lines to bring out the realism in this Tattoo.

 Other than the beautiful outlook of this Tattoo, it is also very symbolic; it represents a major change in your life and also symbolizes the celebration of a good life. People go to many different changes in life, and most of them may consist of good things, hence getting this work of art tattoo is the best way to appreciate the good changes in life that has bought nothing but happiness.

Floral Japanese Tattoo

Floral Japanese Tattoo

You can also opt for this lovely floral Japanese Tattoo, and achieve some amazing body art. This Tattoo may have a very feminine touch to it, but it also looks really good on men as well. This Tattoo contains different flowers inked in pink, sea green, and white, while the background includes a cloudy feature to represent Japanese tattooing style, and to give some depth to the floral design. You can include any flowers you like from lilies to cherry blossoms.

Floral Japanese tattoos are commonly worn on the sleeve as this area suits the design of the Tattoo; however you can wish to get it tatted all over your body as well if you’re going for a full body Japanese tattoo look.


Japanese Tattoos

Japanese Tattoos



Do traditional Japanese tattoos have any specific rules?

There are a few rules that you and your tattoo artist must follow if getting a traditional Japanese tattoo. The first rule that you have to make sure of is that your traditional Japanese Tattoo has the right set of bright colors, with deep and rich detailing. It’s the bright colors in the Tattoo that makes Japanese tattoos different from others. The second rule is that your Tattoo should have some symbolism and theme that you can talk about and relate to.

Is it illegal to go to Japan with Japanese Tattoo?

Yes, unfortunately, tattoos are considered as sort of illegal in Japan as these tattoos are mostly associated with gang members who get their entire body tatted with Japanese tattoos. If you’re seen with a Japanese tattoo in Japan, you will not be allowed to visit any gyms, theme parks, and even beaches. Till this day, there is still a huge stigma attached to tattoos in Japan.

How much do Japanese Tattoos Cost?

Japanese tattoos are one of the most expensive tattoos because of its unique appearance and extensive detailing. If you opt for small Japanese tattoos like a lotus tattoo or a simple dragon tattoo, then it would cost you around $100-$200. Tattoos that cover up the whole body and include some extensive designing and detailing will cost much more, which is around $300-$500. Some tattoo parlors charge hourly, which could also make a huge difference in the price.

How long does it take to get a Japanese Tattoo?

Japanese tattoos, especially ones that cover up the whole body, takes around two or three sessions to complete. These tattoos include specific detailing and shading; hence it takes longer. For a medium-sized Japanese tattoo, it may take a maximum of two to three hours to complete, but this also depends on the type of Tattoo you’re getting and the experience of the tattoo artist.


Now that you’re aware of the amazing Japanese tattoos and the history and meaning behind it, you should definitely not miss out on the opportunity of getting one. These are one of the most meaningful tattoos, with ethnic details. With so much variety in Japanese tattoos, it can be a tough decision to settle one design. It is best if you take your sweet time in choosing the right one for you. So get ready to achieve some amazing cultural body art soon.