30 Best Japanese Tattoo ideas in 2023
Japanese tattoos are a beautiful and meaningful way of expressing oneself through body art. The Japanese people have long held vibrant tattoo traditions, and Japanese flower tattoos are some of the most popular tattoo designs in the world.
Japanese tattoo art, also known as Irezumi, is one of the most popular tattoo styles in the world. These tattoos are large and flowery with a rich history, and often feature mythological creatures like dragons and phoenixes. Japanese tattoos can be small, but they are usually big and bold. They cover a large portion of the body, usually from shoulder to wrist. Because of this bold style, Japanese tattoos are perfect for those who want something big and eye-catching.
1. Hannya Mask Tattoo
The Hannya mask is one of the most commonly used designs in Japanese tattoo art. The mask is traditionally used in noh theater to portray a female demon or spirit that’s obsessively jealous and vengeful. In Japanese folklore, Hannya is said to have been an ordinary woman who was consumed with jealousy and anger because her husband had an affair with another woman. Eventually, she transformed into a demon or oni that was driven by malice and rage.
2. Japanese Back Tattoo
In traditional Japanese culture, back tattoos were reserved for criminals and the social outcasts of society. Known as bakuto, these men were often hired as bodyguards, with their elaborate ink showing off their skills and accomplishments in prison. This trend continued into World War II, when members of the Yakuza earned full body tattoos as a rite of passage.
3. Japanese Bamboo Tattoo
Bamboo is the symbol of longevity and strength. The length of the plant implies a long life and the sturdiness of its woody body represents resilience. Another interpretation for this plant is that it is a symbol for an honorable person. A human being is like bamboo because both can be bent but not broken.
4. Japanese Cat Tattoo
A cat’s main role in Japanese folklore is that of a guardian to every household. They are considered to be the protectors of families and homes, warding off evil spirits. In ancient times, they were also considered to be supernatural creatures themselves, having the ability to see spirits.
5. Japanese Cherry Blossom Tattoo
They represent beauty, youthfulness, and femininity. The cherry blossom is a flower that is beautiful and delicate, but it is also very fragile. It can be seen on many different things in Japan. The cherry blossom is often used as a symbol for something that will not last forever.
6. Japanese Cloud Tattoo
Japanese cloud tattoos are another popular choice for both men and women. They are beautiful symbols that represent life itself. The clouds are a sign of hope and positivity in the minds of many people around the world. The clouds can also be seen as a symbol for life itself because it is ever changing and always moving forward no matter what happens to it.
7. Japanese Crane Tattoo
Cranes are considered as sacred creatures in Japan and they symbolize longevity and good fortune. These birds mate for life and they are believed to live up to a thousand years. The crane is also the national bird of Japan. A crane tattoo design is a great way to celebrate your heritage, but it is also just as great if you simply love these creatures.
8. Japanese Demon Tattoo
In Japan, demons are not always evil; sometimes they can be spiritual and guide people towards goodness. A demon tattoo can represent both good and bad aspects of life. Some people opt for demon tattoos because they want to show their dark side without actually committing any crimes, while others get them as a reminder that there is both good and evil within each human being, which means that everyone has the potential for greatness or destruction.
9. Japanese Dragon Tattoo
Dragon tattoos can be inked in a variety of different variations. One of the most common styles is the Japanese dragon tattoo. The dragon is a symbolic animal to the Japanese people, and it has been for thousands of years. The popularity of the dragon among the Japanese people can be traced back to their rich mythology and folklore.
10. Japanese Fish Tattoo
Fish are one of the most common creatures used in Japanese tattoos. They come in many colors and sizes, but they all symbolize good fortune, abundance and protection from evil spirits. There is also a legend about a fish that transforms into a dragon when it reaches one thousand years old! This legend has inspired many people to get tattoos of both these creatures together on their bodies!
11. Japanese Flower Tattoo
Flower tattoos are very common in Japanese culture. Each flower has its own meaning, which makes it easy for people to choose the one that best suits them. The most common flowers featured in Japanese flower tattoos are cherry blossoms, chrysanthemums and peonies. The meanings of these tattoos also vary from femininity to celebration. Chrysanthemums symbolize longevity while peonies represent wealth and fortune.
12. Japanese Frog Tattoo
Frogs are one of the most popular symbols used in Japanese culture. They symbolize good fortune and luck because they are considered a symbol of good luck in Japan and some parts of China. The frog is also considered to be a protector against bad luck spirits or evil forces that might bring you harm or misfortune if you have it on your body as a tattoo.
13. Japanese Geisha Tattoo
A geisha is a traditional Japanese female entertainer, trained in the arts of music, dancing and conversation. They have been portrayed as symbols of beauty, sophistication and mystery. Geisha tattoos are an extension of this symbol. A geisha is traditionally depicted with long hair, flowing kimono and ornate make-up.
14. Japanese Koi Tattoo
Koi fish tattoos refer to the colorful carp fish that swim upriver against strong currents. The word “koi” comes from Japanese and simply means “carp”; in English, we add the extra “fish” to denote that we’re talking about the freshwater fish rather than the bird or whatever else it could be.
15. Japanese Lotus Tattoo
The lotus is an important symbol in Eastern culture and is often used to represent spiritual enlightenment or rebirth. The flower grows out of murky waters into something beautiful and fragrant, making it a fitting symbol for overcoming tough times and coming out on top. This design can be made with many colors or just black ink and can have different meanings depending on which colors are chosen.
16. Japanese Ogre Tattoo
There are many types of ogres in Japanese folklore, but they generally take the form of grotesque monsters or demons with horns or other features that would make them appear scary to humans. Most ogres are said to have great strength and supernatural powers that they use for evil purposes, although some ogres were known for protecting humans from other more dangerous creatures like dragons.
17. Japanese Phoenix Tattoo
The Japanese phoenix tattoo is one that you will always see in pairs. This is because the phoenix represents marital bliss, a long and happy marriage, and loyalty. The Japanese phoenix is usually seen with the dragon as they represent the yin and yang and are believed to be eternal enemies. They also represent male and female principles which when paired together symbolize balance in the universe.
18. Japanese Samurai Tattoo
The samurai were the most respected class in Japan for hundreds of years until their leaders were overthrown by the military shoguns. This happened in 1185, signaling an end to the wars that had been fought between rival factions. The samurai were said to hold honor above all else and they were also believed to be loyal servants to their masters. As such a tattoo depicting a samurai could show loyalty or honor.
19. Japanese Skull Tattoo
The skull is a popular tattoo design in Japan. There are different variations of the skull and it carries different meanings. A “happy” skull and crossbones design is used to signify a brave warrior, as opposed to the traditional pirate symbolism. The Buddhist Kanji symbol for life or birth can be added to the skull tattoo design to represent the cycle of life.
20. Japanese Sleeve Tattoo
Sleeve tattoos are seen on almost every member of the Yakuza, although most members will only have one arm fully tattooed. Other members may have both arms fully covered in tattoos, but this is more rare since it takes a long time to finish and is very expensive.
21. Japanese Tiger Tattoo
The tiger is a fierce and powerful creature that has been revered in Japanese culture since ancient times. A Japanese tiger tattoo symbolizes bravery, strength and power. In Buddhist symbolism, the tiger represents anger and wrathful aggression.
22. Japanese Snake Tattoo
This type of tattoo is drawn in black ink with intricate details and some shading. The snake tattoo symbolizes wisdom and knowledge in Japan just like in other cultures around the world. However, what makes it unique is that it has been used as an amulet for centuries as people believed that it could ward off evil spirits, diseases and bad luck.
23. Japanese Turtle Tattoo
The turtle is one of the most popular animals in Japan when it comes to tattoos. It is a symbol for endurance and good luck. Turtles are known for their long life span and that is why many people like to have them as tattoos. Turtles represent wisdom, knowledge and peace.
24. Japanese Wave Tattoo
The wave is also one of the most popular Japanese tattoo designs. In fact, it is probably one of the most common ones that you will see today. Waves in Japan symbolize power and strength as waves can be very powerful and destructive. There are even water gods for waves in Japan as well such as Triton or Neptune in other cultures.
25. Japanese Wolf Tattoo
One significant tattoo art design that is popular in Japan is the Japanese wolf tattoo. The Japanese wolf is known as the “kitsune” and is often depicted in folklore. For those who have a deep connection with nature and animals, this design can be both beautiful and meaningful. Many believe that the spirit animal always protects them from danger, so having the Japanese wolf tattooed on their body will allow them to feel safe at all times.
26. Japanese Leg Tattoo
Leg tattoos in Japan are more than just a fashion statement. Many people in Japan get leg tattoos as a form of punishment, especially criminals who have committed heinous crimes. The tattoos can be applied by anyone with a tattoo gun, and serve as a reminder of the crime committed.
27. Raijin Tattoo
His name means “thunder god,” and he is typically depicted holding hammers surrounding by drums. Some Raijin tattoos also include Fujin, who is the Japanese god of wind. The two gods are often shown fighting or racing through the sky.
28. Rising Sun Tattoo
The Rising Sun can be found on many traditional Japanese tattoos, especially those that are related to fertility or the natural world. They are often associated with animals such as deer or rabbits, but they can also be seen on other creatures such as birds and fish.
29. Traditional Japanese Dragon Tattoo
Dragon tattoos have always been a popular choice for people who want something unique on their body. Dragons represent strength and power, as well as being symbols for protection against evil spirits.
30. Traditional Japanese Tattoo
Traditional Japanese Tattoos have many different designs and motifs, but they all share the same quality: they are bold, graphic, large and black. They are almost always placed on the back, upper arm and chest of the body, and can be combined with other designs like dragons, tigers, koi fish and phoenixes.
Japanese Tattoos For Men
Japanese tattoos for men can be very attractive because of the Japanese culture and interesting designs. Japanese men usually choose samurai warriors or other masculine creatures for their tattoo designs such as dragons, tigers, koi fish and geishas. These themes are very inspiring and they have a deep meaning that represents the wearer’s personality and beliefs.
Japanese Tattoos For Women
Japanese tattoos for women are quite different from those chosen by men. Women usually choose animals such as butterflies and dragonflies or flowers like cherry blossom trees and lotus blossoms to have them inked on their bodies. Theses designs are not just attractive but they also have a deep spiritual meaning that represents the wearer’s personality.
Japanese Tattoo Meaning
Japanese tattoos have a tradition that has been followed for quite a long time with many non-Japanese adopting the Japanese tattoo culture. In Japan, it is believed that every person's soul resides in their nape and by putting on ink there you are losing part of your soul. It is due to this belief that majority of people in Japan do not get tattoos on their nape. However, despite this, majority of the Japanese tattoos are being done on the nape.
Japanese Tattoos History
Japanese tattoos have been around for centuries now and their popularity has continued to grow over time. The first documented instances of the tattoos date back to 10,000BC when they were used as a means of identifying members of different tribes. Over time, however, they have become more than just a means of identification with people using them to convey emotion or make statements about their personality.