Japanese tattoo designs popularity is growing significantly globally because of their graphic and bold patterns, making them exciting and eye-catching. Traditional Japanese tattooing called Irezumi uses Zumi, a special ink which includes mythical beings like phoenixes, nature, animals and dragons. Though Japanese tattooing is striking, there is controversy surrounding it because the firm laws against the practice in the past make it difficult to find artists who do it.

Though the popularity of Irezumi has been gaining since the second world war, the stigma against them is still present, which makes the traditional Irezumi artists live in secret. However, you can still get a Japanese tattoo design in tourist areas. Irrespective of the laws regarding Japanese tattooing, the stunning colours and designs make them look attractive. Therefore, go through the tattoo list and choose one per your taste and preference. Read on!

20+ Japanese Tattoo Designs In 2023:

If you are looking for a Japanese tattoo design, this is the right place to get a few options. We have presented a list of unique tattoos of Japanese culture that give you an insight into how it looks and if you are sure about it.

1. Cute Japanese Cat Tattoo:

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If you want to represent life, demise, alteration and respect for the dead, getting a Japanese skull tattoo called Zugaikatsu is perfect. A more cerebral display of the skull is a unique feature of the Japanese art style, unlike other skull tattoos. Additionally, this skull is inside a Maneki Neko, meaning a ‘beckoning cat’. In Japanese culture, this cute cat with an upraised paw is intended to bring luck, wealth and fortune to the wearer.

2. Bright Japanese Leg Tattoo:

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These incredible Japanese flower tattoo designs improve the more you look at them. The unique combination of bold colours creates a nice contrast, making the design worth it. This chrysanthemum tattoo adorns the legs entirely, and this flower symbolizes the wearer’s greatness, determination and generosity. In addition to personal attributes, medicinal benefits are attributed to the chrysanthemum flower, making it a popular design in Japanese tattoo culture.

3. Traditional Japanese Tattoo:

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Suppose you are looking for traditional Japanese tattoo designs that represent the rich culture and heritage of the area. In that case, this gorgeous Japanese sleeve tattoo can be an ideal choice. This Japanese sleeve tattoo is characterized by a gakubori acting as a background for the elegant patterns engraved on it. This cultural representation goes back hundreds of years. The background of such tattoos usually has a character, waves, or clouds, which tell us a story with the elements on top of the dark background.

4. Gorgeous Japanese Dragon Tattoo:

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Japanese dragon tattoos are popular not only in Japan but also worldwide and are one of the most popular elements in the modern irezumi work. Dragons represent the force of good in the universe, wisdom and strength, which are drawn from their symbolic meaning. However, there are two ways you can go about it. Firstly, you can get a dragon tattoo in all black or choose different colours making the tattoo all the more unique and realistic. As for the tattoo’s placement, if you want to show it off, the shoulder is a perfect place. However, the thighs or the back can also be ideal if you wish to cover them up conveniently.

5. Japanese Flower Tattoo on the Shoulder:

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Floral tattoos are not just popular in Japanese body art. Still, you can find them in every culture in various representations. This beautiful Japanese shoulder tattoo is a perfect example of the same. The wearer has gotten cherry blossom engraved on their shoulder, a quintessential part of Japanese tattoo art. These flowers represent the transient of life beautifully. The Japanese cherry blossom tattoos are ideal if you want a reminder that everything in life passes and nothing is permanent.

6. Trendy Japanese Arm Tattoo:

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This is a Japanese-inspired tattoo that is a prevalent traditional tattoo for women. This fan tattoo evokes a particular sexual mystery in the user. It is also considered a weapon of seduction in Asian countries for centuries. Though this fan might not be famous among the younger generation, you will get beautiful, refreshing air in warmer weather if appropriately used. The wearer has engraved the hand fan on the forearm with adorable floral patterns and black shadings. However, you can always add different colours to make the design more appealing.

7. Floral Japanese-Themed Tattoos:

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Suppose you want to represent your feminine power as a tattoo. In that case, this beautiful geisha tattoo can be an ideal choice. This tattoo represents secrecy, beauty and mystery in Japanese culture. The tattoo is gorgeous because the geisha unveils half her face with a floral cap. The design is further elevated with the presence of floral headgear. Furthermore, you can also add several elements to make the tattoo more mysterious. However, consult an expert if you want these types of tattoos.

8. Ferocious Japanese Tiger Tattoo:

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Suppose you want to exude confidence, energy and fierceness. Then, a tiger tattoo is a right choice because this regal animal represents all the said qualities. This beautiful tiger outline tattoo has the fierce animal magnificently pouncing on its prey, exuding regalness. Furthermore, the use of bold black lines, grey shading and red colour for the oral parts of the animal gives the tattoo a unique and realistic look.

9. Cool Japanese Tattoos:

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The Japanese cat tattoos portray a beckoning cat or maneki neko, some examples of cats in irezumi. Many believe this cat brings fortune and good luck, while this small figure is often seen in homes and shops. However, unlike the other cat tattoos, this design is done with wavy patterns in red. Depending on the tattoo’s size, you can get it done anywhere on your body.

10. Japanese-Style Tattoo on the Arm:

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When you look at different tattoo styles, traditional Japanese tattoos are done mostly in black with extensive shading, creating a realistic look. This breathtaking and delightful design of an uncoiling dragon looks exceptional on the back, forearm or leg. However, it is best to choose places on your body where you can have the option to cover the tattoo if you have to. Though the dragon tattoo looks beautiful in black, you can always add colours per your preference.

11. Japanese Forearm Tattoo:

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This is another Japanese art tattoo of a cat on the forearm that looks beautiful and unique. This typical Japanese art piece featuring a cat sitting on what looks like an ice cream cone in place of cream is a perfect option for whimsical souls and cat lovers. The white furry cat with blue eyes looks cute and scary, adding a unique touch to the design. The additional highlight of this tattoo is the sprinkles spread all across.

12. Japanese Crane Tattoo:

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As per Japanese culture, a crane represents endurance and prosperity, also known as Senbazuru. This open-winged crane in the clouds looks mesmerizing and has a stunning finish. The tattoo has bold black lines with greyish shading creating a perfect look. However, you can always use colours to make the tattoo more alluring and gorgeous. The best places to engrave the crane tattoo are on the back or the biceps, depending on the design’s size.

13. Japanese Demon Tattoo:

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Demons, typically known as one, are present throughout Japanese folklore, whose stories display this character’s negative characteristics. However, despite all these negative associations, Japanese demon tattoos give the wearer an added level of metaphysical protection by warding off evil spirits and bad luck. Using black ink for most tattoos provides the design with the desired scary look, further elevated by doing the eyes and tongue in red. The entire tattoo exudes an authentic and realistic look.

14. Bold Japanese Tattoo:

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This is yet another roaring tiger Japanese tattoo symbolizing vitality, courage and strength as per Japanese culture. However, unlike the previous tattoo, this tiger design is done entirely in black ink with shades of white in the corners giving the pattern a scary and terrorizing look. Many people consider Japanese tiger tattoos to protect the wearer from evil spirits and bad luck, in addition to being symbols of long life. You can observe the magnificence in the eyes of the tiger while it is rising slowly to pounce.

15. Japanese Full-Sleeve Tattoo:

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In Japanese tattooing, different areas of tattoo coverage are given specific terms, like many elements of Japanese tattooing. For example, a tattoo that starts near the chest, continues over the shoulder and then down the arm is called a nagasode. This Japanese tattoo covers an entire arm with several attractive elements like an oni, a tiger and a swirling dragon against a bold and black background, elevating all the characters.

16. Japanese Tattoo on Chest:

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People love tree tattoos not only for their cool looks but also for their rich symbolic meanings. Some of them tattooed Japanese tattoos on their chest with colours.

17. Traditional Japanese Tattoo for Women:

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Nowadays, traditional Japanese tattoos are gaining popularity amongst Japanese youths. Traditional Japanese tattoo designs with medusa pictures have a myth that the people who look at this image will become a statue. This conventional Japanese tattoo has a great story behind it. The traditional Japanese tattoo contains any god or conventional or spirit pictures in their designs.

18. Japanese Flower Tattoo Designs For Girls:

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In Japanese culture, they have to wear a tattoo to show their self-discipline, honour, and loyalty. Each and every man should have a tattoo on their full body like a fashionable. It gives more attractiveness to women and teenagers. However, the astonishing thing about Japanese tattoos is that they can maintain their style and still appreciate the authentic traditional style.

See More: Asian Tattoo Designs

19.  Full Body Japanese Back Tattoo:

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Full black is the most popular choice for a Japanese tattoo, and inking this design on the back is another popular option for tattoos. A tattoo of a Japanese elephant with flowers looks fantastic and expresses a sense of deep power and strength. Men are perfectly suitable to wear this type of Japanese tattoo design.

20. Motif Japanese Dragon Tattoo on Shoulder:

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The dragon is the legendary fire-breathing creature with immense power and importance in Japanese myths. Japanese dragon tattoo designs are minutely detailed and look mystic and awe-inspiring. They generally show the dragon as a magnificent beast with massive wings and a fire-breathing snout! The colours used are vibrant and attract the attention of all the onlookers. The tattoo itself is irresistibly good.

21. Japanese Tribal Tattoo Sleeves:

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Tribalism is a popular form of abstract art. Usually, they are solid black, but they have come a long way. Japanese tribal tattoos include bold colours and effects that were not used while black. You can get many attractive tribal designs, either standing alone in solid black or with other elements added to them.  Japanese tribal tattoos come in various subjects that people love, like tribal dragons, suns, and animals.


It is difficult to find an artist who does traditional Japanese tattoo designs. However, it is still an attractive option for many. But before you go out and get a Japanese tattoo engraved onto your body, it is best to check out some designs since it is a permanent commitment. Also, don’t forget to let us know if you found the article helpful!

Rk Bh

About Krishna

Meet Krishna, our experienced tattoo designs writer. He explores the captivating world of tattoos, sharing their stories, meanings, and the latest trends to inspire your own tattoo journey. Join him on an exciting adventure into the world of tattoos.