Reviewed & updated: December 1, 2022 by Jamie Wilson BA
Are you a fan of ancient Japanese culture? If yes, then you need to check out these amazing designs and the unique traditional Japanese tattoo rules that are mentioned below.
Japanese tattooing dates back to the ancient Yayoi period.
Traditional Japanese tattoos are known for their easily recognizable quality. Before getting a traditional Japanese tattoo, you must learn a bit about the rules and various available designs.
The traditional Japanese tattoo style involves the use of a lot of bright colours like red, yellow, orange and pink to give that vibrant look to your tattoo design. Furthermore, you will hardly find a minimalist Japanese traditional tattoo since they tend to be quite large in shape and filled with rich details. So if you are considering getting a Japanese tattoo inked on your body, make sure that you choose a region that provides ample space for the design to bloom properly. Some of the most common placements might include your shoulder, chest and back. Here are some of the best Japanese tattoo designs mentioned in the list below.
Cherry Blossom Japanese Tattoos
The cherry blossoms are one of the most popular symbols of ancient Japan. They are believed to represent the samurai’s short and colourful life. Here is one such exquisite design of a huge cherry blossom tattoo design that engulfs almost the whole of the arm of this individual. The artist has used some brilliant strokes of bright colours like orange, pink, yellow and red to create this overall look. As quite visible from the image, these kinds of tattoo designs are suitable for both men and women. So if you are looking for similar ideas, you should definitely consider using this one.
An interesting fact about Japanese tattooing is that, unlike the modern-day tattoo artists who use various machines and equipment to create body art, traditional Japanese tattoos are, infact, done by hand. This unique technique is known as ‘tebori’.
Traditional Japanese Dragon Tattoo
Here is yet another beautiful example of traditional Japanese tattoo art featuring the great mythical beast, the all-mighty dragon. As we can see, the tattoo artist has designed this whole look using a bright shade of green and red colour. An interesting fact about dragon tattoo designs is that the colour you choose for your art can significantly impact your design’s overall meaning. For example, black dragons are usually known to represent wisdom and experience, whereas green dragons are associated with nature. You can select your colour accordingly based on the message you want to deliver through your body art.
Tiger Japanese Style Tattoo
The image mentioned above contains a stunning design of a tiger tattoo, drawn in traditional Japanese style. One of the most important Japanese traditional tattoo rules is that you always have to choose a subject that is relevant to Japanese culture. The same has been highlighted through this image. The tiger is perceived to be the protector of mankind against evil spirits and bad omens. Furthermore, the tiger is also a symbol of strength, power and courage. In this image, the artist mainly used black ink and some shading to create this stunning look of the roaring tiger. It looks incredible and sends a powerful message about the wearer’s personality. If you like your designs generating these kinds of meanings, you should consider using this one for your next tattoo.
Peony Traditional Japanese Tattoo
The peony flower is yet another very popular symbol of Japanese culture. It is the true epitome of good luck, beauty and fortune. In this image, we can see one elegant design of a peony tattoo etched on the arm of the individual. As mentioned earlier, traditional Japanese tattoos tend to be quite large in shape. So, ensure that you select a body part that provides a larger canvas for your design. Furthermore, you must remember that not all tattoo artists are experienced in traditional Japanese tattoos. So choose your artist accordingly to avoid any kind of goof-ups. Coming to the design of this tattoo, the artist has mainly used a mixture of different bright colours like red, pink and green to create this masterpiece. You can see how beautifully he has blended all the different colours, thus giving the tattoo a more vibrant look.
Women over men usually prefer floral tattoo designs. However that said, there is absolutely no reason why a man can’t get inked with these kinds of designs. You can alter the shape and size of your tattoo design any which way you want.
Traditional Japanese Cat Tattoo
Needless to say, the cat is one of the most mysterious creatures in the world. You can never know what goes on in that tiny little head. They can be extremely sweet sometimes and vicious the next moment. Regardless, you just can’t help but fall in love with that sweet little fur ball. In this image, we can see one beautiful tattoo design of this feisty animal, drawn in traditional Japanese style and placed on the arm of the individual. The hissing face of the cat, along with its prowling posture, truly brings out the true nature of this animal. Furthermore, you can also see that the artist has included several unique patterns on the cat’s body, using a mixture of black and white ink. This design is surely one-of-a-kind. If you like these unique tattoo designs, what are you waiting for? Book an appointment from your nearest tattoo parlour, and get this design tattooed.
Traditional Japanese Snake Tattoo
Have you ever wondered what a sake tattoo represents? Well, the snake is one of the most versatile of all designs and can have different meanings in different cultures. While some associate the snake with fertility and rebirth, others believe that the snake represents courage and power.
In this image, we can see a beautiful design of a snake tattoo that extends from the arm up to the shoulder of the individual. The artist has created this whole look using an amalgamation of different colours like blue, yellow, red and purple. It might look quite simple at first glance; however, snake tattoos are one of the most difficult designs to create. If you are going for a traditional style such as this one, you need to make sure that you choose a professional with proper experience in their field.
The Great Wave Classic Tattoos
In the tattooing world, wave tattoos are one of the most popular designs. They are largely preferred by both men and women, not just because of their exquisite designs but also for all the deep meanings that they generate. It is the perfect symbol of life and strength and highlights the strong yet gentle side of human nature. The above-mentioned image contains one such beautiful example of a wave tattoo design etched on the arm of the individual. The artist has mainly used black ink and paired it with shading to create this unique look. However, if you want, you can also add different colours to your wave tattoo to give it a more vibrant look. Some of the best suitable colours might include blue, grey and white.
Traditional Japanese Skull Tattoo
Before delving into the design of this unique tattoo, let’s understand a few facts about what exactly a skull tattoo represents. The common misconception about skull tattoos is that they denote negative emotions. However, that is not true since skull tattoos can have positive and negative connotations. While some believe that the skull represents death and decay, others see it as a symbol of consciousness and rebirth.
In this image, we can see one beautiful example of a skull tattoo design drawn on the body of the individual in traditional Japanese style. One of the great things about skull tattoos is that you can incorporate various elements into your design. Like in this one, the wearer has chosen the design of cherry blossoms to be included. Simultaneously, you can also go for other elements like animals or quotes for your skull tattoo.
Japanese Koi Fish Tattoo
Here is another beautiful design of a koi fish tattoo etched on the leg of the individual. The koi fish is one of the unique symbols of Japanese culture and represents perseverance, love and friendship. In this design, the artist has used a bright shade of green ink to design the body of the fish. Other colours that will go well with this design include yellow, orange, gold and blue for your koi fish tattoo.
Hannya Mask Tattoo
The Hannya mask is yet another popular symbol in Japanese culture. The word ‘hannya’ is derived from the Japanese language and means wisdom. The hannya mask is perceived as a symbol of good luck and as a protector of mankind. Here’s one similar example of a beautiful hannya mask tattoo etched on the arm of the individual.
Traditional Japanese tattoos represent the rich culture of ancient Japan. They have their own meanings and can be styled in different forms and designs. On that note, let’s take a look at a few other examples of traditional Japanese tattoo designs.
- Traditional Japanese Gold Dragons Tattoo
- Japanese Fu Dog Tattoo
- Traditional Japanese Mythical Animals Tattoo
- Yakuza Tattoo
- Japanese Lion Tattoo
Feature Image from Pinterest – Love this design? Try a Temporary Tattoo
What are the traditional rules for Japanese tattoos?
Traditional Japanese tattoos, also known as Irezumi, are a body art form that has been practiced in Japan for centuries. The traditional rules for this type of tattooing involve the use of unique symbols and motifs that represent various aspects of their culture. Common designs include dragons, tigers, carp, koi fish, samurai warriors, and Japanese gods and goddesses. The designs are usually very detailed and colorful, and can be placed anywhere on the body. Traditional Japanese tattoos also have a spiritual meaning behind them as well, often representing strength, courage, or protection from evil spirits. The artist will customize the design to reflect the individual’s personality, beliefs, and interests in order to create a truly unique piece of art. The artist will also use specific techniques and tools in order to create a design that adheres to the traditional rules of Japanese tattooing. It is important to have a knowledgeable and experienced artist when getting Irezumi, as these tattoos are not something that should be taken lightly.
How much does a traditional Japanese tattoo cost?
The cost of a traditional Japanese tattoo, or Irezumi, can vary greatly depending on the size and complexity of the design. Generally speaking, smaller tattoos will cost less than larger ones. Prices also depend on the skill and experience of the artist as well as any special materials that may be needed to create the design. On average, most traditional Japanese tattoos cost anywhere from $200-$1,000. However, some larger and more intricate designs can cost up to several thousand dollars. It is important to consider the cost before getting a tattoo in order to ensure that it fits within your budget.
How big can a traditional Japanese tattoo be?
The size of a traditional Japanese tattoo, or Irezumi, is up to the discretion of the artist. Generally speaking, smaller tattoos are more common since they are easier to hide and less expensive than larger ones. However, some artists specialize in large scale pieces that can cover the entire back or chest. It is important to discuss your desired size with your artist in order to ensure that the design is appropriate and achievable. Additionally, it can be helpful to look at examples of traditional Japanese tattoos online or in magazines in order to get an idea of what size you would like your own tattoo to be.