Japanese Symbols Tattoos: 50 Fresh Tattoo Ideas to Check and Try 2024

Looking for Japanese symbols tattoos ideas? Tattoos are a unique and expressive art form that has been around since the olden times as a way to express your personality. People of that time got these tattoos for different reasons and they helped them stand out among other people.

Nowadays, tattoos have become far more popular and have reached a level where this art form has become popular all across the globe.

People from different parts of the world get tattoos for different reasons. Some of them get these tattoos to commemorate a special occasion or an event in their lives while others get them as a unique way to remember their loved ones. In short, tattoos have become a vital part of the current world climate and culture.

Read More: Fresh Star Tattoo Designs and Their Meanings

What are Japanese Symbols Tattoos?

Japanese symbol tattoos have been around for centuries and in those, they were considered to be the mark of a samurai warrior. Today, however, these tattoos are popular all across the globe and are preferred by countless people. These Japanese symbols might look intimidating to a lot of non-native people but for those who know the language, these can be an incredible way to express your personality and emotions in an exciting manner.

Some of these Japanese symbol tattoos have a large history behind them and are an integral part of Japanese traditions and culture. Here we will discuss some of the most popular Japanese symbols tattoos and the meaning behind them which will help you get a better understanding regarding them.

1. Ryu (Japanese Dragon) TattooJapanese dragon symbolizes strength and wisdom.

This is the most popular design when it comes to traditional Japanese tattoos. This particular type of Japanese symbol tattoo symbolizes wisdom, strength, blessing, courage, and a force for good. There are a lot of different theories about the origin of this Japanese symbol tattoo. However, it was made popular by the belief that dragons can manipulate various elements for the benefit and well-being of all humankind.

This type of Japanese symbol tattoo can vary in design and placement as some people get it as a Japanese symbol tattoo on the arm while others get it across the chest. There are also a plethora of variations of this type of Japanese symbol tattoo with some having a camel head, a snake or fish body, and eagle talons included in them.

2. Kappa (Japanese Turtle) TattooJapanese turtle symbolizes mischief, often tattooed on foot.

This is another popular type of Japanese symbol tattoo whose design originates from the myth of a giant turtle and salamander reaching out from shallow waters to grab everyone around them. Because of its origin and the myth surrounding it, this tattoo is normally associated with troublemaking and law-breaking.

This tattoo is more popular outside of Japan as compared to the country itself and it is interpreted as Japanese symbols tattoos on foot.

3. Tengu (Japanese Supernatural Ghost) TattooSinister Japanese ghost symbol tattoo, typically on shoulder.

Japanese symbol tattoos of this nature resemble various humanoid versions of supernatural and demonic creatures. These creatures have elongated noses that help add to their sinister appearance. These are some of the most traditional Japanese tattoos and are usually filled with either black or red color which helps to emphasize their wrath and fury. These Japanese symbols tattoos often carry the meaning of war, disaster, and destruction.

This type of Japanese symbol tattoo is often placed in a broad and visible area of the body like the shoulder, chest, or thigh.

4. Koi (Japanese Fish) TattooJapanese fish symbolizes success, often colorful tattoo design.

The koi is another type of Japanese symbol tattoo. The story of the koi swimming in an upward stream and reaching the top of the waterfall to transform into a dragon is a huge part of Japanese folklore. Koi fish are used to symbolize success, ability to overcome struggles, courage, determination, and popularity in Japanese culture.

Japanese symbols tattoos of this type can also be done in a variety of colors that further adds to their significance and the meaning behind them.

5. Karajishi (Japanese Lion) Tattoo Japanese lion-dog symbolizes protection, often on foot.

This Japanese lion tattoo is not something that you would normally expect from a Japanese symbol tattoo. This particular creature is a combination of a lion and a dog. Both the creatures are combined in a way that the Japanese lion has pointed ears and a dog-like posture. This particular combination also to the symbolism behind the tattoo itself as it is used to signify protection, loyalty, courage, bravery, and strength.

Both animals have a unique significance in Japanese culture where the dog serves as a protector and the lion as a hero. This tattoo can be either big or small in size and is a popular Japanese symbol tattoo on foot.

6. Hebi Irezumi (Japanese Snake) Tattoo Japanese snake symbolizes transformation, often on arm.

In the Japanese language, hebi means snake and irezumi means the art of tattooing. So, the name hebi irezumi describes the process of getting a snake tattoo on your body. The snake in Japanese culture is often used to symbolize growth, transformation, rebirth, and change. All these attributes are assigned to the snake because of its ability to shed its skin and start over.

Japanese snake tattoos can have different meanings based on their color. A white snake is used to symbolize good luck while the black snake is considered a bad omen and is used to symbolize misfortune. This tattoo can be placed on various parts of the body but it is most commonly done as a Japanese symbol tattoo on arm.

7. Hou-ou (Japanese Phoenix) Tattoo Japanese phoenix symbolizes rebirth, often on chest.

This is another popular type of Japanese symbol tattoo. In Japan, the phoenix is considered to be a symbol of the imperial household. This relationship has a huge impact on the meaning of the tattoo itself which is used to symbolize characteristics like justice and obedience.

In other cultures, however, the phoenix is used to allude to other important characteristics like harmony and disharmony. These creatures are also used to symbolize the good and bad times as well as the ups and downs in a person’s life. These are relatively big tattoos that are done across the chest or the leg.

8. Cat Japanese Symbols TattoosJapanese cat symbolizes luck, often colorful tattoo design.

In Japanese culture, cats are often associated with good luck and wealth. These characteristics make them an ideal creature to get tattooed on your body. There are a plethora of ways in which you can decorate this particular tattoo based on your preference. Some people use the traditional color scheme to decorate these tattoos while others use unique colors to add a personal touch to them.

You can also use props like food and other decorations to enhance the beauty of the tattoo.

9. Cherry Blossom TattooJapanese cherry blossom symbolizes beauty and impermanence.

The cherry blossom is another popular type of Japanese symbol tattoo. Cherry blossoms are some of the beautiful flowers in the world and their unique style and color add to their overall charm. It is said that the cherry blossoms do not live for a very long time. This fact lends additional significance to their beauty.

These Japanese symbols tattoos are used to highlight the important moments in a person’s life. They are also commonly associated with perseverance and courage which makes them an ideal matching couple tattoos as well.

10. Crane TattooJapanese crane symbolizes peace and longevity, often on arm.

The crane holds significant importance in Japanese culture where it is widely recognized as a symbol of peace and hope. It is also considered to be a mythical and otherworldly creature that is deeply admired and respected by all the creatures around it. The bird is believed to bring back good fortunes and luck and it also represents wisdom and longevity.

A Japanese symbol tattoo of this scale can include a plethora of details and additional features like the sun and different types of flowers surrounding it. This is also a relatively large-scale tattoo that is commonly placed as a Japanese symbol tattoo on arm.

11. Geisha (Japanese Women) TattooJapanese woman symbolizes grace and beauty, often detailed.

Geishas have an important place in Japanese culture and history and this type of Japanese symbol tattoo is used to convey the message of grace and attractiveness. A tattoo of a geisha is popular among both men and women alike and it represents intense beauty, perfection, and respect.

Most of these pieces are very large and detailed and because of that, they are commonly placed on the back. You can also add other traditional Japanese tattoos like cherry blossoms, and a cat to add to its overall beauty and appeal.

12. Japanese Geometric Tattoo

Simple yet elegant Japanese symbol tattoo, versatile designs.

Geometric shapes are considered to be the building blocks of our entire world. They are simple and well-defined which further adds to their beauty and class. This simplistic beauty is also why they are a popular type of Japanese symbol tattoo. The historical significance of these tattoos reaches as far back as ancient Roman times but they have a significant place in Japanese history and culture as well.

Japanese Geometric tattoos can be designed in a wide variety of ways ranging from an abstract design to a fully-fledged interpretation of an image. These Japanese geometric tattoos can vary in size based on your personal preference. They can be big enough to cover your entire back or arm or small enough to cover a small portion of your shoulder.

13. Japanese Lotus TattooPink lotus symbolizes love and passion, feminine design.

This particular Japanese symbol tattoo is better suited for women because of its feminine color and symbolism. This tattoo consists of a pink lotus that is surrounded by a plethora of green leaves. This traditional Japanese tattoo is used to symbolize passion and love and is ideal for women all over the world.

14. Japanese Wolf TattooGrey wolf with pink tongue, surrounded by orange flowers.

This is one of the oldest Japanese symbols tattoos. It is popular among both men and women because of its unique design. This tattoo normally consists of a grey-inked wolf that has a pink tongue. The background of the tattoo usually consists of orange flowers.

15. Japanese Spider Web TattooBlack and grey spider web tattoo on arm.

This is a large tattoo in terms of size and is a Japanese symbol tattoo on arm. This particular Japanese symbol tattoo includes a black and grey spider. It also consists of a large grey web that covers the entire arm. The spider tattoo is used to convey the personality of a warrior and showcases a person’s courage and strength.  

16. Japanese Skull Tattoo Stylish skull tattoo with deep meaning.

The Japanese skull is an ideal choice for you if you are looking to add a dramatic twist to your tattoo. This is one of the most popular skull tattoos in the world because of the color choices that it presents. Other than being unique and stylish, this tattoo has a deep meaning behind it. This Japanese symbol tattoo is used to commemorate a major event in a person’s life.

17. Fujin Tattoo

Japanese winged deity symbolizes life changes.

This Japanese symbol tattoo represents a creature that is the deity of wings. This creature is portrayed as a Japanese demon with bright green or blue skin. It is used to memorize the events that resulted in major changes in your life.

18. Kirin TattooJapanese mythical creature symbolizes hope for better days.

Kirin is a Japanese symbol tattoo that represents another chimeral creature from Japanese folklore. The Kirin is a traditional Japanese tattoo that is considered a good omen. It signifies that no matter how hard today is, tomorrow will be better.

19. Baku Tattoo

Japanese nightmare-eating creature symbolizes protection.

According to Japanese folklore, this Japanese symbol tattoo is popular for its aid in devouring nightmares. This tattoo is depicted with the head of an elephant, the tail of an ox, and the body of a bear.

20. Oni (Japanese Demon) Tattoo Japanese demon symbolizes disaster and death.

Oni represents the demons and devils of Japanese folklore. They are most commonly presented as large humanoid creatures and wear loincloths. These demons are the harbingers of disaster and death.

21. Kitsune (Japanese Fox) TattooJapanese fox symbolizes cleverness, often on arms.

Kitsune are extremely fast and clever creatures. They are also rumored to be immortal and can grow old to become Tenkos. These Japanese symbols tattoos are large and are popular Japanese symbols tattoos on arms.

22. Fudo Myoo TattooJapanese deity symbolizes wisdom and power.

In the Japanese language, Fudo Myoo translates to “wise king Acala”. King Acala was a Buddhist deity who was responsible for spreading religion across Japan. He is generally depicted with an angry face and a weapon like a noose or a sword.

23. Heikegani (Japanese Crab) TattooJapanese crab symbolizes fallen warriors, often on foot.

The Heikegani are disgruntled-looking crabs who are rumored to represent the warriors that have fallen in battle. These tattoos are popular among various rich families in Japan and are popular Japanese symbols tattoos on foot.

24. Nue Japanese Symbols TattoosJapanese symbol tattoo of Nue: ape face, tiger body, snake tail.

Nue is a mythical creature that has been taken out from the Tale of Heike. This creature has an ape’s face, a tiger’s body, and a snake’s tail. This Japanese symbol tattoo is large and is a popular Japanese symbol tattoo on arm.

25. Namakubi Tattoo

Japanese tattoo with blood spots, daggers, arrows, ropes.

This Japanese symbol tattoo pays homage to all the warriors that have come and gone. It is usually covered with spots of blood with other items like daggers, arrows, and ropes. These tattoos symbolize honor, courage, respect, and bravery.  

26. Hannya TattooLarge Japanese symbol tattoo of demonic female face.

Hannya represents the face of demonic females who were consumed by their jealousy and anger. These tattoos are popular because of their unique history and immaculate design. These Japanese symbols tattoos are large and are popular as Japanese symbols tattoos on arm.

27. Hitotsume-Kozo Tattoo

Traditional Japanese tattoo of cute bald monk goblin.
Source:Tatt Mag

This Japanese symbol tattoo consists of a cute bald monk. Although they may look adorable, they are in fact depictions of goblins. These traditional Japanese tattoos are popular among men and women because of their simple design.

28. Namazu (Japanese Earthquake Catfish) TattooJapanese tattoo of Namazu with Takemikazuchi, god of thunder.

These Japanese symbols tattoos were popularized by the Japanese tails of a large fish that caused earthquakes. In these tattoos, Namazu is normally protected by Takemikazuchi who is the god of thunder and swords.

29. Botan Tattoo

 Japanese tattoo symbolizing bravery, prosperity, honor, courage, fortune.

Botan is known as the king of flowers and because of that these tattoos are popular in Japan. These tattoos have many metaphors and meanings attached to them. These meanings include bravery, prosperity, honor, courage, and good fortune.

30. Koinobori TattooLarge Japanese tattoo of fish, symbolizing importance in culture.

This Japanese symbol tattoo consists of a large fish. These tattoos also stress the importance of fish and sea life in Japanese culture. This tattoo is relatively large and is a common Japanese symbol tattoo on arm.

31. Japanese Wave TattooJapanese wave tattoo inspired by Hokusai's art.

A Japanese wave tattoo is commonly based on the Ukiyo-e print that was created by Hokusai. This Japanese symbol tattoo is used to represent pride and courage. It is an important part of Japanese culture because of its association with Mount Fuji.

32. Kasa-obake (Japanese Umbrella Demon) Tattoo

Japanese umbrella demon tattoo blending humor and tradition.

This tattoo is also a part of Japanese culture that has been translated into art. This particular Japanese symbol tattoo consists of an umbrella that has transformed into a demon. This tattoo encapsulates the humor and mischief that is a major part of Japanese traditions.

33. Jorogumo (Japanese Spider Woman) TattooJapanese spider woman tattoo with rich mythological background.

The jorogumo tattoo has vast history and lore behind it. This tattoo depicts a demon that has transformed itself into a spider woman. The spider woman follows the legend of Kashikobuchi which is worshiped for its power to fend off disasters.

34. Japanese Toad TattooJapanese toad tattoo symbolizing wealth and success.

Natural life is a crucial part of Japanese folklore. This Japanese symbol tattoo represents a large toad. Japanese toads have significant importance in Japanese culture. These creatures represent prosperity, success, and wealth.

35. Saru (Japanese Money) TattooSmall Japanese money tattoo, beloved symbol of culture

This animal also has severe significance in Japanese culture. These Japanese symbol tattoos represent a creature that is loved and adored by all. This tattoo is significantly small in size and is a popular Japanese symbol tattoo on foot.  

36. Kabuki TattooJapanese kabuki tattoo, symbolizing theater tradition

Musical theatre is an integral part of Japanese culture. The kabuki is and has always been an integral part of Japanese theatre. These tattoos are also popular in men and women and are commonly placed on the shoulder.

37. Japanese Mask TattooJapanese mask tattoo representing cultural diversity

Japanese culture is filled with masks and these Japanese symbol tattoos encapsulate that fact. There is a large variety of Japanese masks so you have a lot of choices when it comes to this tattoo.

38. Kintaro Tattoo

Kintaro tattoo depicting strength and heroism
Source:All things tatto

This particular tattoo celebrates the legend of a boy who became a hero. This boy caught an evil oni which made him a hero in Japanese culture. This Japanese symbol tattoo symbolizes energy, strength, and power.

39. Yokai TattooJapanese yokai tattoo representing supernatural folklore

Yokai are supernatural beings and ghosts. They can range from extremely good to pure evil and are popular in Japanese folklore. Each of these ghosts has its unique look and set of powers and they are extremely popular in Japan.

40. Monmon Tattoo

Japanese Monmon tattoo inspired by Horimoto's cat affection.

This tattoo was first made famous by Horimoto who is a popular tattoo artist. This particular Japanese symbol tattoo displays his best work. As a result, he created this unique tattoo because of his affection for cats.  

41. Hyottoko Tattoo

Japanese Hyottoko mask tattoo, symbolizing fire deity

This Japanese Symbol Tattoo comes in the form of a mask who is a popular theatre and cinema character that is loved all over Japan. He is most commonly known as the God of fire and it has a bamboo piece coming out of his mouth that blows fire.

42. Bakeneko TattooJapanese Bakeneko tattoo representing yokai folklore

This is another variation of a cat tattoo that is extremely large and is a visual representation of yokai and is popular all over the world. These cats can shapeshift and are popular among men and women alike.

43. Shibari Tattoo

Japanese shibari tattoo inspired by ancient rope tying

These Japanese symbol tattoos are based on the ancient art of rope tying. This concept has recently become popular all over the world. This surge in popularity has birthed a lot of shibari tattoo variations.

44. Momotaro TattooJapanese Momotaro tattoo featuring the peach boy myth

This is one of the cutest Japanese symbol tattoos based on Japanese mythology. Momotaro is a tattoo that consists of portraits of a peach boy. This is a relatively small tattoo which makes it a popular Japanese symbol tattoo on foot.

45. Daruma TattooJapanese Daruma tattoo symbolizing luck and fortune

The daruma tattoo is based on a toy of the same name. These Japanese symbol tattoos are modeled after fat dolls that are quite popular in Japan. These tattoos represent good luck and fortune and are popular in men.  

46. Chochin-obake Tattoo

Japanese Chochin-obake tattoo featuring possessed household items

This tattoo represents ordinary household items that have survived for such a time that they have been possessed by a spirit. These Japanese symbol tattoos include various household items with a pair of eyes and a mouth on them. These facial features indicate the presence of a spirit.

47. Ushi-Oni Tattoo

Japanese Ushi-Oni tattoo featuring spider body, ox head.

These Japanese symbol tattoos include the body of a spider and the head of an ox. These tattoos are small in size and are commonly placed as Japanese symbol tattoos on foot.

48. Yurei Tattoo

Japanese Yurei tattoo depicting haunting spirits

These tattoos represent the Western depictions of Japanese ghosts. In Japanese culture, Yurei are ghosts that have been kept from a peaceful afterlife. These tattoos resemble a faint soul or a dim spirit.

49. Akkorokamui Tattoo

Japanese Akkorokamui tattoo, believed to have healing powers

This Japanese symbol tattoo consists of a monstrous squid. These tattoos are massive in size and are placed on the back or chest. It is believed that these tattoos have healing powers that are ideal for those with severed limbs.

50. Cherry Blossom with Temple TattooCherry blossom and temple tattoo symbolizing tranquility

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