Japanese Dragon Tattoo

75 Jarring Japanese Dragon Tattoo Ideas To Showcase Strength

Body scarification isn't just to brag to your peers. Each tattoo has its own meaning and beliefs that resonate with the wearer. Rather than the appearance, a tattoo is a statement which portrays thousands of words. There isn’t a better tattoo idea than the japanese dragon tattoo to convey your deepest and darkest emotions in a truly artistic manner. 

Japan is a land of wonders. From the neon lights in the busy streets to the serene outskirts full of vibrant flora and fauna, the country is full of mysterious symbolism. One of the quintessential symbols of Japanese culture is the dragon. In each of their festivals, you will always see these creatures in either costumes or as kites flying in the ominous sky. 

There are usually six colors inside a Japanese dragon, each representing a unique idea or concept. While choosing a tattoo design, you should carefully research these colors and try to understand if they resemble your personality or not. 

To make matters easy, we have delved deep into the rich history of the Japanese dragon to give you a comprehensive idea. So, sit back and grab a coffee because this one may alter your reality for good. 

One Flew Over The Japanese Dragon Tattoos Nest: The Enigmatic Meaning Behind Them

Japanese dragon tattoo meaning

Japanse have a knack for strong visuals and vivid colors. It is highly reflected in their dragon tattoos. With each color and shading, artists twist the very fabric of nature. While the tattoos convey a mix of emotions perhaps the first thing you will experience is a sense of fear and power. 

These conflicting emotions create a dichotomy of two polar opposite concepts which can be dated back to 6,000 years ago. These kinds of opposing aspects have been trending in the tattoo realm for a long time which is known as Ying yan. Today, we will dissect every little symbolism and meaning behind these fantastic beasts. Some of them will make you weep like a baby while others will make your blood boil. 

How The Colors Dictate Personality

Each of the colors of the dragon have their own symbolism. This is quite apparent as some of the colors are quite poignant while others are subtle and smooth. As humans, some of us also are quite intense while some of us love to be with their own company. So, here is a summary of what each of the colors in the Japanese dragon symbolize. 

Type Of Color 

Meaning And Symbolism


Individuality And Nobleness


Connection With Mother Nature


Humanity And Forgiveness


Exclusivity And The Desire To Rise Above


Friendship And Allegiance


Peace And Tranquility

 The Amulet Of Protection

During hardships, Japanese people always sought help from the dragons. Many of the dragons were believed to be gods with immense power. People prayed to them thinking that they would relieve them of their miseries and oftentimes they did. While the modern generation of Japan has deviated much from the belief, there are still rituals of praying to these amazing beasts on weekends. People still believe that the dragons will protect them from all the evil entities. 

Pop Culture References Further Justifying The Symbolism

Japanese are creative people who know that the symbolism of the Japanese dragon will soon perish. The young people will obviously not adhere to them as much as the older generation. That’s why they are always coming up with fun ideas to keep on reminding people about the dragons. 

One of the most popular references is Shenron from the Dragon ball universe. This green, serpentine shaped dragon is known to grant people any of their wishes no matter how absurd or nefarious they may be. Because of Shenron, people are slowly gravitating more towards leaving behind these celestial beings. 

To Be Or Not To Be: The Mystery Surrounding Japanese Dragon Tattoos

With each revered tattoo design, there is a lot of buzz about its negative connotations. The Japanese dragon tattoo is no exception. There are many people who have attributed the tattoo to be a sign of evil. While the Japanese dragons are surely meaningful, it doesn’t mean they have an association with evil entities. 

Back in the day, they were considered to be among the most holy and auspicious symbols of them all. Many temples still to this day have artworks of them. So, the next time you see something controversial about the Japanese dragon tattoos, make sure to brush them off. 

Creative Japanese Dragon Tattoo Designs To Portray Your Imagination

The tattoos come in all shapes and styles. From the highly stylized designs to near comical ones, artists have attempted to portray these enigmatic beasts in a number of ways. All of them seem to work in their own bizarre way. The important aspect is to display the essence of these majestic beasts with the tattoo. 

But the question still remains. Which tattoo style should you opt for? Well, we are here to clear all your doubts about the tattoo and make your mind fixed on one particular design. 

Traditional Japanese Dragon Tattoo   

Traditional Japanese dragon tattoo

Traditional Japanese tattoos are as alluring as they are full of symbolism. These tattoos are packed with sophisticated patterns and shades that make even the most dull person in the world feel excited. 

The most interesting aspect about this kind of tattoo is the outline. A deep black color with high saturation is used to make a solid foundation. Vibrant solid colors fill up the entire shapes which in turn makes the dragon feel alive in your body canvas.

The tattoo works best either on your arm or your neck where people can easily see it. Some weak minded people may claim that tattoos are for personal growth and achievement. It's not meant to exhibit to the world. But why should you go for a body scarification if you have to keep it to yourself? Wear it proudly.

Japanese Dragon Sleeve Tattoo 

Japanese Dragon Sleeve Tattoo

Sleeve tattoos are for the confident people out there who are not afraid to showcase their beliefs and persona to the world. These types of tattoos are mainly opted by the people who consider themselves to be nonconformists.. 

As you already know, Japanese dragons are wingless and often have a serpentine body. Your sleeve is the perfect place to draw any kind of spiral shaped figure. Colors are optional.

If you want to portray a raw emotion, you should opt for a monochromatic color scheme. Otherwise, go all out on colors to illustrate a tattoo that will feel like you have the entire rainbow blossoming in your flesh. 

Female Japanese Dragon Tattoo  

Female Japanese Dragon Tattoo

There is an age-old debate among tattoo enthusiasts about the aspect of which tattoos are considered feminine. The general consensus is that most tattoos that appear to be menacing are only for the men whereas the tattoos with gentle and subtle shapes and colors are for the female.

But the Japanese dragon tattoos are here to change this obscure belief once in for all. These tattoos are for everyone irrespective of your gender. You may surely make it look a certain type of way by incorporating feminine or masculine shapes. 

To illustrate the tattoo in a feminine manner, you can include some natural elements into the tattoo. Females are always deemed to be more connected with mother nature compared to the male.  

Japanese Dragon Forearm Tattoo  

Japanese Dragon Forearm Tattoo

Forearm tattoos are always magical. They add a sense of mystery into the tattoo. It's as if the forearm is a magical carpet that can conceal or showcase your dragon tattoo in time you want. 

You always have to opt for a colorful design if you are choosing to have it in the forearm. Your forearm is all about theatricality therefore it needs something truly fitting. As for the styles, you can choose something with a bit more sophisticated patterns. Mandala artworks are getting immensely popular because of their resemblance to the labyrinth. You can certainly think about choosing this design. 

Include a startling background as well. This will give the Japanese dragon a sense of general atmosphere; otherwise, the tattoo will appear flat. 

Japanese Yakuza Dragon Tattoo  

Japanese Yakuza Dragon Tattoo

If you ever have the luck of setting foot in Japan, you will instantly be bombarded with the tales of the Yakuza. People both respect and fear the Japanese mafia. The reasons for this are quite long. 

The japanese mafia mainly operates on illegal things such as extortion, money laundering and sometimes even murder. While they may be illegal, they are known to provide justice in cases where the police fail. That’s why they are quite respected in every household in Japan. 

Many of the members wear Japanese dragon tattoos because they believe it will grant them strength and make them fearless. If you also want to be as brave as the Yakuza, this tattoo is certainly for you. 

Japanese Dragon Head Tattoo  

Japanese Dragon Head Tattoo

In literature, the Japanese dragon head is portrayed in many different styles. Some of them have a mustache while others have a rugged expression on their face. It's up to you to choose the one that fits your personality and behavior. 

Realistic tattoos are not always preferred, especially for the Japanese dragon tattoos. This is the one area of the tattooing industry where most people opt for something that is more creative. Oftentimes, the end result is something that is quite deviant from the original attire. 

Colors are always a must if you are choosing the Japanese dragon head tattoo. But you should always choose a color palette that goes well with your skin color. Otherwise, it will look messy. 

Japanese Dragon Chest Tattoo

Japanese Dragon Chest Tattoo

Chest tattoos are always a bold choice because you are taking quite a risk. Getting a Japanese dragon tattoo on your chest means that you are truly devoted to the cause and you will do anything to convey the message to the world. 

You may be wondering why is the tattoo so risky? Well, your skin in the chest is highly prone to damage. One small mistake can permanently alter your skin for the rest of your life. That’s why you should contact a professional who has years of experience in chest tattoos. 

These tattoos are quite personal. When you will get a japanese dragon on your chest, you would feel like there is a friend in you at all times. You will start to feel better about yourself. 

Blue Japanese Dragon Tattoo

Blue Japanese Dragon Tattoo

We have already made a small table where you can see that each of the colors in the Japanese dragon tattoo means something. That was for those who are in a rush. If you have the time to reach this point of the article then you obviously deserve a full explanation

What's the first thing that pops up in your mind when you think about the color blue? It has to be the vast sky. It is known that the sky doesn’t have any memories. It conceals every single memory of you no matter how happy or sad it is. That’s why when you get this tattoo, it will mean that you are thinking of starting a new life from ground zero.

Japanese Dragon And Koi Fish Tattoo

Japanese Dragon And Koi Fish Tattoo

This tattoo conveys the concept of rebirth and transformation. In the ancient Japanese folktale, there was a Koi fish who was ridiculed by everyone. One day, a fairy appeared in front of it and told the koi fish to swim on top of the pond. 

The current was going on the opposite side. The Koi fish swimmed as hard as it could without giving up. When it reached the top of the pond, the koi fish transformed into a magnificent dragon. You also have to persist. You will soon see yourself transforming into the best version of yourself. 

Japanese Dragon Arm Tattoo 

Japanese Dragon Arm Tattoo

Arm tattoos always look jatting because of the proportionality of it. It has the right amount of width and height to depict the serpentine shape of the japanese dragon. 

Although the dragon itself has enough patterns to carry on its own, incorporation of some festive elements add so much to the overall tattoos appearance. That's why, you should always opt for scenic or intricate patterns that complement well with the dragon.

Japanese Dragon Leg Tattoo

Japanese Dragon Leg Tattoo

This one is a bit controversial to say the least. Many people think of the Japanese dragons way too highly. They think that it is a holy deity that can only be portrayed in a suitable part of the body. Illustrating the tattoo on the leg is considered to be a disgrace to the dragon.

These kinds of birds are nothing but trash. Because of these weird customs, people are becoming more and more afraid of getting tattoos. Get the tattoo wherever you want. You should not pay heed to the naysayers.

Red Japanese Dragon Tattoo

Red Japanese Dragon Tattoo

The blazing red color of the Japanese dragon tattoo portrays the intensity of a character. It conveys that the wearer is hyper focused on achieving their goals. 

The concept of the red Japan dragon tattoo originated in the temples where they were guarded by red dragons. No stories of evil entities were allowed to enter the establishments. The dragons were resemblant of the sun who reflected everything nefarious. When you get the tattoo, you will also attract only positive energies. 

Japanese Dragon Back Tattoo

Japanese Dragon Back Tattoo

Your back has an adequate amount of space to portray the entire magnitude of the Japanese dragon. With any other part of your body, you are confined by space. But with the back, you have enough creative flexibility to whatever you want. 

Rather than illustrating a two dimensional tattoo, you should choose a three dimensional design that will make the tattoo look hyper realistic. One of the key secrets in making a three dimensional tattoo is to utilize the shades. 

In every twist and curl of the dragon, you have to heavily shade using a black hue so that it feels like the dragon is alive in your flesh.

Japanese Dragon And Tiger Tattoo

Japanese Dragon And Tiger Tattoo

Both tigers and dragons are menacing beasts that strike fear in everyone who sees the sight of them. Therefore, you can imagine just how deadly the combination of them will look in a tattoo.

Even in the folktales, there has been a long association between these two creatures. They are both revered highly by the Japanese people and they are known as the guardians of men. 

You should always opt for vibrant colors while drawing these tattoos as black and color doesn’t really work here. 

Green Japanese Dragon Tattoo

Green Japanese Dragon Tattoo

Green Japanese dragon tattoos convey the connection humans have with mother nature. Close your eyes for a second. Think of a world without any of the green elements in nature.

Would you be able to survive? You won’t be able to pass a single moment without nature. The trees give us oxygen and food. Without these two, we are going to perish. The green Japanese dragon tattoo can be seen as a tribute to mother nature and a representation of respect for her. 

Small Japanese Dragon Tattoo

Small Japanese Dragon Tattoo

Seeing things in their normal form is often disappointing. Our eyes are always accustomed to them. That's why there is no excitement. Dragons are always viewed as a gigantic beast with wings that cause hurricanes. Our mind is hardwired into thinking of them this way. 

But imagine if these creatures were in a miniature shape. Your brain won’t be able to comprehend it. Seeing the dragons in a small form will release hormones that will make you feel thrilled. That’s why these tattoos are gaining so much popularity all throughout the world. 

Golden Japanese Dragon Tattoo

Golden Japanese Dragon Tattoo

Japanese dragon tattoos in gold represent wealth and exclusivity. The tattoos indicate that the wearer is not an ordinary person.  They do not belong to the same herd. They stand above all others. 

In addition to its looks, the tattoo has a truly regal appearance because of the golden hues. It seems as though the tattoo is reflecting light. You feel as though the entire sun is being enclosed there when you gaze at the tattoo. 

Japanese Dragon Shoulder Tattoo

Japanese Dragon Shoulder Tattoo

If you are opting for a realistic dragon tattoo then the shoulder is undoubtedly the ideal place for it. It will make the dragon truly pop out in your skin.

A good idea is to draw the swirls of the dragon's body in the center of the shoulder. The rest of the body including the head and the tail can branch from the shoulder. What this will do is make the tatoo move whenever you move. This type of motion dynamics can be achieved in any other part of your body. 

3D Japanese Dragon Tattoo

3D Japanese Dragon Tattoo

Everything you need to know is the name. You have to make the dragon look like it has length, height and width. You are scratching your head thinking how is that possible. Our skin only has two dimensions. 

Well, you don't really have to create another dimension in your body just to portray the tattoo. All you need to do is deceive the naked eye into thinking it's a three dimensional tattoo. Artists have devised many tricks for achieving that. One of the most common techniques is to make the best use of shades. 

Japanese Dragon And Crane Tattoo

Japanese Dragon And Crane Tattoo

Cranes have a very special place in the hearts of the japanese. In ancient times, they used to believe that babies were delivered to their parents by the Cranes. Although this may be ludicrous to modern people, back then things were much simpler.

Even today, when kids ask their parents where they came from, Japanese parents sometimes respond by saying that they descended from the heavens and were carried by the cranes. Therefore, it's quite obvious that the cranes are a holy symbol. Combining two audivimus symbols like the crane and the dragon will make a tattoo that will safeguard you from all the danger.

Yellow Japanese Dragon Tattoo

Yellow Japanese Dragon Tattoo

Friends are truly something else. No matter how dire your current situation is, a true friend will never leave you. They will stay by your side providing you comfort, courage and all the things you will need to overcome the situation. 

The yellow Japanese dragon tattoo commerotes the concept of friendship and allegiance. When you and your friend will get this tattoo, you will be bonded by blood. Nothing will be able to separate you.

Floral Japanese Dragon Tattoo

Floral Japanese Dragon Tattoo

Any floral pattern just enhances the aesthetics of the tattoo. It brings a natural vibe to the tattoo that makes it look far more jarring.

Japanese dragon tattoos can be too raw sometimes. The vibrant colors appear to be too aggressive. To tone it down, you need some subtle floral patterns. The delicate shapes will perfectly balance the overall tone of the tattoo.

Japanese Dragon And Phoenix Tattoo

Japanese Dragon And Phoenix Tattoo

Feeling down? it's completely normal. Not everyday will go in our favor. There will be times when everything will seem to be against you. Nothing will bring you success or happiness. You will stay more and more depressed. 

But you always have to remember that after the darkness, light appears. The phoenix burns into ashes and from the ashes, the phoenix gets reborn again. Therefore, you just need to keep pushing.

Japanese Dragon Thigh Tattoo

Japanese Dragon Thigh Tattoo

Your thigh has ample amount of space to draw the entirety of the dragon. In any other part of the body, you could only draw a part of the dragon. But in the case of your thigh, you should go all out. 

The most magical part about the thigh is that whenever you move, the thigh moves as well. Therefore, the tattoo will look like it's flying in your skin. How mysterious is that!

Black Japanese Dragon Tattoo

Black Japanese Dragon Tattoo

Black Japanese dragon tattoos are quite artistic. They have an aesthetic vibe to them that compels us to stare at the tattoo for hours. The tattoo conveys a myriad of meanings. Perhaps the most apparent message it portrays is the concept of individuality. 

In today's world, we are mindlessly following others. Whenever a popular celebrity gets a tattoo, we get the same design. It's as if we are a bunch of sheep that are part of a herd. There is no uniqueness to us. 

That’s why you should get the black dragon tattoo. It will make you feel like you are above everybody else. Who knows, you may start a trend on your own. 


There are a lot of controversies and speculations regarding the Japanese dragon tattoos. You can easily get deceived by them. Therefore, to give you the most accurate information without a hinge of fabrication, we have compiled a list of questions and their answers. Enjoy. 

Q: Are Japanese Dragon Tattoos Lucky?

Ans: Yes, they are considered to be extremely lucky. About 6,000 years ago, the markings of these sacred beasts were believed to protect people from all the evil entities. Samurais often wore armors that have symbols of the Japanese dragon. They thought that during battle, these symbols would grant them strength to absolutely destroy the opponent. 

Q: What Anime Has A Japanese Dragon In Them? 

Ans: There are many anime that have a japanese dragon in them. Naming them all will take up a lot of space. Perhaps the most well known of them all is Shenron from Dragon Ball. Another renowned japanese dragon is Haku from the emotional anime titled “Spirited away”. 

Q: Are Japanese Dragon Tattoos Costly? 

Ans: They sure can be. It totally depends on how much texture you want to include. On average a Japanese dragon tattoo costs nearly 300 dollars. If you want to get a hyperrealistic one, the price will drastically rise up. 


Who doesn’t need a guardian by their side? We alone can be weak and vulnerable. People can take advantage of us easily. But when we have a protector by our side constantly giving us hope and strength, we can fight back against all odds. 

That's the main concept of the Japanese dragon tattoos. When you get the tattoo, you will not feel alone anymore. You will feel a presence of the mighty dragons protecting you from all your enemies. 

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.