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6 of the Best Traditional Japanese Tattoos in Melbourne and Their Meaning

Japanese tattoos are one of the most popular tattoo art styles, and that’s for a good reason. Every traditional Japanese tattoo has its meaning and purpose. That’s why it has appealed to so many people outside its own culture.

If you’re interested in traditional Japanese tattoo in Melbourne, it would be best to read this guide to know the different traditional Japanese tattoos and their meaning. After this, you will understand all the unique details of this tattoo and appreciate its purpose. After all, if you’re going to put something on your body that lasts forever, you should know the real meaning behind it.

traditional Japanese tattoo Melbourne

The Meaning of Traditional Japanese Tattoos

Tattoo themes and design elements often have a universal meaning. But if you are familiar or a fan of traditional Japanese tattoo, you can instantly recognise a tattoo’s meaning and what message the wearer wants to convey.

Traditional Japanese tattoos use recurring images and symbols to convey a specific meaning. The images used in these tattoo designs convey the Japanese’s beliefs, aspirations, or character traits. Below are some designs or elements present in Japanese tattoos:

  1. Eastern Dragons

    In the West, Dragons usually symbolise strength and viciousness. They are portrayed as destructive forces. However, in Japanese and Eastern cultures, dragons represent benevolence and wisdom. These positive connotations have led eastern dragon tattoos to become one of the most sought-after designs.

  2. Koi Fish

    Native to China, koi fish symbolises determination and desire for success. In traditional Japanese tattoos, this creature represents the struggles one has conquered in his life. However, it can also have a different meaning based on the colours and styles of the tattoo.

  3. Tengu

    Often coloured in red and black, Tengu tattoos usually feature humanoid variations of supernatural creatures with demonic features. These tattoo designs sometimes carry the meaning of war and destruction. They are usually placed somewhere visible, but some people have them inked on the back, upper thigh, or chest area.

  4. Foo Dog or Karajishi

    Have you seen a tattoo that’s a combination of a dog and a lion? That tattoo is inspired by the Foo Dog. It represents courage, bravery, protection, and loyalty, which are the most common characteristics of a dog and a lion. These tattoos can either be big or small, and they’re usually placed on the shoulder and arm area, particularly on the forearm, as well as the calf and thigh area.

  5. Snake

    The snake in Japanese tradition depicts rebirth, transformation, and change. It is also a known symbol for protection from illness, disaster, and bad fortune. Snake tattoos also signify wisdom and protection, particularly from the results of bad decisions. The snake can also embody regeneration and healing, as it was revered in oriental medicine.When it comes to tattoos, the colours of the snake influence their meaning. White-coloured snake tattoos are a sign of good luck. On the other hand, black or dead snakes are deemed to be abad omen.

  6. Kappa

    Most traditional Japanese tattoos in Melbourne stem from different kinds of mythological creatures, and the Kappa is no exception. The Kappa is a monstrous turtle described as trouble-makers and law-breakers. While this design element is popular, the reason behind it is sort of unclear. That’s why most people who have these tattooed on their bodies are foreigners who aren’t familiar with the Japanese culture.

    As for the design of a Kappa tattoo, its most notable feature is the water-filled cavity on the top of the turtle’s head and its distinctive greenish colour.

Colours In Traditional Japanese Tattoo: What Do They Mean?

When you make art, colours play an important role. They accentuate and highlight a story. In the traditional Japanese tattoo art scene, colours are one of the main highlights of the design. So, if you’re interested to learn about the meaning of colours, continue reading.


In western countries, white is a symbol of purity and peace. In Japan, it is a symbol of death. It usually carries a negative meaning in the tattoo. Interestingly, white can also mean a new start or beginning on various art styles and Japanese tattoo designs.


This is among the most essential colours for traditional Japanese tattoos. It depicts a lot of things, such as masculinity, fatherhood, mourning, and triumph. This colour is also often associated with the Japanese underground tattoo culture.


Red is a universal colour of joy and happiness. It also symbolises love, bravery, and power. While all these exude a positive message, the colour red can also mean battle, war, and destruction, especially when paired with black or dark hues.


When you see the colour blue, you immediately associate it with calmness. The same goes with traditional Japanese tattoos in Melbourne. More tattoo artists play with the colour blue to signify peace and serenity.


You can commonly see the colour yellow in Japanese tattoos and designs like the koi fish, dragons, or phoenix, and that’s for an obvious reason. Yellow represents strength, power, prosperity, wealth, good luck, and success in traditional Japanese tattooing.

The Bottomline

Some people want to steer clear of traditional Japanese tattoos for the fear that they may offend and disrespect the Japanese culture. Surprisingly, the Japanese are not easily offended when foreigners get inked with traditional Japanese art.

However, always do your research and understand the meaning of a particular tattoo design before you get inked. Remember, tattoos stay on your skin for a long time, so you want them to look good and reflect the real you.

For Quality Traditional Japanese Tattoos in Melbourne, Trust Designer Ink Tattoos!

Are you planning to have a tattoo that’s inspired by traditional Japanese art? Trying to add some works of art to your skin? Looking to make your tattoo visions come to life? Get ready and be inked at Designer Ink Tattoos.

As our name suggests, we design and ink tattoos just for you. We specialise in creating custom designs for clients all across Victoria. Other than Japanese tattoos, our artists are also skilled in designing art in various styles, including portraits, realism, black and grey, tribal, and more.

Our custom design tattoo studio in Melbourne is located in Wantirna South. To book your next session, please don’t hesitate to call us on 03 8806 4192. You can also complete our booking form on the website, and we will get in touch with you in no time.