Japanese Dragon Tattoo Meaning : 25+ Dragon Tattoo Designs & Their Meanings

female japanese dragon tattoo

Dragon: A Mythical Powerful Creature! From Disney Princess stories and movies to the world-famous ‘Game Of Thrones’ web series, Dragons are everywhere! Kids or adults, this mysterious creature fascinates people of all age groups. There are so many stories and myths about this legendary creature around the world. In one way or another, dragons are always perceived differently by different cultures. In this blog, we have listed best Japanese dragon tattoo meaning for you.

Do you also get fascinated by dragons? 

Whether you’re fascinated by the legendary stories or your culture holds importance for dragons, here’s a way to embrace it. Dragons Tattoos!

Fierce, strong, and mysterious are some of the words that come to your mind after reading the word ‘Dragon.’

These days, dragon tattoos are one of the most popular tattoo designs. Both men and women are getting these types of small and large tattoos on various body parts. They look extremely cool, and also they hold a significant meaning.

From China to Wales and Japan, many worshiped dragons and admired for their enormous strength, wisdom, and power. So if you like these qualities, dragon tattoos will be a great option for you.

Though many communities and cultures have a different significance about tattoos, Japanese tattoos are highly influenced by dragons! There are so many different types of dragons within Japanese mythology, and they all have different meanings.

So today, in this blog, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best Japanese dragon tattoo designs and ideas. Whether you’re fascinated by dragons or want to represent the importance of the dragon in your culture, you’ll find the best dragon design on the list. So keep reading.

First, let’s know the different types of dragons in Japanese culture.

Different Japanese Dragon Tattoos & Their Meaning

Japanese dragons are not only just a piece of art or gorgeous tattoo designs, but they considered ancient symbols and have various meanings.

So basically, there are six dragons in Japanese culture that are super important and hold great power. Here are their names and meanings:

  • Han-Riu: Has stripes all over its body, and is one of the biggest dragons with lengths up to forty feet.
  • Kai-Riu: A beautiful red-colored dragon
  • Sue-Riu: The king of all dragons, is in control of rain.
  • Ri-Riu: known to be a very rare breed and hard to find. It has amazing eyesight.
  • Hai-Riyo: known as a dragon bird and it is one of the most advanced forms of dragons.
  • Fuku Riu: known for good luck. It is the most favored dragon of all.

Do you know that various colors of dragons have different meanings? Yes, certain colors represent certain attributes like red dragon tattoo meaning is different from blue one. Here are some of the colors and their meaning:

  • Black: They’re linked with experience and wisdom.
  • Green: These dragons are small, and they represent nature, life, and earth.
  • Blue: Light blue dragons represent the vastness of the sky and flight. However, this color is associated with laziness, compassion, and forgiveness in the West.
  • Yellow: In the east, this color represents self-centered and helpful nature.
  • Gold: This color has great attributes and is often connected with wisdom, kindness, and helpfulness.

25+ Cool & Meaningful Japanese Dragon Tattoo Ideas

1. ‘Ryu’ Japanese Dragon Tattoo

‘Ryu’ Japanese Dragon Tattoo
Ryu Japanese Dragon Tattoo

One of the most recognizable dragons in Japanese iconography is Ryu. These dragons are symbols of profound blessing, wisdom, and strength. They’re also known for their power to manipulate the elements. Their body is also quite interesting as their head is usually that of a camel, with the neck and belly of a snake. Not only this, but they also have the scales of a koi fish, the horns of a stag, and the talons of a hawk, chicken, or eagle. This traditional Japanese dragon tattoo will be so much fun.

So, will you get a Ryu tattoo?

2. Japanese Dragon Back Tattoo

Japanese Dragon Back Tattoo
Japanese Dragon Back Tattoo for women

Back is one of the popular and perfect places to get dragon tattoos because it offers a big canvas. So, you can get inked as large as you want with all the small detailings. Back is the perfect place to show off the large body arts like Japanese dragon back tattoos, as it looks super cool and sexy.

Another great thing about these tattoos is that you can flaunt them whenever you want by wearing something backless, and when you want to hide them, just cover them with a shirt or top, and people will never get to know about your secret!

The only thing about back tattoos is that you won’t be able to look at your tattoo. For that, you have to take the help of mirrors.

3. Japanese Dragon Head Tattoo

Japanese Dragon Head Tattoo
Japanese Dragon hand Tattoo

If you’re inclined more towards the head of the dragon and looking for cool design ideas, take a glance at the above images. From dragon head screaming to breathing fire, you can get inked dragon heads in so many different ways.

These massive creatures look absolutely fierce and powerful, and these head tattoos will show their expression and character so well. From shoulders, hands, to chest, and even on your head, you can get inked on any body part.

4. Fire Flaming Dragon Tattoo

Fire Flaming Dragon Tattoo
Fire Flaming Dragon Tattoo idea

Do you want a tattoo design that catches all the attention? If yes, go with the flaming dragon tattoo design! Look at this fire-breathing dragon tattoo, isn’t it looking so powerful?

Here’s an interesting fact about dragons: they’re associated with fire and destruction in European culture!

Some of the best examples of this are the Smaug from The Hobbit and Drogon in Game Of Thrones. With this tattoo, you can feel the immense raw power and the unstoppable force of dragons and also show the world that you also have the same traits (in a positive way).

The tattoo artist will make the flames with various colors, and they’ll appear like popping out from the hand. Many artists also use various techniques to make the design look realistic.

5. Fantasy Japanese Dragon Tattoo Arm

Fantasy Japanese Dragon Tattoo Arm
Fantasy Japanese Dragon Tattoo Arm for women

If you want something magical and mysterious, get a dragon tattoo on your arm and shoulders. And we’re not talking about getting a regular dragon design; go with the design that collaborates with some fantasy. It can be your childhood dragon or your favorite character like Haku from the ‘Spirited Away’ animated Japanese movie and comic character Mushu from Disney’s Mulan.

This female Japanese dragon tattoo is a perfect idea for those who don’t like heavy-weight concepts or understand the depth of the meaning of a dragon in other cultures. Those people can go with these fun and creative imaginary designs and get inked Japanese dragon tattoo forearms or shoulders.

6. Colorful Dragon Tattoo

Colorful Dragon Tattoo for men
Colorful Dragon Tattoo

Colors have the ultimate power to make anything more fun and creative. So if you want to make your tattoo look more realistic, add some color. This will not only add some depth and character but also some more personality to the simple black dragon tattoo designs.

As we already mentioned in the blog, a different color of dragon gives a different message. So keep that in mind and go with the one that resonates with you the most.

7. Japanese Dragon Chest Tattoo

 Japanese Dragon Chest Tattoo
 Japanese Dragon Chest Tattoo for men

Another great location for large-scale dragon tattoos is the chest. Many men love to get dragon tattoos because they like to show off bold body art. Still, some guys are also interested to know about the various cultures associated with dragons. Some people love to learn, understand the meaning, get influenced by it, and decide to embrace it as a tattoo body art.

Japanese Dragon tattoos can be large or small, simple or detailed, black or colorful. You can also add other elements in your design like the combination of skull, tiger, or snake.

8. Small Japanese Dragon Tattoo Ideas

Small Japanese Dragon Tattoo Ideas

Don’t like big tattoo designs, especially these gigantic fierce dragon tattoos? No worries, you can get the small dragon tattoo which looks so cute and adorable. These tiny tattoos are perfect for hands, wrists, ankles, and neck.

You can either get a small one or a bunch of small dragon tattoos combined with a single design. Both ways, you’ll get cool and interesting body art. Perfect idea for those who can’t tolerate pain, or it’s their first tattoo. Also, you can wear them to your workplace without catching too much attention. So don’t think much and get this  Japanese dragon tattoo small version.

9. Dragon Yin-Yang Japanese Tattoo

Dragon Yin-Yang Japanese Tattoo
Dragon Yin-Yang Japanese Tattoo on hand

Yin yang and dragon are two spiritual symbols, and both represent balance and flow of life energy. Yin energy associated with passive, feminine and cold. At the same time, the yang is active, masculine, and associated with heat. On the other hand, dragons are mythological creatures that represent the forces of nature.

So combine these two designs and create something unique and different. From the shoulder, arm to hand, and legs, you can get inked these yin yang dragon tattoos on any body part.

10. Japanese Dragon Tattoo on Leg

Japanese Dragon Tattoo on Leg
Japanese Dragon Tattoo on leg for men and women both

Enhance the shape and overall appearance of your leg with these muscular and sinewy dragon tattoos. Just like the full sleeve tattoo, you can cover your entire leg with these reptilian tattoo designs. Take inspiration from the above pictures. Pin them or save them and show them to the tattoo artist in your tattoo appointment.

11. Japanese Dragon Eye Tattoo

Japanese Dragon Eye Tattoo
Japanese Dragon Eye Tattoo for men

Fierce and striking! We’re talking about the gorgeous eyes of the dragon! Just one eye to eye contact with the dragon, you will either fall in love with the dragon or will get scared as hell.

If you want to either gain lots of attention or want to scare people with the angry look of the dragon, you should get this dragon eye tattoo. Hand or forearm will be the best place to get this tattoo idea because whenever you want to show it, just roll up your sleeves.

These types of body art should look realistic, so it’s better to get it from an artist who is skilled and expert in these kinds of designs. Go with either a photorealistic style or a more fantastical or comic-inspired look. We’re pretty sure that your dragon eye tattoo will stand out from the crowd.


If this is your first time getting a tattoo, it’s important to get it from an authentic tattoo artist in a hygienic studio. Tattoos can be extremely painful (depends on the spot) and can cause skin infection if wrongly done.

A tattoo of a dragon on the arm

Here are some more Japanese Dragon Tattoo ideas and designs for you to get some inspiration:

A woman with a dragon tattoo on her arm
A woman with a dragon tattoo on her thighs
A woman with a dragon tattoo on her shoulder
A woman with a dragon tattoo under her breast
A woman with a tattoo on her leg
A woman with a Black dragon tattoo on her thigh
a female with japanese tattoo
A man with  japanese dragon tattoo on his ches
A black and white  tattoo of a dragon
A woman with Japanese dragon tattoos her back
dragon tattoos ideas for men
dragon tattoos ideas for back
female japanese dragon tattoo ideas
female japanese dragon tattoo on back side of body

It’s Tattoo Time!

So which Japanese Dragon Tattoo do you like the most? No matter which part of the world you live in, you’ll surely have read or heard some myths and stories about dragons (it can be either positive or negative). Dragons are symbols of victory and power, and they’re admired for their bravery, strength, wisdom, and power.

Japanese Dragon tattoos have both great design and deep meaning, so if you’re looking for a tattoo idea with these things, a Japanese dragon tattoo will be the best idea for you. As we said before, tattoos are very personal, so always select the one that represents your struggle or success.

So, this is all about Japanese dragon tattoos for men and women. I hope this blog has helped you to get in-depth information about the Japanese dragon and its meaning. Now you know which tattoo design you exactly want to get.

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