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Japanese dragon tattoos are popular Japanese tattoo designs. You might also like Japanese phoenix, geisha and temple tattoos.
Japanese dragon tattoos come in various shapes, sizes, and designs. Each can represent something different depending on the wearer, but most symbolize wisdom and strength.
Often paired with the Japanese tiger, take this colorful and fierce guardian with you wherever you go by getting your own dragon tattoo. Check out some of our favorites for tattoo inspiration.
What does a Japanese Dragon Tattoo symbolize?
A japanese dragon tattoo is a beautiful and powerful symbol of good luck and fortune, strength, and good fortune. Dragons are fearsome creatures that represent power and strength, as well as wisdom. Because of this association with all things good, dragons are often depicted in japanese culture as being benevolent protectors and helpers.
In traditional stories from Japan, dragons were said to be wise creatures that lived deep beneath the sea or in caves on land. They were known for their incredible knowledge and ability to grant wishes to worthy humans who could find them. In some legends, dragons could even transform into humans themselves!
The dragon has long been a symbol of power in Asia—and it’s no wonder why! Dragons have been around since ancient times and they have appeared in many different forms throughout history: some have four legs while others have two; some resemble snakes while others are more like lizards; some breathe fire while others fly through the air on wings made out of clouds; some are large enough to swallow whole cities while others are small enough to fit inside your pocket!
Check Out These Fierce Japanese Dragon Tattoos
Bold Japanese Dragon on Shoulder
First, check out this intense shoulder and sleeve tattoo. It features a fierce and angry traditional Japanese dragon in full color. Incorporate the colors with the most symbolism for you, like red, green, and yellow.
Outline of Japanese Dragon
This tattoo features a more minimalist design. This Japanese dragon is showing a bold and strong expression that’s sure to ward off evil in your life. It’s a beautiful design that can work in many locations, like the thigh, torso, or chest.
Red Japanese Dragon
Red is bold, strong, and fierce. When you incorporate it into your traditional Japanese tattoo, you can play around with its symbolism. This unique design features a large red dragon that spans from the sleeve onto the shoulders and chest.
Colorful Japanese Dragon
Here’s another bright and bold Japanese dragon tattoo. This sleeve features a big green dragon that’s surrounded by clouds and other traditional Japanese tattoo imagery. Make sure to include the colors you love in this fun tattoo.
Angry Blue Japanese Dragon
If you’re a fan of colorful tattoos, this design is another great option for you. This angry blue dragon has a yellow underbelly, and it’s surrounded by colorful accents. It’s a great design for a full sleeve tattoo or a leg.
Full Leg Japanese Dragon Piece
This eye-catching leg tattoo is surely a work of art. It spans from the calf all the way to the glute to display a powerful Japanese dragon. The artist kept it simple with coloring by using red, black, and grey shading.
Minimal Japanese Dragon
Check out this simple Japanese dragon tattoo. It simply uses clean lines to create a fierce design of a dragon. With this tattoo on your upper arm, you can take on the strength and power of this fantastical creature.
Japanese Dragon on Thigh
Looking for inspiration for a bold thigh tattoo? This traditional Japanese dragon could be a great option. The black outline is bold and clean, which creates a beautiful design you’re surely going to be excited about showing off.
Cool-Toned Japanese Dragon
Here’s a simple dragon tattoo that features a pop of color. The cool teal Japanese dragon is surrounded by black and grey smoke, showing off the strength and ferocity of this mystical being. It makes for a great sleeve and chest piece.
Japanese Dragon across Back
If you’re in search of inspiration for a fierce back tattoo, check this one out. In this tattoo, a Japanese dragon flows along the shoulder blades. The design is accented with red highlights throughout the tattoo.
Japanese Dragon with Flowers
For a more feminine look, try pairing your Japanese dragon with soft floral imagery. This tattoo is bright and colorful. It builds a perfect balance between the soft flowers and the strong dragon.
Black and Grey Japanese Dragon
Consider this tattoo design if you’re not so much a fan of colorful pieces. This black and grey Japanese dragon tattoo makes use of intricate shading and bold lines. You can place this tattoo on your thigh, back, or torso.
Black Shaded Japanese Dragon
Here’s another black and grey traditional Japanese dragon tattoo. With its dynamic and curvy design, you can place this tattoo virtually anywhere on the body. You can also take it up a notch by adding some color to it.
Fierce Japanese Dragon Face
Show off your angry face with this intense Japanese dragon tattoo. It utilizes many different colors to create a bright and bold design. Wear this tattoo proudly on your forearm or higher up on your sleeve.
Black and Grey Japanese Dragon Chest Piece
If you’re looking for an intricately detailed chest piece, consider this tattoo. In this large masterpiece, a dragon travels from one arm to the other, across the chest. This black and grey design mixes in great imagery from traditional Japanese tattoos.
Small Black Japanese Dragon
To keep it simple, try this Japanese dragon tattoo. This black and grey tattoo uses simple shading to build depth. Combined with a bold outline, this small design works great as a sleeve or calf piece.
Japanese Dragon Sternum Tattoo
Check out this unique and sexy tattoo. In this sternum piece, a strong and fierce Japanese dragon is drawn with bold black lines and accented with red fire and floral imagery. This tattoo is definitely an attention-grabber.
Black Japanese Dragon across Chest
Here’s some more inspiration for an intense chest piece. This traditional Japanese dragon is drawn with black and grey shading. It’s got lots of movement that’s sure to make you feel confident, wise, and strong.
Bold Shaded Japanese Dragon Tattoo
This next tattoo design features an angry Japanese dragon. The black and grey shading makes this tattoo dark and mysterious, yet still powerful. Place this design on your thigh or torso for a great tattoo.
Small Japanese Dragon Hip Tattoo
Placing a tattoo on the high is like your little secret that you can reveal when you want to. When you put a traditional Japanese dragon tattoo here, it means you can take the power and force of this creature with your everywhere.
Black and Grey Japanese Dragon Torso Tattoo
For a large and bold tattoo design, check this one out. In this tattoo, a cold Japanese dragon is shaded with black and grey. Its eyes pierce into yours, and it almost seems to be making a humorous expression. The interpretation is yours when you get your own dragon tattoo.
Powerful Japanese Dragon on Ankle
If you just want a small and simple Japanese dragon tattoo, play around with its placement. This small design fits well on the ankle. Build a minimalist black and grey design, or turn it up with some bright and bold colors.
Bold Japanese Tattoo Sleeve
Here’s another intense and well-crafted sleeve tattoo design. This Japanese dragon is making a strong, fierce expression, and it’s surrounded by other Japanese imagery. Try creating your own design by adding flowers, Koi fish, and more.
Black and Grey Dragon Face Tattoo
Check out this unique dragon tattoo. It simply features the face of the dragon to create a small, yet impactful design. It’s a lot more toned-down than some other designs. This artist blended the tattoo masterfully with black, grey, and white.
Japanese Dragon Outline on Center Back
This tattoo includes a flying dragon that seems to be moving swiftly up the center of the back. It’s a simple black design that features clean lines and minimal shading. The symmetrical design looks great on the back or torso.
Large Japanese Dragon Leg Tattoo
Make a bold statement with a full leg tattoo. The traditional Japanese tattoo features and black and grey dragon traveling up the leg. You can also have this tattoo colored in. It’s a great tattoo to showcase your strength and wisdom.
Japanese Dragon on Shoulder
For a coy yet bold tattoo, check out this dragon tattoo on the shoulder. The artist drew this Japanese dragon with flowy movements. It works great on the shoulder, but you can also place this small tattoo on your thigh or torso.
Roaring Japanese Dragon on Back
This Japanese dragon is displaying its power with a fierce roar in this tattoo. It’s a large piece that will take up the majority of your back. Keep it simple with black and grey shading, or add a bunch of color to make this design pop.
Japanese Dragon and Kanji Back Tattoo
Here’s another great back piece. It’s a little more simple than some others on this list. A bold, red dragon silhouette is followed by Japanese kanji going down the back. Add your own message of faith and encouragement.
Colorful Japanese Dragon on Scalp
Check out this unique and bold scalp tattoo. In it, a bright green Japanese dragon explodes from the design. It’s wearing a fierce expression that shows power and determination. If a head tattoo isn’t your style, you can place a design like this on your shoulder or sleeve as well.
Japanese Dragon Tattoo Crawling up Leg
In this bold thigh tattoo, a traditional Japanese dragon travels up the leg. The artist used black and grey shading to keep this design simple while still making a strong impact. The dragon’s face is angry and fierce, helping you feel stronger.
Black Japanese Dragon Tattoo
For more inspiration for a back tattoo, consider this design. This black and grey shaded Japanese dragon flows down the spine. It creates a dramatic and bold work of art. It also leaves room for more tattoos on either shoulder to create balance.
Red Japanese Dragon Outline Tattoo
This dragon tattoo features clean, red lines. The Japanese dragon is angled on the shoulder and features design aspects that resemble fire. You can color this tattoo in or keep it minimal with just the outline.
Japanese Dragon Shoulder and Sleeve Tattoo
Here’s a great design idea for a connecting sleeve and chest piece. The Japanese dragon has taken a journey up the arm to stare boldly at any onlookers. This design features great colors like blue, red, and yellow to contrast the black and grey background.
Large Japanese Dragon Tattoo with Sword
Show off your warrior spirit with this large back tattoo. This design features an angry Japanese dragon that’s reaching for a long sword. It shows you’re ready to stand for what’s right and defend yourself with power.
Traditional Japanese Dragon Sleeve Tattoo
Check out this bold and colorful tattoo sleeve. It features a long and powerful Japanese dragon that’s surrounded by smoke clouds and flowers. It creates a balance between fierceness and softness.
Black and Grey Japanese Dragon Calf Tattoo
In this tattoo design, a traditional Japanese dragon is colored with black, grey, and white shading. It makes for a great calf tattoo design, but you can always adjust the size and shape to fit it on your sleeve, thigh, or back.
Teal Japanese Dragon Tattoo
This unique tattoo puts a modern twist on the traditional Japanese dragon tattoo. The artist used a cool teal to shade this dark and mysterious creature. The dragon was drawn in a defensive stance that’s ready to pounce or fight ferociously.
Japanese Dragon Face Makeup
If you aren’t ready for a fully permanent tattoo, you can try a more temporary design like this makeup look. It features a fierce dragon right on your face, sure to ward off enemies well.
Japanese Dragon Forearm Tattoo
Check out this intricate forearm tattoo. It features a bold and powerful Japanese dragon right in the center of the detailed design. Make sure to incorporate your own personal imagery to tell your story.
Take Strength and Power with You
When you get a traditional Japanese dragon tattoo, you’re sure to feel its strength and power inspire you as you go about your day. Explore tattoo ideas like these on our list so you can put together a great design that works for your next tattoo.
What is a Japanese Dragon called?
A Japanese dragon is often referred to as a “ryu” or “ryuu.” You might also hear it called a “tatsu.”
Each dragon has its own name, and each represents something different. Some are named after mythical creatures, while others are named after real animals.