Japanese tattoos are among the most recognizable tattoos in the world and they’re incredibly popular. Distinct imagery with a blend of detailed lined work and cultural significance is the main characteristic of Japanese tattoos.
Colorful is one way to describe this type of ink. While it’s possible to come across black and grey designs, Japanese tattoos tend to be bold and feature colors such as white, red, blue, green, purple, pink, and yellow. Combining several contrasting colors makes Japanese tattoos pop.
When colors come to mind we usually think of flowers first. They come in all shapes, sizes, colors, shades, and hues. Flowers also happen to be a popular tattoo choice for men and women alike. So whether you want a tattoo specific to Japan or any other flower in Japanese tattoo style this guide will help you out.
50+ Best Japanese Flower Tattoo Design Ideas
Scroll down to see some of the most amazing Japanese flower tattoo ideas and the meanings behind them.
DID YOU KNOW?
Irezumi is the word used to refer to the specific Japanese tattoo style. However, irezumi is just a Japanese word for a tattoo in general. The rest of the world uses irezumi term to describe a specific Japanese style or any other style originating in the Land of the Rising Sun.
1. Japanese peony tattoo
Since we’re talking about Japanese flower tattoos it only seems appropriate to start it off with the King of Flowers – the peony. Called botan in Japanese, peony is one of the oldest used flowers in Eastern culture. These beautiful flowers often symbolize daring or masculine personality or Yang energy in Japanese artwork.
Peony, like many other floral designs, has multiple meanings in tattoo art. For example, the traditional peony flower tattoo meaning is wealth and richness, but it also symbolizes love, glory, honor, and luck.
Besides peonies alone, tattoos may also feature dragons, demons, and tigers. The combination of peonies with these “wilder” images represents the balance between beauty and power. Moreover, peonies are often tattooed with lions. In this combination, peonies represent peace and lions’ protection.
While peonies symbolize masculine personality they’re not reserved for men only. Women can rock them too. In fact, a women’s peony tattoo may stand for power over a man and feminine beauty. The theory is that a peony tattoo gives a girl unique and powerful energy that no man can resist.
Peonies correspond to luxury and wellbeing. Whether you are motivated by these ideas or you’ve already achieved them, a Japanese peony tattoo is a good choice.
2. Japanese sakura tattoo
Cherry blossoms, also called sakura, are the symbol of spring. Spring is the season of rebirth, renewal, and awakening of Mother Nature. For that reason, sakura represents optimism and a new beginning.
Sakura tattoo acts as a metaphor for the transience of life because their full bloom is very short. Cherry blossoms don’t live very long. While cherry trees flower for about two weeks in ideal conditions, the perfect time to see the blossoms in all their glory lasts four to seven days.
Tattoos featuring cherry blossoms have also been used to represent a warrior killed early in life. Some may opt for a sakura tattoo to symbolize life after illness while others get cherry blossoms to pay tribute to lost love. Sakura is also a symbol of grace and femininity thanks to its delicate look.
Japanese cherry blossom tattoos vary in size from smaller to large ink. They’re often combined with other flowers and images such as dragons. Sakuras work well on demure, but also more elaborate designs including sleeve tattoos in Japanese style.
3. Japanese lotus tattoo
Lotus flower, or hasunohana in Japanese, is one of the most beloved flowers in Eastern cultures. In Japan, the lotus flower is admired for its amazing ability to rise from murky or dirty waters and bloom in such breathtaking beauty.
The process of rising from dirt and achieve this level of beauty represents attaining enlightenment. Lotus stands for purity, rebirth, and self-regeneration. So, a tattoo featuring this lovely flower retains these meanings too.
Whether you’ve started a new chapter in your life or want a little bit of motivation to push you through challenging times, a lotus flower tattoo is a good choice. In Japanese style, the lotus tattoo shines and it’s all thanks to amazing detailed work.
Your lotus tattoo can represent faith, truth, spiritual awakening, and harmony.
More specific meaning depends on the color. For example, white and pink lotus flower tattoos depict purity. The black lotus tattoo symbolizes authority, death, or power. A green lotus tattoo means self-improvement. Purple, red, or blue lotus tattoos represent rebirth, ascension, and spiritual enlightenment.
Lotus flowers are usually included in tattoos with water themes and they make a good match with koi fish. The symbolism of koi fish tattoos revolves around strength, determination, and desire to succeed. When you combine meanings of lotus flower and koi fish tattoos you realize why they’re a perfect match.
Of course, lotus flowers alone look equally beautiful. Edgy and adventurous persons may opt for elaborate designs and sleeve tattoos featuring lotus flowers.
4. Japanese chrysanthemum tattoo
Called kiku in Japan, the chrysanthemum is one of the national symbols of Japan. This beautiful flower symbolizes longevity, rejuvenation, and nobility. Since it’s linked to royalty and perfection, chrysanthemum depicts honor, but it can also stand for joy and happiness.
The Japanese chrysanthemum tattoo symbolizes resoluteness and persistence. Some people may opt to get a tattoo of this flower to represent pleasure, openness, and even friendship.
In many cases, the chrysanthemum is depicted with numerous curved petals radiating to the top from the center.
Like many other flower tattoos, the more specific meaning depends on the color you choose. So, a red or pink chrysanthemum may stand for love and passion while yellow often represents sorrow. White chrysanthemum tattoo depicts truth and loyalty while turquoise or green flowers are symbols of vitality, youth, and ambition.
Chrysanthemum flower tattoos in Japanese style are usually large and often combined with other imagery such as snails, snakes, daggers, among other things. When wrapped by a snake the chrysanthemum protects against difficulties and diseases to bring wellness to the wearer.
5. Japanese rose tattoo
While not specifically related to Japan, you can see roses in many flower gardens there. Plus, if you love roses you can always get them tattooed on your body in Japanese style. These flowers represent love, romance, and passion. This is especially the case with red roses.
However, secrecy and confidentiality are also meanings of rose flowers, particularly purple roses. White roses represent purity, youth, and innocence. Yellow roses depict joy and warmth while orange roses stand for passion and affection.
The tattoo of a rose represents all these meanings and it can also depict hope, paying tribute to a loved one you lost, and new beginnings.
Roses look equally great in small and large designs. Besides a single rose, you may opt to add other imagery such as a snake, koi fish, dagger, dragon, options are numerous.
6. Japanese flower arm sleeve tattoo
Sleeve tattoos are a popular choice for many, especially among edgy and adventurous persons who love tattoos and want to show them off. What makes these tattoos special is that we can easily consider them as collaborations between tattoo artists and their clients.
You see, sleeve tattoos are unique. They are expressions of a person’s take on life, their thoughts, emotions, goals, feelings about something, and so much more. Sleeve tattoos allow us to express ourselves and that’s why people love them.
Sometimes everything starts with a small tattoo. Then, a person goes for another one and then the other. It doesn’t take long for those small tattoos to form a marvelous combination only a sleeve can represent.
And in other instances, a person specifically wants a sleeve tattoo that tells a certain story. For that purpose they choose symbols that complement or contradict one another, depending on the story they want to tell.
Flowers are a popular choice for Japanese sleeve tattoos as they’re easy to combine with other symbols and imagery.
A sleeve tattoo on its own stands for patience and power. It shows a person is able to endure physical pain, but this translates to remarkable strength to overcome any challenge you come across.
Rather than narrowing your sight to just one illustration, you can go for bold, outrageous, and elaborate designs. All this looks even better with a Japanese sleeve tattoo because it focuses on using every inch of your skin with little to no “blank” area.
Explore your creativity and imagination. Find a talented tattoo artist who will turn your ideas into a proper work of art.
7. Japanese flower leg sleeve tattoo
While a term sleeve tattoo refers to a large tattoo, or a series of tattoos, covering a person’s limb it’s useful to discuss ink on arms and legs separately. Leg sleeve is a type of design that covers your skin from ankle to thigh.
But, if you don’t want such a huge tattoo on your leg half-sleeve is a good choice. In this case, the tattoo covers skin from ankle to knee.
A leg sleeve tattoo is ideal for a person who stands their ground and doesn’t care what other people think. If you go by the beat of your own drum leg sleeve is ideal for you. While different tattoo styles are out there, Japanese tattoos look exceptionally breathtaking when you opt for a sleeve. That’s when tattoo artist gets to shine and give you amazing tattoo.
The leg is a large area so a tattoo artist can easily focus even on the tiniest details and make your tattoo dream into reality. Just like with arm sleeve tattoos, you can incorporate flowers into Japanese leg-sleeve tattoos easily.
With a beautifully done tattoo, you can expect a confidence boost and everyone will admire the work of art on your leg. The beauty of flowers in irezumi is truly out of this world. If you don’t want a colorful tattoo you can always opt for black and grey.
8. Japanese flower tattoo on back
Full back tattoos allow for elaborate designs since this is a relatively long and wide area. Japanese tattoos look their best in larger designs so your floral ink is bound to match any kind of imagery you want.
You can combine flowers with dragons, snakes, tigers, or pretty much anything you can imagine. What makes Japanese flower tattoos on the back a great choice is that they give you the best of both worlds. You can rock a Japanese tattoo with your favorite design on your back and have it in an elaborate way. But at the same time, you can cover it up with clothes.
If tattoos are frowned upon at your workplace, but you still want them, then back is the best choice. Nobody will know unless you reveal it of course.
9. Japanese dragon and flower tattoo
Dragon has been a part of Japanese cultural mythology for centuries. The colorful dragon symbolizes freedom as well as balance and good luck. Let’s not forget dragons are known for their supernatural powers, remarkable strength, and captivating appearance. Dragons are also associated with wisdom.
In Japanese culture, dragons are protectors and benefactors of mankind.
It’s not uncommon for people to go for a dragon tattoo to represent a balance in their lives. A tattoo of a dragon symbolizes wisdom, bravery, and strength.
Dragon also happens to be one of the most common designs used in combination with flowers. When these two images stand together, dragon and flower, they represent both power and vulnerability. That’s the balance we’re talking about but also shows how seemingly opposite meanings of certain symbols create a marvelous story.
Just like with flowers, the more specific meaning of a dragon tattoo depends on the color you choose. So, if you want to portray experience and wisdom you’ll need to opt for a black dragon. On the other hand, green dragons symbolize nature while blue dragons are forgiving, benevolent, and gentle. The gold dragon stands for value and various virtues and the yellow dragon represents a noble companion.
Keep in mind Japanese dragons are not to be confused with Chinese dragons. They have a lot of similarities because Japanese dragon mythology appears to have originated from the Chinese. However, Japan is an island and for that reason, Japanese dragons are almost always represented as sea serpents. It’s very rare to come across a Japanese dragon tattoo that depicts the wonderful beast in flight.
10. Small Japanese flower tattoo
While Japanese tattoos are usually larger to fully showcase their elaborate design, you can opt for smaller ink. Japanese flowers in smaller sizes have a unique charm. These tattoos are the best for people who love more demure ink they can easily cover up when necessary.
Probably the most convenient thing about small tattoos is that you can place them anywhere you want. Arm, leg, neck, ribcage, shoulder, options are numerous. Besides colorful ink, you can opt for a black and grey design and your Japanese tattoo will still look absolutely perfect.
Small tattoos require exceptional skills and expertise, so make sure to find a talented tattoo artist.
11. Black/grey Japanese flower tattoo
Japanese tattoo styles revolve around the use of bold colors that bring any design to life. But, some people aren’t fans of colorful tattoos. That’s not a reason to miss out on having a flower tattooed in Japanese style.
Black and grey tattoos are also an option. The flower you choose becomes an eye-catching piece of art with the use of extensive shading and outstanding detail work that creates unique contrast.
The biggest advantage of a black tattoo is that it shows up strongly on all skin tones so it’s a good choice for practically everyone. It’s also useful to mention black tattoos happen to be faster and more affordable. Plus, they last longer without significant fading.
So if you’re the type of person who likes to make convenient and practical decisions then a Japanese flower tattoo done in black or grey is a good choice.
Black flower tattoos are sometimes tied to death and mourning, but symbolism doesn’t have to be negative. For instance, you can opt for a black Japanese flower tattoo to represent a major change, starting a new chapter in your life, or the beginning of new things.
At the end of the day, while every image has its symbolism, we opt for designs that speak to us. Your black flower tattoo can represent anything you want or how you feel.