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93 Unique Japanese Dragon Tattoos For Inspiration

by Sherri Owens

When it comes to bold, beautiful, and unique tattoos, Japanese dragon tattoos take the crown.

I've done tons of Japanese dragon tattoos and the most requested are the black, fierce dragon tattoos which represent wisdom, passion, fearlessness, and rage.

If you want to express your strong personality, no tattoo design beats the red ink Japanese tattoos in my opinion. It represents dragons with magical powers, passion, strength, and love.

There are many options to choose from when it comes to Japanese dragon tattoos. If you want to represent your love of Japanese culture and dragons in the most stunning way, here are 93 images for inspiration.

Japanese dragon tattoos for inspiration

Back Japanese Dragon Tattoos

There is no better part of your body to showcase the images of these mythical creatures than on your back. It has plenty of space to enable you to display your fierce dragon in all its glory.

full back japanese dragon tattoo

Image by @josh_jc_charlton via Instagram

This Chinese dragons tattoo depicts the creatures' ruthless nature. This image shows a dragon ready to attack with its claws and tail in full swing.

You can get this if you want to express your no-nonsense personality.

traditional japanese tattoo

Image by @inkuisition.osnabrueck via Instagram

This back tattoo is that of a wild dragon. The back is almost completely covered by the angry-looking head of the large dragon. The hyper-realistic tattoo is fierce enough to give someone the chills.

wild dragon tattoo

Image by @circletattoostudio via Instagram

This astonishing Japanese tattoo resembles a depiction of a koi fish as it flies up to to the moon. I love how subtle the back tattoo is since I'm not a big fan of full-back tattoos.

koi fish dragon tattoo

Image by @scottashmoretattoo via Instagram

Pink Flames.

dragon tattoo with pink flames

Image by @saseultattooer via Instagram

This slender back tattoo looks pretty and feminine.

artistic feminine dragon back tattoo

Image by @heroine_tattoo via Instagram

This is a great option if you want to feel strong and need a cool design.

cool dragon back tattoo design

Image by @ricardogoncalves_pt via Instagram

A subtle Japanese dragon tattoo with lizard-like legs.

subtle Japanese dragon tattoo

Image by @alchutattoos via Instagram

Need a pretty Japanese dragon tattoo? This would be perfect for your next tattoo art.

pretty Japanese dragon tattoo

Image by @jvektattoo via Instagram

This scary dragon looks like something straight out of Chinese mythology.

complex scary dragon tattoo

Image by @blackforesttattooparlour via Instagram

The imagery of this red Japanese dragon tattoo is amazing.

red japanese dragon tattoo

Image by @saseultattooer via Instagram

I adore the style of this simple grey Japanese dragon tattoo. The dragon looks just about ready to strike.

simple grey Japanese dragon tattoo

Image by @vino.de.luna via Instagram

This dark tattoo is highly detailed and looks like it took a long time to complete.

detailed dark dragon tattoo

Image by @strokertattoo via Instagram

The powerful creature is depicted here with bold linework. The colors used are a great choice.

full back dragon tattoo work in progress

Image by @ubik_tattoo via Instagram

Two Japanese dragons usually depict yin and yang. However, this is a great way to represent Japanese mythology.

full back tattoo with Two Japanese dragons

Image by @manuelita.tattoo via Instagram

Red Japanese dragons are magical and fierce, just like this stunning dragon tattoo.

red majestic dragon tattoo

Image by @tattoosbykelsi via Instagram

This torso dragon tattoo feels serene and calm with the inclusion of flowers.

torso dragon tattoo

Image by @nevadatattoostudio via Instagram

Sleeve Tattoo

Linework tattoos have a way of looking stunning and classy due to their clean lines and lack of complexity. This is done with black ink. I haven't seen anything this pretty in a while.

Linework tattoo on the sleeve

Image by @worleysart via Instagram

This sleeve tattoo is absolutely stunning. The sleeve is completely covered by mostly black ink with some red, signifying the belly of the dragon. The dragon has horns that remind me of the dragon from dragon ball.

full sleeve coloured dragon tattoo

Image by @isaacnichols via Instagram

If you don't want to cover your entire sleeve with tattoos, this pretty Japanese dragon tattoo is the one for you. I love the clear lines and the red and blue colors of the two dragons.

creative dragon tattoo with red and blue colours

Image by @standforsea.kohaku via Instagram

The large horns on this beast make it look ruthless. The dragon's head covers the entire upper arm, with bold lines.

black full sleeve japanese dragon tattoo

Image by @jamisthilaire via Instagram

Bold Linework Dragon Tattoo

Bold Linework Dragon Tattoo

Image by @neotokyo_edinburgh via Instagram

Blue Dragon Tattoo

Blue Dragon Tattoo

Image by @mon_mondaytattoo via Instagram

Red Ink Japanese Dragon Tattoo

Red Ink Japanese Dragon Tattoo

Image by @elegantgoattattoogallery via Instagram

The fantastic Japanese dragon tattoo depicts a dragon with a ball in its mouth which makes me think it’s inspired by dragon ball.

Tran Dynasty dragon tattoo

Image by @alchutattoos via Instagram

I would love to know the story behind the symbolism of the colors on this wise-looking Japanese dragon tattoo.

wise-looking Japanese dragon tattoo

Image by @fingerset via Instagram

The concept of balance between the linework and bold markings in this Japanese dragon tattoo makes it stand out.

complex black and grey japanese dragon tattoo

Image by @kaede_tattoo via Instagram

The Ryu is captured in great detail in this perfectly-done Japanese dragon tattoo.

Japanese Dragon Sleeve tattoo with a splash of colour

Image by @budtat2 via Instagram

Half sleeve getting pretty by the minute.

half sleeve dragon tattoo in progress

Image by @chris_brooks_tattoos via Instagram

The samurai action and colorful nature of this Japanese dragon tattoo are unique and creative.

samurai dragon tattoo in vibrant colours

Image by @evergreenstudiocoventry via Instagram

With lethal eyes, this traditional Japanese dragon tattoo shines in a dark and powerful way.

dark traditional Japanese dragon tattoo

Image by @flashbacktattoo.horigin via Instagram

One look at this Japanese dragon and you know it's got magical powers with how bright the red is.

red magical dragon tattoo

Image by @louwintertattoo via Instagram

Many different colors are used to create the elements of this fantastic Japanese dragon.

full sleeve traditional dragon tattoo

Image by @fernandoesnaola via Instagram

Despite not having shading, this Japanese dragon piece is spectacular with its bold lines and a hint of wings.

non shaded full sleeve dragon tattoo

Image by @jayngtattoos via Instagram

This furious Japanese dragon tattoo is capable of giving me the creeps. The concept used in creating this quality tattoo is awesome.

fierce japanese dragon tattoo

Image by @petev.art via Instagram

I love how this Ryu looks like it's falling from the sky like a universal guardian.

colourful dragon tattoo

Image by @bostonrogoztattoo via Instagram

The Japanese dragon tattoo uses a different twist here with the addition of a hannya skull.

complex dragon tattoo with shading

Image by @tina_omkarablossom via Instagram

Chest / Shoulder Dragon Tattoos

Shoulder and chest tattoos usually follow a similar pattern. The Japanese dragon's head is drawn over the individual's chest or heart since that is the most intricate part of the dragon design while the horns are drawn on the shoulder. The dragon's body and tail form swirl around the individual sleeve to complete the image.

Traditional Japanese dragon tattoo with linework:

half done dragon tattoo on the shoulder

Image by @strokerchi via Instagram

This small Japanese dragon tattoo is perfect as the dragon in a dragon and tiger tattoo.

small dragon shoulder tattoo

Image by @bluestagtattoo via Instagram

The artist went all out to add meaning to this small Japanese dragon tattoo. The dragon here is said to be a representation of good fortune.

dragon tattoo with bold lines

Image by @nawojkatattoo via Instagram

Very colorful traditional Japanese dragon tattoo.

coloured dragon tattoo on the chest and shoulder

Image by @skullman_tattoo via Instagram

You can end your search for a fierce-looking Japanese dragon because this dragon head tattoo takes the crown.

bold and bright dragon tattoo

Image by @ojosrojos.tattoo via Instagram

This fantastic Japanese dragon tattoo would look great if you're a fighter or boxer due to the symbology.

dragon tattoo with a bit of colour

Image by @saseultattooer via Instagram

As part of Japanese mythology, this furious Japanese dragon tattoo is sure to represent you as a strong-minded individual.

detailed japanese dragon tattoo on the chest

Image by @industrialsting via Instagram

There are different meanings behind every Japanese dragon tattoo. If you want to get tattoo art that represents passion, then you should get this done.

japanese dragon tattoo in progress

Image by @goro_irezumi via Instagram

The color of this Japanese dragon tattoo is a nice contrast to the skin tone.

japanese drago tattoo in colour

Image by @horisu.hakutaku via Instagram

Blue demonic dragon on the chest.

Blue demonic dragon tattoo on the chest

Image by @pecadorxtattooer via Instagram

The way this dragon tattoo is depicted is absolutely stunning. Colors have a way of bringing out the traits of these mystical creatures.

oriental japanese dragon tattoo

Image by @alvinscene via Instagram

Dragon tattoo with clouds around it.

Dragon tattoo with clouds around it

Image by @nickdrichard via Instagram

Bold colors used here represent the dragon's strength. The flowers added are a symbol of good fortune.

dragon tattoo with bold colours and flowers

Image by @tato_irezumi via Instagram

Legends hold that red-eyed dragons are ruthless in their dealings.

red-eyed dragon tattoo in progress

Image by @macleanmurray via Instagram

Thigh Dragon Tattoos

A traditional Japanese dragon ready to take on the world. I love the Ryu and its gold, green and red color.

large coloful dragon tattoo on the thigh

Image by @holycitytattooingcollective via Instagram

The dotwork and abstract representation of this traditional Japanese dragon tattoo are done by a skilled artist.

thigh dragon tattoo

Image by @horikitattoos via Instagram

One look at this beautiful beast and it makes you think of a China Ryu, which it is.

black line work dragon tattoo

Image by @nhong_niramit via Instagram

The balance between shading and lines on this Japanese dragon's design is spectacular.

dark dragon tattoo with thick lines and shading

Image by @patrisha_ink via Instagram

This Ryu looks like it commands respect. It is unique and is sure to make you stand out in a crowd.

colourful dragon tattoo

Image by @nicoleellisse via Instagram

A Japanese dragon is paired with a flower to create this femme Japanese dragon tattoo design.

japanese dragon tattoo with flowers

Image by @songhurst_art via Instagram

Wrap dragons are trendy and classy. This small Japanese dragon is done to wrap the thigh.

small coloured dragon tattoo

Image by @jodie.tattoo via Instagram

Japanese dragon and koi piece; absolutely astonishing.

detailed dragon tattoo on the thigh

Image by @horikitattoos via Instagram

Don't you love how mysterious a samurai and Japanese dragon looks when paired?

dragon thigh tattoo in black

Image by @sean_mc_cay_tattoos via Instagram

Calf Japanese Dragon Tattoos

The skull in this tattoo design gives me chills. The dragon's face looks ruthless as it steps on the skull with its clawed foot. Dragon mythology lovers know that a dragon turns red hot when it is about to release its flames. This tattoo design is worn by a kickboxer and will bring out their fury during a match.

artistic dragon calf tattoo

Image by @electricdreamscollective via Instagram

Who knew Japanese dragon images could look cute? Well, this does. The characteristics of the dragon are drawn perfectly.

cute dragon tattoo

Image by @colada_ink via Instagram

Traditional Koi fish calf tattoo with flawless imagery.

japanese dragon art tattoo

Image by @estudio184 via Instagram

Never seen a more perfect Japanese dragon tattoo of Shenron from dragon ball.

Shenron from dragon ball tattoo

Image by @leslanternesardentestattooshop via Instagram

Linework Traditional Japanese dragon images on humans always look beautiful, like this right here.

line work dragon tattoo on the calf

Image by @ravi_tattoo_kandy via Instagram

Green Ryu head at the center of the calf. Creative and detailed.

green dragon head tattoo

Image by @deannewmantattoos via Instagram

Japanese dragon with its master. This image looks like it was done by an expert artist.

Japanese dragon with its master tattoo

Image by @nataliagiavedoni via Instagram

This Ryu looks like one that has no mercy. Its rage is represented by the skull it appears to be crushing.

fierce dragon tattoo in black

Image by @electricdreamscollective via Instagram

Traditional China Ryu images stand for strength. The Chinese dragon tattoo is sure to drag attention.

chinese culture dragon tattoo

Image by @yra.tattoo via Instagram

If you want a subtle Japanese dragon tattoo design, this will do.

subtle japanese dragon tattoo design

Image by @artemstudios_tattoo via Instagram

This ascending large dragon piece looks strong and magical.

dark japanese dragon tattoo on the leg

Image by @codyctattoo via Instagram

Arm Tattoos

This tattoo depicts an angry dragon that is ready to give it all up in battle.

iron hand dragon tattoo

Image by @kevinborowskitattooer via Instagram

This rising dragon tattoo wraps around the arm in a delightful way.

rising dragon tattoo

Image by @saseultattooer via Instagram

Dragon with red fire is a great way to show in a low-key manner your fire personality.

simple dragon with red fire tattoo

Image by @saseultattooer via Instagram

This back bicep Japanese dragon tattoo has a charming color.

bicep tattoo with a colourful dragon

Image by @phillyeddiestattoo via Instagram

The background of this tattoo makes the design look like something straight out of a legendary tale.

first session of a black and grey dragon tattoo

Image by @jackpot_ink_tattoo via Instagram

A lovely dragon tattoo to show your calm and powerful personality.

calm dragon tattoo

Image by @jay.nolwen via Instagram

With the large size of this color bomb dragon, you are sure to find people staring at the appealing image.

colour bomb dragon tattoo

Image by @gazztattoos via Instagram

Forearm Tattoos

I love how this tattoo artist created this amazing tattoo with fine simple lines giving the design a classy appearance.

double dragon tattoo

Image by @resurrectedlord via Instagram

This awesome tattoo incorporates realism into the intricate work of art. The artist uses perfect colors to bring this to life. You can get this if you want to express your fiery personality.

vibrant dragon tattoo design

Image by @adrianmontanatattoo via Instagram

Most tattoos of dragons usually fill a large space, but this is different. The tattoo has a nice and subtle blend of green and black ink to create a small magical piece like the dragon in 'Raya and the last dragon'.

custom dragon tattoo

Image by @_sandralintattoos via Instagram

Japanese band dragon tattoo on forearm.

Japanese band dragon tattoo on forearm

Image by @amijok via Instagram

The hot red of this dragon's tattoo is daring and liberating.

black and red japanese dragon tattoo

Image by @monti_tattooist via Instagram

Simple and subtle, just how I like it.

dragon tattoo with shading

Image by @art.tepm via Instagram

The eyes of this traditional Japanese dragon look realistic. I will get this as a leg tattoo.

forearm japanese dragon tattoo

Image by @luckyphil2020 via Instagram

This is a charming grey dragon tattoo that would also look nice on the arms of the wearer.

charming grey dragon tattoo

Image by @estudio184 via Instagram

Hearts and dragons, who would've thought they'd look this good together?

heart and dragon tattoo

Image by @artomatic_tattoo via Instagram

If you need realistic dragon tattoos, here you go.

realistic dragon tattoo

Image by @cjaytattoos7upata via Instagram

The folds and complexity of this dragon tattoo can only be done by an expert artist.

complex dragon tattoo

Image by @tatuchampp via Instagram

Dragon and tiger tattoo. A touch of yellow will surely make yours look extraordinary.

Dragon and tiger tattoo

Image by @everestink via Instagram

With feet like those of lizards, this dragon tattoo might look subtle but it is just as deadly.

black and grey dragon tattoo

Image by @burgosink via Instagram

Hand Japanese Dragon Tattoo

This hand dragon is lovely. It will also look nice as a leg tattoo.

Hand Japanese Dragon Tattoo

Image by @illustratedmantattoo via Instagram

More About Japanese Dragon Tattoos

What Does a Dragon Tattoo Symbolize?

A Japanese dragon tattoo is a symbol of strength, power, fearlessness, and confidence.

What Are Japanese Dragon Tattoos Called?

The Japanese dragon tattoo is called Ryu in Japan.

What Do Dragons Symbolize In Japan?

According to mythology, Japanese dragons were a symbol of water in Japan, unlike the western representation of dragons that associates them with fire.

What Animals Form the Mystical Creatures?

The mythical creatures are made of 9 parts of different animals. Its 2 horns are from the deer, its head is from a camel, its eyes are from an evil demon known as oni, scales from koi, paws from a tiger, talons from a hawk, the body of snakes, ear from a cow and belly like Mizuchi (Mizuchi is an imaginary animal, a snake with legs).

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