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Best Japanese Tattoo Artist 2021

Looking for the best Japanese tattoo artist? Well, check out this list of top tattoo artists and tattoo studios in Japan. Read further to know more about it. 

The art of Japanese tattooing or irezumi is believed to date back to the Jomon Period (10,000 BC – 300 BC). Some historians have also reported that Samurais were tattooed during the 16th century as a form of identification. This was done to identify them after dying in battle since bodies were often looted. 

The Ainu tribe are known for tattooing as a part of the tribe’s traditions. The Japanese government tried very hard to make these tattoos illegal in 1799 but failed. However, in the early 1870s, stringent laws were passed and tattoos were banned in Japan until the late 1940s. 

Which is the best Japanese tattoo artist? 

Choschu Horikazu is the best Japanese tattoo artist who first drawn to tattoos when he saw a tattoo magazine featuring the work of Horiyoshi III. Horiyoshi III is somewhat of a Japanese tattoo guru. Chosh drew inspiration from these kinds of magazines for his drawings. He doesn’t come from a tattooing family nor does he have experience as an apprentice. 

Even though tattoos are not banned in Japan, there is still a certain stigma attached to them. They are often equated to the Yakuza and so people who are inked may find it difficult to land jobs in Japan. 

That being said, the tattoo industry in Japan features some of the best tattoo artists in the world. They specialize in various art styles and are visited by tattoo enthusiasts from around the world. 

As a tattoo enthusiast myself, I understand how tough it can be to find an experienced and good tattoo enthusiast. So if you are in Japan and are looking to get inked, here is a guide to help you find the best Japanese tattoo artist!

Best Japanese Tattoo Artist: Quick Summary

Best Japanese Tattoo ArtistArt Style Best Known ForStudio Name
Choshu Horikazu Traditional Japanese tattooTebori style tattoosChoshu Horikazu
AsaoBlend of traditional and modern art stylesTribal Japanese aestheticBalck and grey workStudio Muscat
Eiji FujisawaTraditional tattoos with a modern twistStudio Muscat
KohkiTraditional Japanese artRIN- KG Tattoo Studio
MutsuoTraditional Japanese tattoos with a modern touchThree Tides Tattoo Studio
YuyaSumi (charcoal) tattoosTebori style tattoosIked Cat Tattoo Studio
Hori KashiTebori style tattoosHori Kashi
Ron SuganoSai Ten tattoo styleTattoo Studio Shiryudoh

How did we choose the best Japanese tattoo artists?

Our in-house team of experts reviewed 20 tattoo artists and rated them on their experience, style, and client reviews. 

After much deliberation, we found that Choshu Horikazu is currently the best Japanese tattoo artist in Japan. He is known for his Tebori style tattoos and is a global sensation in the tattoo industry. 

Best Japanese Tattoo Artist

Choshu Horikazu Tattoo Studio

Best Japanese Tattoo Artist

Art styles: Traditional Japanese tattoo, Tebori style tattoos

Studio name: Choshu Horikazu

Address: Maeda Building 2nd Floor, 3-15-11 Nijigahama, Hikari-shi, Yamaguchi

Choschu Horikazu was first drawn to tattoos when he saw a tattoo magazine featuring the work of Horiyoshi III. Horiyoshi III is somewhat of a Japanese tattoo guru. The title ‘Horiyoshi’ has been derived from ‘hori’ which means to engrave or carve. He’s the best Japanese tattoo artist in Japan.

Chosh drew inspiration from these kinds of magazines for his drawings. He doesn’t come from a tattooing family nor does he have experience as an apprentice. 

However, he has used his experiences to create a nice foundation for himself. He continues to study and practice everyday to improve his skill. 

As a tattoo artist, he is influenced by Utagawa Kuniyoshi, a Ukiyoe artist, and Horiyoshi III. His main art style is Japanese traditional tattoos using the traditional hand tapping method of tebori. 

You can check out his instagram here.

Asao 

tattoo studio japan

Art styles: Blend of traditional and modern art styles, tribal Japanese aesthetic, balck and grey work

Studio name: Studio Muscat

Address: Japan, 〒150-0032 Tokyo, Shibuya City, Uguisudanicho, 6−6 グリーンハイツ鶯谷3F

Asao founded Studio Muscat in 2001. She was part of the fashion industry and worked as a pattern maker before she began tattooing.

She is known among her clients as a super friendly and down to earth tattoo artist. Her clients often leave reviews of her fantastic work and non threatening nature. 

In a country like Japan, where tattoos are still taboo, finding women tattoo artists can be a rare occurrence. Since many female tattoo enthusiasts prefer a female tattoo artist, having individuals like Asao venture into the tattoo industry is a blessing.

Asao is known for using Japanese aesthetics in her tattoos and is inspired by various forms of Japanese art like wood block printing. Asao is the best Japanese tattoo artist of Muscat Studio.

You can check out more of her art on the studio’s Instagram page.

Eiji Fujisawa

Japanese style tattoo artist

Art styles: Traditional tattoos with a modern twist

Studio name: Studio Muscat

Address: Japan, 〒150-0032 Tokyo, Shibuya City, Uguisudanicho, 6−6 グリーンハイツ鶯谷3F

Eiji Fujisawa began his tattooing career in 2007. He is one of the most popular tattoo artists in Tokyo and is currently working at Studio Muscat in Shibuya. 

He is best known for putting his own modern twist on traditional Japanese tattoos. His use of charcoal style shading and delicate line work is truly captivating. 

Some of Eiji’s best designs are of koi fish, dragons, hannya masks, cherry blossoms, and tigers. Eiji is the best Japanese tattoo artist for charcoal shading. 

You can find more of Eiji’s work on Instagram.

Kohki

Tattoo artist Japan

Art styles: Traditional Japanese art

Studio name: Rin- kg Tattoo Studio

Address: 5-8 Sarugakucho, Shibuya City, Tokyo 150-0033, Japan

Kohki is a tattoo artist from Tokyo, Japan. He has more than 15 years of experience in the tattoo industry and has won many awards for his work. Kohki is the best Japanese tattoo artist in the traditional category.

His tattoo studio, Rin-kg, is one of the most popular studios in Tokyo. He is famous for doing tattoos that portray traditional Japanese art. You can have a look at some of his finest work on the studio website. 

Mutsuo

Japanese tattoo studio

Art styles: Traditional Japanese tattoos with a modern touch

Studio name: Three Tides Tattoo Studio

Address: 1 Chome-8-5 Minamihorie, Nishi Ward, 大阪市西区 Osaka 550-0015, Japan

Mutsuo got what some would call a “90s style tattoo education”. He went from being a customer at Three Tides Tattoo Studio to being the studio’s first apprentice. He is now a senior tattoo artist at the studio.

He learned his skill from expert American tattoo artists who visited the studio. 

Mutsuo captures Japanese art in his own unique style through his tattoos and is considered as one of the best Japanese tattoo artist.

Mutsuo’s tattoos and designs can be found on his Instagram

Yuya

tattoo in Japan

Art styles: Sumi (charcoal) tattoos, Tebori style tattoos

Studio Name: Inked Cat Tattoo Studio

Address: 2 Chome-34-6 Nozawa, Setagaya City, Tokyo 154-0003, Japan

Tebori artist is a better title for Yuya Matoba. Yuya has been professionally trained and works out of his studio in central Tokyo.

If you want a traditional Japanese tattoo experience, Inked Cat is the place to be. He believes that the body is a canvas and uses Tebori to customize it. 

So what sets him apart? He uses charcoal instead of ink for his backgrounds and outline. Yuya is definitely the best Japanese tattoo artist of all times. 

Some of his best work features backgrounds with clouds, water, and rocks. His work also features floral aspects, animals,  and characters from Japanese folklore.

Hori Kashi

Japanese tattoo artist

Art style: Tebori style tattoos

Studio name: Hori Kashi

Address: 970-97 Soharamikakinocho, Kakamigahara, Gifu 504-0904, Japan

Hori Kashi is another Tebori artist in Japan. He has been in the tattoo industry for almost 2 decades now. He has also been featured in many tattoo magazines. 

Kori Kashi uses the traditional hand poking method of Tebori to create his masterpieces. He uses a tattoo machine as well as Tebori tools while tattooing.

What’s unique about his tattooing style is that he often paints his designs instead of sketching them. 

Check out his art and tattoo designs on Instagram

Ron Sugano

best japanese tattoo artist instagram

Art style: Sai Ten

Studio name: Tattoo Studio ShiRyudoh

Address: 1 Chome-44-14 Shibamata, Katsushika City, Tokyo 125-0052, Japan

Ron Sugano discovered the world of tattooing on his Asian adventure after graduating from university. He saw the tattoo culture in various parts of Asia before experiencing it in other parts of the world.

When he started his career as a tattoo artist, he wanted to retain the Japanese culture. This is why he chose to open his studio in Shibamata. This is one of the only places where old fashioned Tokyo exists. 

The tattoo style that Ron works on is called Sai Ten. He works with delicate lines and doesn’t prefer working with full body tattoos. 

Check out his work Instagram

Best Japanese Tattoo Artist: FAQ

What are some popular Japanese tattoo designs?

Some of the most popular Japanese designs are found in some form of Japanese tradition and folklore. Popular design choices include dragons, geishas, samurais, koi, kabuki masks, and tigers.

Is it disrespectful to have a tattoo in Japan?

Tattoos were banned in Japan until 1948. While getting tattooed became legal again, it was still looked down upon. Tattoos are often connected to the Yakuza. Many places in Japan like some bathing houses, pools, and hot springs ban anyone with tattoos from entering. It is advised that locals and tourists cover up their tattoos wherever possible.

What is the legal age to get a tattoo in Japan?

In Japan the nationwide legal age is 20. It is punishable by law if anyone under the age of 20 gets a tattoo. It is also illegal to force a minor to get tattooed.

What is the difference between Western tattoos and Japanese tattoos?

The main difference between Western tattoos and Japanese tattoos are the designs. Japanese designs are called wabori and western designs are called youbori.

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