A Helpful Guide On Choosing A Japanese Tattoo Shop

A traditional Japanese tattoo shop

The popularity of Irezumi has come a long way since the days when Japanese tattoo shops were banned. Today, in very conservative Japan there is still a lot of hesitancy to publicly show these intricate works of art but in the West that is changing. If you are seriously thinking of getting a tattoo here is a helpful guide on how to choose one and the Japanese tattoo shop to have it done.

Selecting A Design

Japanese tattoo

Japanese tattoos are filled with symbolism and they have a significant meaning for both the client and the artist. The style and artwork is definitely captivating or you might be interested deeply in the culture itself. For any of the above reasons, or if all of them apply to you, at the end of the day you should feel happy about the artwork done on your skin.

Rooted In Symbolism

There are deep roots embedded in Japanese tattoos and they do have such a distinctive style that once you see one you could easily recognize them. There are a lot of artists outside mainland Japan that go to extreme lengths in order to reproduce the traditional Japanese tattoo with amazing effect. It is important to note however that artists in Japan are strict when it comes to the placement of the symbols, styles and images on the body. This is due to deep historical and cultural reasons. The icons have different level of meaning that are not initially known without having a good idea of the culture.

When selecting a traditional Japanese tattoo you need to understand that it is very important to ensure the integrity of the motifs, symbols and history behind the designs. There may be an instance where you want a specific symbol or picture tattooed in a specific area and in a specific manner, which may not be possible for one reason or another. Do not look at this as a refusal to tattoo in a particular area as a hindrance but look at it more as an opportunity to learn and understand the symbolism behind these images in traditional Japanese culture.

Visit the Japanese Tattoo Shop

A clean Japanese tattoo shop

When choosing a Japanese tattoo shop it is not enough to merely look online at what it offers. You need to visit the tattoo shop itself in order to get a better idea on what to expect. While visiting the shop look at the work of the artist and ask any pertinent questions you may have. If no one attends to you even if the shop is not that busy then they might not be interested in your business and cross them off your list.

Cleanliness of the Japanese Tattoo Shop

The Japanese tattoo shop needs to be as clean as your doctor or dentist’s office. Cleanliness and safety is your number one priority aside from the quality of the tattoo. Observe how the tattoo artist works and if he uses sterilized or disposable equipment. A good example, the tattoo artist not double dipping his needle in a large container of ink. The ink needs to be poured into small disposable containers with one container of ink per customer and not shared with other clients.

Cleanliness of the Japanese tattoo shop is very important

Look at how the artist is applying ointments. He should not be using his hands but a disposable wooden sterile spreader or stainless steel spreader in order to apply ointment on your skin. He should also be wearing sterile disposable gloves during the entire procedure.


Inquire if the Japanese tattoo shop has a license to operate. Most US states do require artists and  Japanese tattoos Chicago shops to be licensed before they can ink someone. Do check the prevailing laws in your state and ensure that the tattoo parlor you have chosen does abide by those rules and regulations.