Japanese back piece design by Carl Sebastian

Japanese dragon tattoos



Dragons are perhaps the most popular of all Japanese tattoo design.

The Japanese dragon is made up of seven different animals with different features from each animal.

A dragon should have 97 scales on its body.


  1. The body of a snake
  2. The scales of a Koi fish
  3. The antlers of a deer
  4. Paws from a tiger
  5. The talons {claw} of a hawk
  6. The head of a horse
  7. The ears of an ox


In Japanese tattooing the Dragon is often paired with a phoenix  as they symbolise the opposing energy in the universe , in Chinese mythology a dragon will be paired with a Tiger and together they represent the Yin and the yang.



There are 5 Different types of dragons

Water dragons


The water dragon symbolises the Emperors rule over Japan

Four dragons control the 4 oceans over the world.

Dragons can control the elements like rain and wind.


Celestial dragon

Guardian of the Kamis {Japanese gods}



Treasure Dragon

defending dragons that guards precious stones


Imperial dragons

Symbol of the Chinese dynasty



Spiritual dragon

God of wind and rain.


How many claws does a dragon have ?


You can tell the origin of a dragon by the number of claws on its paws.

A Japanese dragon has 3 claws

A Korean dragon will have 4 claws and a Chinese dragon 5.