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Do I have to hide my tattoos in Japan?

1. Introduction

Tattoos have a long and varied history in Japan, with some of the earliest examples dating back to the Jomon period (14,000-300 BC). While tattoos were once seen as a form of punishment or social stigma, they are now becoming more widely accepted in Japan. With the rise of traditional Japanese tattoo art and modern body art, many people are now considering getting tattoos in Japan. But before you do so, it is important to understand the cultural context and legal status of tattoos in Japan. This article will answer the question: Do I have to hide my tattoos in Japan?

2. What is the Meaning of Tattoos in Japan?

In traditional Japanese culture, tattoos had both positive and negative connotations. On one hand, they were seen as a sign of strength and courage and were often used to identify members of certain gangs or organizations. On the other hand, they were also associated with criminals or outcasts. In modern times, however, tattoos are increasingly being seen as a form of self-expression and artistry. Traditional Japanese tattooing (irezumi) is highly respected and admired by many people around the world for its intricate designs and symbolism.

Japanese Snack Box

3. Japanese Tattoo Culture

In recent years, there has been a surge in popularity for both traditional Japanese tattooing (irezumi) as well as modern body art styles such as graffiti-style or abstract designs. This has led to an increased acceptance for tattoos in Japan’s mainstream society. There are now many tattoo parlors across the country where people can get custom designs from experienced artists. Additionally, there are even some public events dedicated to showcasing tattoo artistry such as conventions or competitions.

4. Public Perception of Tattoos in Japan

Despite this increased acceptance for tattoos in recent years, it is important to note that public perception still varies greatly depending on where you go in Japan. In general, most people do not have an issue with visible tattoos but there are still many places where people may be asked to cover up their tattoos if they wish to enter certain establishments such as temples or shrines or certain types of restaurants or bars (especially those catering towards older customers). Additionally, some employers may also be hesitant about hiring individuals with visible tattoos so it is best to check beforehand if you plan on working while visiting Japan.

5. Legal Status of Tattoos in Japan

In terms of legality, there are no laws against having visible tattoos in public spaces in Japan but some establishments may have their own policies regarding this matter which should be respected at all times (for example: covering up your tattoo when entering certain establishments). Additionally, it is illegal for anyone under 18 years old to get a tattoo without parental consent so make sure you bring proper documentation if you plan on getting one while visiting the country!

6. Do I Have to Hide My Tattoos In Japan?

The short answer is: no – you do not have to hide your tattoos while visiting Japan unless you plan on entering certain establishments that explicitly state that they do not allow visible tattoos inside their premises (such as temples or shrines). However, it is always best practice to cover up your ink when entering more conservative environments just out of respect for local customs and traditions!

7.Onsen and Hot Springs Policies Regarding Tattoos

Onsen (hot springs) are very popular tourist destinations throughout Japan but unfortunately many places still have strict policies regarding visible tattoos inside their premises due to their association with organized crime gangs known as yakuza who often sport full body inkings! That being said – some onsen may allow individuals with small discreet tattoos into their facilities so it’s always best practice to call ahead before visiting any hot spring destination just to double check!


To conclude – while there are no laws against having visible tattoos while visiting Japan – it is always best practice out of respect for local customs & traditions that individuals cover up their ink when entering more conservative environments such as temples & shrines or certain types of restaurants & bars catering towards older customers! Additionally – some hot spring resorts may also have strict policies against visible inkings so make sure you call ahead before visiting any hot spring destination just double check what their policy is!


1.”Tattoo Culture”,National Museum Of Nature And Science,https : / / / en / exhibition / current_exhibition / tatoo_culture.html 2.”Japan’s Changing Attitude Towards Tattoos”,The Diplomat,https : / / / 2020/04/japans-changing-attitude-towards-tattoos/ 3.”Tattoo Laws In Other Countries”,World Atlas,https : / /

Do tattoos need to be covered in Japan?

Rules are important in Japan and there are no rules for numbers in all ponds and onsen clubs so there are definitely some concerns when tourists board tattoos. Just cover and hide the shapes and you are good to go. If you cant cover up dont enter the barracks.

Does Japan look down on tattoos?

Tattoos associated with organized crime have long been taboo in Japan. Many beaches and hot spring resort gyms do not allow people with tattoos. Companies often explicitly ban applicants who are signed.

Can I get a job in Japan if I have tattoos?

However many Japanese companies reject employees with tattoos. For Japanese companies if an employee of the company gets a tattoo it appears that he is an antisocial person or associated with other antisocial people. They realize that this leads to a highly negative image of the entire organization.

Can Americans show tattoos in Japan?

While tattooing is not illegal it can prevent people from fully enjoying the Japanese experience. When using public transportation in Japan such as trains tourists with visible tattoos will want to remember that their ink is offending some locals.

Why is Japan strict on tattoos?

Body paint has long been noted in Japan for its association with the underworld. Over the years Tattoo has been linked to the Yakuza the countrys largest organized crime group but its lesser-known story goes back much further.

Are tattoos welcomed in Japan?

Tattoos are still considered rare in Japan but they do exist. Tattooing is completely legal in Japan and in 2020 tattoo artists were legally allowed to work without a medical license.

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