More and more I am seeing girls here in Japan with Cherry Blossom Tattoo’s. I guess the aversion to tattoos in Japan is starting to loose out to the younger generation, even to a point where I have heard arguments at Onsen’s(public hot baths) over the suitability of the tattoo and how it is an American style tattoo not a Yakuza tattoo.
As the cherry blossom season approaches I am sure there will be a few more Cherry Blossom Tattoo’s being inked onto the girls here in Japan. If you are not aware of the whole tattoo issue here in Japan, let me enlighten you.
Basically Tattoo’s in Japan were the mark of a criminal or associated to the Yakuza or Japanese Mafia. From my limited experience this is not exactly true. There are two types of Tattoo’s I have seen in Japan, the Japanese Yakuza Tattoo which is a very serious piece of work and covers most of the upper body and down the arms, and even up the the top of the neck line , as seen in the first photo, and then there are the other styles which is everything else you wouldn’t look twice at. I think it would be fair to say a Cherry Blossom Tattoo on a 21 year old Japanese girls is hardly the mark of a criminal.
The next problem is the popularity of the Onsen here in Japan, and the Onsen’s aversion to allowing people with tattoo’s to enter. Usually you will see a sign board at the front entrance of 90% of Onsen’s that says “No Tattoo’s” in Japanese and in “Perfect” English, in fact it’s probably the only English signs that don’t get screwed up and featured on Engrish.com or some other wacky sign site.
So as you can imagine that making the decision to get a tattoo here in Japan is a very serious decision. Also you need to be careful as some of the design go beyond a nice tattoo that could fit on you shoulder or foot as pictured in the second and third photos. As you can see in the last photo, this young lady went a little overboard and has basically destroyed any chance she may have had to enter any of the popular Onsen’s here in Japan.
One small tip for those considering getting a Cherry Blossom Tattoo, please make sure it is a Cherry Blossom Tattoo and not a Plum Blossom. The easy way to spot the difference is that Cherry Blossom leaves have a small “V” cut on the tips of the leaves, the Plum Blossom doesn’t, it is rounded all the way.
For those who are interested in Cheery Blossom Season here in Japan, it starts around the end of March in Southern Japan and works it way up to the North of Japan finishing around the end of April. For any one spot in Japan you will get only two weekends to enjoy the cherry blossom season and then it’s all gone for another year. The standard practice is to get together with friends on one or both of the weekends, find a spot in a nice park( if you can find room) filled with Cheery Blossoms, and drink like there’s no tomorrow. No doubt I will have a bunch of photos to share later on this month, hopefully in focus and safe for public viewing……