Published on June 27, 2024

Have you been wisping over the internet, feeling like you’re peeping out of the shadows on your hunt for the perfect Japanese Folklore Tattoo?

Well, fear not, on this list, we have Oni the best Yokai Tattoo Designs and are stacked to Kappacity, so there is no need to be Tengutive. Let’s float into the dark and mysterious world of Yokai Tattoos. 

What Does A Yokai Tattoo Mean 

The meaning of your Yokai Tattoo will usually be determined by which Yokai you choose to adorn yourself with.

Yokai comes in many different forms with many different meanings, which will alter the symbolism based on what Yokai you choose to go for. 

Yokai are supernatural monsters, spirits, and demons in Japanese folklore.

The term "Yokai" is often used to describe a wide range of these mythological creatures that include entities with a variety of traits.

Some Yokai are malevolent towards humans, while others are benign or even beneficial.

The word Yokai is comprised of two separate Kanji characters that both mean "suspicious, doubtful."

While Yokai is often translated as Demon, it is, in fact, incorrect to do so, as Yokai are not the Western definition of demons and can also be Kami (deities, divinities, spirits, mythological, spiritual, or natural phenomena that are revered in the Shinto religion)

33 Yokai Tattoos Designs 

Now that we know a little about Yokais, let's explore some of the best Yokai Tattoo Designs we can find.

1. Oni Tattoo

Oni Tattoo

Photo credit: @hernanchevalie

The Oni are probably the most iconic of Japanese folklore creatures.

These beings are usually portrayed as being large and menacing, with wild hair and one or more horns protruding from their heads.

Oni tales vary as in some stories, they are wild flesh-eating monsters, while in others, they act protectively or even benevolently.

2. Oni And Dragon Tattoo

Oni And Dragon Tattoo

Photo credit: @mishbae

While some Oni are benevolent and protective beings in some tales, so too is the Dragon.

Dragon Tattoos can have a lot of symbolism, but for Japanese Dragons particularly, they represent strength, wisdom, protection, freedom, and good luck.

Japanese Dragons are almost always benevolent beings and deities who bring rain and wisdom.

3. Oni And Tiger Tattoo

Oni And Tiger Tattoo

Photo credit: @jeesayalero

Tiger Tattoo symbolism can include strength and power, protection, independence, royalty and nobility, and even passion and sensuality.

Imbue your Tiger with an Oni Yokai tattoo to synergize its protective symbolism. 

4. Karura Tengu Tattoo

Karura Tengu Tattoo

Photo credit: @antonxtattooer

The Karura Tengu is derived from the Hindu and Buddhist mythology of the Garuda, a large mythical bird or bird-like creature.

The Karura is a creature with a human body and a bird's or human head but with wings and sometimes claws.

It is often shown with flames surrounding its body or emanating from its wings, symbolizing its supernatural nature.

5. Yamabushi Tengu Tattoo

Yamabushi Tengu Tattoo

Photo credit: @jess_martucci

The Yamabushi Tengu, commonly known as just the Tengu, is one of the most recognized and complex figures in Japanese folklore.

These beings typically have a human-like body but with a long, protruding nose or beak.

They often wear the robes of a mountain ascetic and are sometimes shown with wings, highlighting their ability to fly.

6. Tengu Japanese Mask Tattoo

Tengu Japanese Mask Tattoo

Photo credit: @artninjatheo

The chances are, you first learned about the Tengu from either a Japanese Anime or Video Game.

The Tengu mask has become associated with mentor figures who help the protagonist learn important lessons about strength, discipline, and humility.

This Tengu Japanese Mask Tattoo is of Sakoji Urokodaki from Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba, a retired member of the Demon Slayer Corps who helped train other characters such as  Makomo, Sabito, Giyu Tomioka, and Tanjiro Kamado.

7. Kappa Tattoo

Kappa Tattoo

Photo credit: @chrisspriggs

The Kappa is a water spirit whose story is used as a cautionary tale to children of the dangers of rivers and lakes.

The Kappa has both humorous and malevolent stories, such as kidnapping children or drowning animals, but also challenges humans to sumo wrestling and pull pranks.

Kappa are known for their politeness, as bowing to a Kappa causes it to return the gesture, spilling the water from its sara ( water-filled dish or depression on top of its head) and rendering it powerless or even killing it. 

8. Kitsune Yokai Tattoo

Kitsune Yokai Tattoo

Photo credit: @ken.inkaholiks

The Kitsune is a fox spirit with supernatural powers.

The more tails a fox has, the older, wiser, and more powerful it is. 

Kitsune can have up to nine tails being called a "kyūbi no kitsune.” There are two types of Kitsune, the Zenko and Yako Kitsune.

Zenko are benevolent, celestial foxes associated with Inari, the Shinto deity of rice, fertility, and prosperity, while Yako tend to be mischievous or even malicious, tricking and deceiving humans rather than helping them. 

9. Tanuki Tattoo

Tanuki Tattoo

Photo credit: @mambotattooer

The Tanuki is one of the most beloved figures within Japanese folklore.

While a Tanuki is a real species of animal known as the Japanese raccoon dog or Nyctereutes viverrinus, in Japanese folklore, it is a shape-shifting trickster with unique characteristics and stories.

These beings are fun-loving and cheerful but also mischievous and gullible, and they typically use their powers for mischief rather than harm.

10. Super Mario Tanuki Tattoo

Super Mario Tanuki Tattoo

Photo credit: @c_dubya_dawg

This Video Game Tattoo is of Super Mario from Super Mario Land 3.

In the third installment of the Mario Land series, a power-up known as the Tanuki suit was added to the game.

Wearing the Tanooki Suit gives the wearer all the powers of Raccoon Mario, with the added ability to turn into an invulnerable statue for a limited time. 

11. Yuki Onna Tattoo

Yuki Onna Tattoo

Photo credit: @_catnoname

The Yuki Onna is a Yokai associated with winter and snow.

Depicted as a beautiful but chilling spirit with an ethereal presence, it is considered to be both mysterious and dangerous.

Tales of the Yuki Onna vary from being malevolent, luring people into storms to freeze to death, but also being compassionate and even falling in love with humans. 

12. Rokurokubi Yokai Tattoo

Rokurokubi Yokai Tattoo

Photo credit: @taehaiii

The Rokurokubi were once humans who were transformed into long-necked creatures as a result of karma or supernatural afflictions.

By day, they blend into society, but by night they indulge in their curiosity by roaming around frightening humans they come into contact with.

Rokurokubi are typically not malevolent, with many depicted as more mischievous or tragic figures rather than evil entities.

13. Nure-onna Tattoo

Nure-onna Tattoo

Photo credit: @martin.z8

The Nure-onna is a sinister Yokai that has the head of a Woman with the body of a Snake.

The Nure-onna lurks at the water's edge with what appears to be an infant.

When a good samaritan approaches to help, it lunges at the victim, draining their blood and drowning them under the water. 

14. Ame-Onna Tattoo

Ame-Onna Tattoo

Photo credit: @holycrapcats

This Yokai Tattoo is of the Ame-Onna, a yokai depicted as a woman cloaked in a wet, ragged kimono, sometimes with disheveled hair sticking to her face due to the rain.

The Ame-onna visits households, particularly those with newborn babies.

She can summon rain at will, which can be both a blessing for crops and a curse when it leads to flooding or continuous dismal weather.

15. Jorogumo Yokai Tattoo

Jorogumo Yokai Tattoo

Photo credit:

The Jorogumo is a Yokai that can take the form of a beautiful woman and a giant Spider.

In her human form, she is often playing an instrument, usually a Biwa, and uses her guise to lure people to secluded places like where she reveals her true spider form and dines upon her victims.

The stories of the Jorgumo are used as cautionary tales of succumbing to deceptive appearances.

16. Bakeneko Tattoo

Bakeneko Tattoo

Photo credit: @kariartdesu

This Cat Tattoo is of the Bakeneko.

Appearing usually as an ordinary cat, the Bakeneko is capable of transforming into a larger, often bipedal form, and sometimes even taking on a human appearance. 

These creatures manipulate their environments or people by casting illusions, controlling the dead, and even possessing humans.

Not all Bakeneko are malevolent however, as some stories tell of how these cat yokai can be protective, particularly toward their owners. 

17. Noppera-Bo Tattoo

Noppera-Bo Tattoo

Photo credit: @steve_h_morante

The Noppera-Bo is a Yokai that, when viewed from behind, is indistinguishable from an ordinary human, however, upon turning around to face you, it reveals its true featureless face without eyes, a nose, a mouth, or any other defining features.

This yokai often initially appears as a normal human being engaging in ordinary interactions, but when the moment is right, it wipes its face clean to reveal its blank visage, shocking the unwitting observer.

18. No-Face Tattoo

No-Face Tattoo

Photo credit: @ratitattoo

Inspired by the tales of the Noppera-Bo, this Studio Ghibli Tattoo is of No-Face from the film Spirited Away.

No-Face is a tall, shadow-like creature with a simple white mask featuring minimal facial features.

A solitary spirit it possesses the ability to absorb and mimic the behaviors and desires of those around it, reflecting the emotions and vices of others, particularly greed and loneliness.

19. Umibozu Tattoo

Umibozu Tattoo

Photo credit: @gato___xx

The Umibozu appears as either a large humanoid or an amorphous figure with a shaved head.

This yokai can suddenly appear over calm waters, demanding a barrel from the ship's crew and then using it to sink the boat by scooping water into it and pouring it over the vessel.  

It embodies the sea's dual nature of being calm yet capable of sudden, inexplicable violence.

It can be seen as a representation of the fear of the unknown and the uncontrollable forces of nature. 

20. Gashadokuro Yokai Tattoo

Gashadokuro Yokai Tattoo

Photo credit: @amijok

Also known as the starving skeleton, the Gashadokuro is a colossal skeleton said to be made out of the bones of deceased warriors who died of starvation or died in battle and never received a proper burial.

The Gashadokuro are spirits held together by malice and a thirst for revenge or simply the desire to inflict harm, reflecting the intense suffering they endured in life.

21. Yatagarasu Tattoo

Yatagarasu Tattoo

Photo credit:

Yatagarasu is a divine benign sent from heaven, often depicted as a three-legged crow, with the legs thought to symbolize heaven, earth, and humanity or to represent the sun.

Yatagarasu is worshipped in various Shinto shrines across Japan, particularly at the Kumano shrines, where it is considered a symbol of the Kumano deities.

This Yokai Tattoo also doubles as a Naruto Tattoo as this Yatagaraus belongs to Itachi.

22. Ushi-Oni Tattoo

Ushi-Oni Tattoo

Photo credit: @gael5xp10

The Ushi-oni translates to Ox or Cow Demon and is found in the coastal regions of Japan.

This creature has the head of an ox with sharp horns and the body of a giant spider or a crab.

The Ushi-oni is said to emerge from the water to attack fishermen or coastal villages, spewing its poisonous breath or mist that can kill crops and sicken people.

23. Futakuchi-Onna


Photo credit: @catwongtattoos

This Yokai Tattoo is of the Futakuchi-onna, otherwise known as the two-mouthed woman.

When viewed from the front, a Futakuchi-onna looks like any ordinary woman.

However, from behind, hidden on the back of its head, lies a large grotesque mouth.

If the mouth is not fed, it will scream, causing immense pain to its other half, and take control of its hair-like tentacles to feed itself.

24. Kuchisake-Onna Tattoo

Kuchisake-Onna Tattoo

Photo credit: @adeqvat

The Kuchisake-onna is an infamous yokai in Japanese urban legends and folklore.

The myth of the Kuchisake-onna started in the 1970s that tapped into deep fears about appearances and identity.

This yokai is known for being a woman who has a slit mouth from ear to ear, giving her a permanent gruesome smile.

The legend states you will be asked a particular question about its appearance. No matter what you choose, it still won’t end well for you. 

25. Tsuchigumo Yokai Tattoo

Tsuchigumo Yokai Tattoo

Photo credit: @cobrahtattoo

The Tsuchigumo yokai is associated with tales of warfare, deceit, and supernatural powers.

Traditionally depicted as a spider-like creature, this yokai has the face of a demon or an oni and the body of a tiger or similar beast, often with a number of legs and eyes.

This creature uses its abilities to deceive or ambush unsuspecting humans, particularly warriors or heroes.

26. Hitodama Tattoo

Hitodama Tattoo

Photo credit: @maclow

The Hitodama are a supernatural phenomenon believed to be the souls of the recently deceased.

The Hitodama are usually represented as glowing balls of fire or light with a faintly discernible tail trailing behind them.

If you are a fan of certain anime, such as the Dragonball Series, you might remember the Hitodama that awaits the judgment of King Yemma to see if they can go to Heaven or Hell.  

27. Dimple Tattoo

Dimple Tattoo

Photo credit: @kyuhn.e

This Anime Tattoo is of Dimple. Dimple is another variant of the Hitodama from the Mob Psycho 100 manga and anime series.

He is a self-proclaimed upper-class evil spirit who aligns himself with Mob, the protagonist, after being easily defeated by him.

Dimple's goal was to be worshipped by all of humanity by using Mob to his advantage, but eventually, he had a change of heart and fought to save Mob at the risk of his existence. 

28. Hone-onna Tattoo

 Hone-onna Tattoo

Photo credit: @_karlfinley

The Hone-onna literally translates to ‘bone woman’ and is a yokai that can take the form of a beautiful woman or a deceased loved one in order to seduce men and drain them of their life force or essence.

The Hone-onna are spirits of women who died in despair, often due to betrayal or unrequited love. 

29. Shirime Yokai Tattoo

Shirime Yokai Tattoo

Photo credit:

Possibly the most bizarre Yokai, the Shirime is a Yokai that looks like a human yet has a giant eye in its rear end.

This yokai is not known to be harmful or malevolent, but instead, its primary interaction with humans is to shock or surprise them with its bizarre appearance.

The Shirime appears in various "yokai scrolls," which are collections of yokai depictions accompanied by anecdotes or poems.

30. Karakasa Obake Tattoo

Karakasa Obake Tattoo

Photo credit: @runawaytattoo

Another bizarre Yokai Tattoo, the Karakasa Obake, is usually depicted as an old, tattered paper umbrella with one eye and a single leg that is usually hopping around.

Like the Shirime, this yokai is not known for being malevolent and instead tends to be more mischievous or playful.  

The Karakasa Obake symbolizes the belief in the animate nature of all things in the universe, as per Shinto traditions. 

31. Enenra Tattoo

Enenra Tattoo

Photo credit:

The Enenra is a type of yokai that takes the form of a cloud of smoke.

Posing no threat to humans, the Enenra appears and behaves more as an ethereal presence that might startle or mystify those who witness it.

Typically, it manifests within bonfires or hearths, twisting and curling with the smoke as it rises.

32. Hakutaku Yokai Tattoo

Hakutaku Yokai Tattoo

Photo credit: @horihirojapan

The Hakutaku is a benevolent Yokai that usually takes the form of a white Ox with a human face and up to six eyes over its body.

Referred to as Bai Ze in Chinese mythology, this yokai often holds a wealth of knowledge on supernatural creatures to help humans fend off supernatural beings.  

33. Jibanyan Tattoo

Jibanyan Tattoo

Photo credit: @x_pandarchy

Jibanyan is one of the two deuteragonists of the Yo-kai Watch series.

Jibanyan is a Rank D Fire-attribute Yo-kai of the Charming tribe who has a fierce determination to do anything, such as fight other Yo-kai that are causing trouble for him.

Known for his playful and somewhat lazy personality.

He loves to eat chocolate bars and often engages in comical misadventures. 

Where To Get Your Yokai Tattoo 

Design is one thing, but your Yokai Tattoo location is equally important when it comes to getting the perfect Tattoo Design.

So, let's take a look at the best body positioning for your potential new ink. 

1. Yokai Tattoo On Hand

Yokai Tattoo On Hand

Photo credit: @blackworkarchive

Hand Tattoos are great for those who want to show off their ink as often as possible.

Although getting inked on the hand is painful, it is the best place for complete visibility.

But remember, the hand doesn’t have a lot of space, so consider deeply what design you want.

If you work in a professional environment, maybe don't choose the Shirime. 

2. Yokai Tattoo On Thigh

Yokai Tattoo On Thigh

Photo credit: @christopherscott_365

The Thigh is a great place to get tattooed, particularly for first-timers.

This location has a lot of fat and muscle, which will dampen the pain associated with the tattooing process.

This Yokai Tattoo on the thigh is of a Yokai ritual done in a Traditional Tattoo style

3. Arm Yokai Tattoo

Arm Yokai Tattoo

Photo credit: @mosesdood

The arm is one of the most popular places for first-time tattooers.

The arm is another area that can be easily shown off by wearing a short-sleeved shirt or vest, and compared to other parts of the body, it isn’t as painful.

This arm Yokai Tattoo is of a lantern Yokai. 

4. Chest Yokai Tattoo

Chest Yokai Tattoo

Photo credit: @studiomuscat

Lastly, the chest is a great place to get Tattooed if you want to wear your new ink with pride.

Depending on the size of your pectoral muscle, that chest offers a lot of protection for men, but for women, your tattoo artist might need to get a bit more creative with the design around the breast area.  


So, we conclude our spectral journey through the realm of Yokai tattoo ideas. We hope with our help, you found the supernatural flair you’ve been looking for.

But hey, if Yokai Tattoos still aren’t to your liking, check out this gorgeous Phoenix Tattoo Designs to add a little light to the darkness, these Mythical Tattoos for other folklore-inspired beings throughout the world, or to learn how Japanese art inspired modern day tattooing, check out our Sailor Jerry article.

Paul Mulligan
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