Osaka is a port area in Japan’s Kansai region to the South West, relatively close to the imperial capital Kyoto and 3 hours from Tokyo by bullet train. Whilst having a reputation for being a non-descript sprawl of buildings, and perhaps the dirtiest area in Japan, in terms of vibrancy, fun, and a friendly atmosphere, Osaka is one of the best places to simply have a good time, and meet the locals, as they seem a lot friendlier here than almost anywhere else in Japan.
With its industrial façade, teeming with buildings that belong in a science fiction movie, lined with a maze of canals, buzzing neon, and pachinko slot machine parlours, inside the urban sprawl, you will find pockets of traditional Japan that time has apparently forgotten. Temples sit innocuously within the urban sprawl and offer a strangely peaceful oasis in a jungle of concrete.
Perhaps owing to its outgoing underground scene which is more “out there” than Tokyo, the Osaka tattoo scene is incredibly developed, holding serious contenders for some of the best tattooing talent in Japan, especially for American traditional.
Big name tattoo shops are literally a short stroll apart from each other, and the Amerika-mura area is the place to start. A hip shopping area, with Japanese street fashion at its most extreme on display with kids dressed up to the nines, there are multitudes of clothing shops selling pseudo American kitsch as well as second hand record stores selling hard to get vinyl.
The area is home to a bevy of tattoo shops, and is also where you will find some of the most famous names in Japanese tattooing, namely Chopstick and Three Tides, which are both considered vanguard shops in the modern tattooing scene, both are internationally renowned for consistent quality work, housing the best in local and global talent on their sojourns to Japan.
Three Tides, (www.threetidestattoo.com)
Toshi Tattoo Art Studio http://www.toshitattoo.com/studio/
Chopstick Studio http://www.chopsticktattoo.org
Catclaw tattoo http://www.catclaw-tattoo.com/
SMART body piercing http://www.smartworld.jp/
Al Haut, (http://al-haut.com)
Up Rise Tattoo http://www.uprise-tattoo.com/
Mindscape Tattoo http://mindscapetattoo.com/
Radical Skin http://www.geocities.jp/tpmck140/gallery.htm
HyperSpace Tattoo http://www.hyperspacetattoo.com/
Tattoo Supply Daze http://www.daze-tattoo.com/