Koi fish water tattoo

Koi fish water tattoo DEFAULT

The koi or golden carp is an ornamental fish that is common in Japan, and in Japanese gardens worldwide. It is considered a lucky symbol and is kept as in large fishpond in a formal garden. Koi are not usually kept alone in an aquarium, instead, these fishes are allowed to propagate in large man-made ponds.

The first koi tattoos were based on traditional Japanese prints, and were used by Japanese Yakuza members. Modern koi tattoos still lean heavily on traditional Japanese designs, with an emphasis on stylized fish drawings. Koi fish tattoos have evolved with trends like watercolors, Western motifs and realistic renditions. However, no matter what style the koi tattoo takes, it is still considered as a good luck charm for the wearer.

1. Traditional Japanese Koi Fish Tattoo

The Koi Fish is believed to bring prosperity and good luck to the Japanese people. They view this rare fish as a symbol of perseverance and determination. For men who value these qualities, a traditional Japanese koi fish is an impactful and aesthetic design to consider. Irezumi or conventional Japanese tattoo style features a unique look defined by vibrant colors and bold lines. The koi fish and other elements like dragons, temples, sakura blooms, and tigers are popular subjects for this traditional tattoo style. 

2. Simple Koi Fish Tattoo

Another option for laid-back men who want a more straightforward approach to inking is the simple koi fish tattoo. Ideally, simple tattoos feature a minimalist design that looks understated but is as meaningful as the more intricate ones. These tattoos focus more on the basic shapes and are stripped of any extensive detailing. It goes best for people who follow a simple lifestyle and prefer a basic ink design that they can easily conceal.

3. Small Koi Fish Tattoo

Although extensive and detailed tattoo design appeals to most men, some individuals prefer a small but meaningful tattoo. A small koi fish tattoo might be an understated approach to body art, but it is a discreet yet versatile choice to make. Opting for a small tattoo gives you more leeway in choosing the perfect placement and the elements that you can include to create art that you can proudly wear. You can also get it inked on your wrist or behind the ear for a modern yet subtle approach. 

4.Pisces Koi Fish Tattoo

It is common to combine koi fish tattoos with other Eastern elements such as the lotus flower and the Yin and Yang symbols. Additionally, they can also represent the zodiac sign Pisces. The sign features two fishes swimming closely together but in the opposite direction. This design can be associated with duality or that the wearer is torn between two choices. People born under this sign will likely consider this unique ink design.  

5. Koi Fish Yin Yang Tattoo

Japanese people highly value koi fish. The perfect hues in this fish will fetch a considerable price. These fishes are associated with prosperity and good fortune, so they are well-loved pets in ponds. When a koi fish with the yin yang symbol is made into a tattoo design, it is associated with perseverance and abundance. It is pretty common to see this kind of design combination as it also reflects harmony and balance. Having this tattoo is like wearing a symbol of good luck on your skin. 

6. Koi Fish Swimming Upstream Tattoo

Koi tattoos carry with them deep meanings and symbolism. The direction in which they are swimming also means something. If they swim upstream, they struggle, battle, persevere, and stay committed to a goal. This meaning will appeal to men, mainly because it also showcases the ability to swim against the current. 

7. Koi Fish Swimming Downstream Tattoo

If you choose a koi fish swimming downstream for your next ink, know that it is associated with success or triumph over obstacles. It may also mean that they do not possess the strength to go against the current yet. 

8. Two Koi Fish Tattoo

Similar to Yin and Yang and the Pisces tattoo designs, the two koi fish tattoos are another great way to represent balance in life. It features two fishes that life is a matter of push and pulls, although others also look into its representation of duality with the two fishes swimming in opposite directions. You can choose to have a black and white koi fish tattoo which can be simple or complicated depending on your preference. 

9. Avatar Koi Fish Tattoo

When looking for inspiration for your next inking, you can look for symbols or images that are significant in your favorite movie or shows. For instance, there are many Avatar: The Last Airbender fans who find the koi characters in the front to inspire tattoo design. The white koi fish in the show is the Moon Spirit, while the black Koi is the Ocean Spirit. These two koi fishes symbolize balance, and getting inked with their image gives off a striking and meaningful design. 

Red Koi Fish Tattoo

When deciding on a koi fish tattoo, the colors you choose are essential in expressing your meaning. Choosing shades of red for your koi fish ink means that you value courage and bravery. Red and other shades close to it are common among these animals. This bold hue is also linked with passionate love, power, strength, and motherhood. A red koi fish tattoo is a bold and vibrant image that will surely stand out and make a statement. 

Blue Koi Fish Tattoo

Koi fishes come in various colors, and choosing a blue koi fish tattoo is a very masculine choice. These azure-colored carp are associated with reproduction. Blue and white koi fish symbolizes the son of a family. Likewise, it is also associated with tranquility, peace, and calmness. 

Black Koi Fish

Koi fish are very colorful. You will see them on ponds with unique markings on their body. The Japanese people breed these fishes to create distinct color combinations, and each shade often represents a different meaning. It is rare to see a black koi fish, but when you visit one, you will be mesmerized. It is associated with strength and adversity. A black koi fish tattoo will appeal to people who have struggled and triumphed over their challenges. This tattoo design and symbolism are deeply personal to the wearer than its unique and aesthetic appeal.

Black and Grey Koi Fish Tattoo

A combination of black and grey tattoo colors is a popular choice among men. With a skilled artist, a simple image with these primary colors can look incredible. These colors are also ideal if you want a personal touch to your koi fish tattoo. Although these fishes are known to have vibrant colors, choosing black and grey allows you to highlight their details and intricate marks. It also allows you to focus more on the subject and meaning of your ink. 

Dragon and Koi Fish Tattoo

A combination of the dragon and Koi fish tattoo may sound odd for some, but an ancient Japanese tale involves these two. According to the legend, a koi fish persevered in swimming up a magical waterfall, and the Gods rewarded it by transforming it into a mighty dragon. The legendary koi fish is now celebrated as a symbol of strength, power, masculinity, and wisdom. Its combined tattoo image is associated with transformation. This tattoo design is perfect for those who appreciate the story and the qualities it represents.   

Koi Fish and Lotus Flower

Koi fish are popular tattoo elements in Eastern cultures. Men who want to express their optimism in life will find the Koi fish and lotus flower tattoo combination an appealing choice for their next inking. The lotus flower is associated with strength and spirituality, while the Koi is linked with power, prosperity, and good fortune. The lotus flower and koi combination is a clear expression of struggles in the past and strength as you triumph over your challenges.

Koi Fish and Cherry Blossom Tattoo

If you enormously admire Japanese culture, or you want to honor your Japanese heritage, you may consider getting a koi fish and cherry blossom tattoo combination. These two elements are deeply significant for the Japanese. Sakura blooms are associated with beauty and fleeting existence because the flowers do not last long. Meanwhile, koi fishes are associated with prosperity and luck. When combined, it creates a visually exciting picture that is also heavy on symbolism. You can have this design inked on your back or thigh to allow more details in the image. 

Fire and Water Koi Fish Tattoo

Other popular elements that you can include with your koi fish tattoo are fire and water. It is an alternative design if you do not like the yin yang or Pisces Koi tattoo. But the meaning it holds is pretty much the same – two opposing powers coming together. 

Koi Fish Sleeve Tattoo

A sleeve tattoo is a trendy placement choice for men because it draws attention to their muscles. However, choosing what design or images to put in your sleeve tattoo is a challenging game. You can work with your artist to create a design that will make a statement and be meaningful at the same time. The Koi fish sleeve tattoo can give you that satisfaction in terms of design details and symbolism. You can make this image your base and add other elements related to an overall theme. Images that you can use are sakura blooms, lotus flowers, temples, waves, and the yin yang symbol. But it is also essential to know that detailed and extensive tattoo designs may take several sessions to complete, but the result will be worth it. 

Koi Fish Thigh Tattoo

Some professions require men to keep their tattoos discreet as possible. So, when you choose your next inking project, consider your lifestyle or career too. If you want to get something extensive and detailed, it is best to select a placement to cover up when needed. Apart from the back, the thigh is a popular choice for meaningful and detailed tattoo design. It features enough space for an intricate koi fish tattoo that you can be creative about. Plus, this spot is also low on the pain level when getting inked. 

Koi Fish Half Sleeve Tattoo

A half sleeve tattoo is designed to take up half the arm and cover it with your chosen design. Instead of covering the whole peninsula, the artist finishes the design at the elbows. It is an excellent choice if you are engaged in a more formal profession, and having detailed tattoo designs is frowned upon. You can choose the koi fish image for symbolism that you can easily relate to. Also, half sleeve inking does not hurt as much as other placement, so you can enjoy the process of getting inked.  

Koi Fish Back Tattoo

If you like a bigger and better ink design, you have to be ready with a prominent placement too! The back offers a spot big enough to accommodate a large and detailed design. Back tattoos are also very intimate because you can choose to show off your tattoo when you want and keep it away from prying eyes too. A koi fish back tattoo may lead to some discomfort during the process. And considering the size and details that you wish to have, it may take some time before it is completed. 

Koi Fish Leg Tattoo

Leg tattoos are excellent options for men who want to showcase their ink and make a bold statement. This spot offers ample space for koi fish tattoo detailing and some creative fest. It is not high on the pain scale, so you can enjoy the inking process even if it takes several sessions to finish. However, expect some discomfort when you move closer to the knees or foot. 

Koi Fish Calf Tattoo

For tattoo designs meant to be seen, you can choose the calf as your placement area. This spot is a fantastic option as it draws attention to your leg and thigh muscles. A koi fish tattoo will work well in this spot, too, because it has a unique and symbolic design. The calf is also low on the pain scale so that you can get a more extensive and more detailed plan. 

Realistic Koi Fish Tattoo

Realistic tattoos are uniquely fantastic tattoo designs that are pretty popular with both men and women. Tattoo designs made in this style are created to look like they are honest and are about to swim off your skin. Choose a skilled artist if you want a beautifully rendered realistic koi fish tattoo.

Watercolor Koi Fish Tattoo

Among the newest tattoo techniques, the watercolor style is one of the fastest ones to become famous. It is understandable because designs using this technique come out amazing at all times. The design features a combination of shades expertly blended. Thus it looks like a painting on your skin. This design is also perfect for doing a koi fish tattoo if you want a conversation piece because the outcome will be relaxed and stylish. On the other hand, this tattoo style tends to age faster than others, so it is best to choose a placement that is not exposed to sunlight.  


What is the significance of a koi image?

The koi is not only considered as a good luck charm for the household, but it also signifies perseverance in the face of adversity. The koi represents the struggles in life that a person needs to overcome in order to succeed.

What does two koi fishes mean?

Drawings of two kois are almost as common as those of single koi. The two koi tattoos art typically depicted as swimming together or in opposite directions. in opposition, the tattoo follows the yin yang convention, where there is balance and harmony in opposites.

What does a yin yang koi symbolize?

The Yin and Yang symbol in Koi tattoos is a core Eastern religious or philosophical belief in the balance of life and nature. Life is not complete if there is an imbalance. As a tattoo, it represents a person’s search for peace and harmony with a balanced life.

How complex are koi fish tattoos?

Traditional koi fish tattoos are almost always drawn in the traditional manner, complete with scales, and flowing fins. Depending on the source material, there can be other elements to the tattoo, including fire and water, dragons, cherry blossoms and lotus flowers. With all these elements, a koi fish tattoo can be very complex and requires a large space for the tattoo.

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Top 47 Koi Fish Tattoo Ideas [ Inspiration Guide]

When it comes to Koi tattoos you&#;ll find all sorts of different colors, patterns, scales and technical applications.

In Japanese art and tattoo the koi fish is a symbol of masculinity. Flags of the fish are raised on May 5 every year when a new son is born to the household, in the hope they grow strong.

You&#;ll find them in blue, red, yellow, black, motley or bright orange.

In Japanese mythology every koi that swims up the Chinese Yellow River and bests the waterfalls known as the “Dragon’s Gate” is transformed from a fish into a mythical dragon.

Many Irezumi feature Koi and dragons together negotiating turbulent waters to signify toughness and durability.

Koi are also associated with flowers such as the lotus, chrysanthemum, and sakura (cherry blossom).

In these 50 best koi fish tattoo designs you&#;ll find a cool collections of Koi tattoos designs you can make part of your next tattoo design.

1. Koi Fish Upper Arm Tattoo Ideas

Koi Fish Leg Calf Tattoo On Man

Cool Koi Fish Tattoo Designs For Men

Bicep Koi Fish Tattoo For Men

Dragon Koi Fish Men's Tattoos Half Sleeve

Cool Japanese Half Sleeve Koi Fish Tattoo For Men

Color Men's Koi Fish Leg Tattoo

This colorful little piece uses a more illustrative style to depict a koi fish. The variation of the scales—clusters of orange, yellow, red and black—does well to capture the patterns on the bodies of these fish. The lotus flowers, representing rising above and reaching enlightenment, add to the meaning and story this tattoo tells. The colors are all well-saturated and the bold, black line work defines all of the fish’s different features. This simple, vibrant tattoo is a good example of the style.

Guy With Koi Fish Flower Tattoo On Arm

Koi Fish Tattoo Outline For Men

Here is an example of a koi tattoo that incorporates some more modern techniques to create an interesting design. The use of black and brown for the shading of the fish helps the gold and yellow tones in the lotus to really pop. The more realistic style of the design is also a departure from some of the more traditional Japanese pieces. The way the shadow of the fish is still visible within the highlight cutting across the image is a lovely detail that demonstrates the time and thought that went into the design.

2. Koi Fish Full Sleeve Tattoo Designs

Koi Fish Dragon Tattoo For Men

Koi Fish Arm Tattoo For Men Sleeve

This tattoo uses imagery from different Asian cultures to help create an interesting full sleeve. At the top of the arm, on the shoulder is a Chinese guardian lion, also known as a “fu dog”. These act as guardians in the Feng Shui tradition and many people believe they can transfer these protective powers to the wearer. The black koi swimming up towards the fu dog could represent working to overcome difficult circumstances and enter into the protection of the animal. The cherry blossoms add a touch of color and further meaning to this interesting piece. The attention to detail is apparent: notice the claw marks that lead to the feet of the fu dog and the round ball under its foot that represents the world that it is protecting over.

Creative Tattoos Koi Fish Sleeves

This is another, beautiful koi tattoo that uses black and grey along with dazzling color to help it stand out from other tattoos. The shading and line work on the roiling water is well-executed and provides the perfect backdrop, allowing the colors to pop. The way the water flows over the fish in places, slightly altering the color of the scales, is an interesting detail that displays the artist’s skill and imagination. The design also incorporates Japanese maple, known as the “tolerance tree”, which, in Japanese ukiyo-e paintings represents, love and autumn.

Male With Koi Fish Back Tattoo

Koi Fish Half Sleeve Tattoo For Men

This gorgeous tattoo uses different elements to create an interesting piece that stands out among koi designs. The use of negative space for the fins of the fish, the precise line work and the deep and fully saturated black in the background make for a powerful tattoo. The cherry blossoms add a splash of color and represent the fleeting but beautiful nature of life while the fish swimming up, against the current represents overcoming difficult circumstances. The most noticeable feature of this piece is the shape and design of the scales: adding this extra level of detail to the surface of the fish’s scales takes this tattoo to the next level.

Koi Fish Tattoo Half Sleeve For Men

Koi Fish Tattoo Forearm Men

This vibrant full sleeve takes elements of traditional Japanese design and adds a personalized flavor along with a more realistic style to create a striking tattoo. The varying gradients of blue in the waves, from deep and dark all the way to white, gives a depth to the tattoo that improves the overall design. The bright golds and yellows of the Koi contrast with the surrounding waves well, while the skull at the bottom adds another color to the palate, helping make for an interesting tattoo. Once, again we see the koi swimming up and away from an image that often represents struggle and hardship while the lotus represents enlightenment.

Koi Fish Tattoos For Men

This is an interesting sleeve for a number of reasons. The expert shading allows this tattoo to remain captivating despite the limited color palate, while the direction of the fish in relation to the Japanese demon, or Oni, has a deeper significance. The fish are swimming up and away from the demon, possibly symbolizing overcoming personal obstacles or problems. The intentional use of negative space in this design uses the wearer’s blank skin to add contrast and allow the dark tones of the tattoo to stand out, drawing the eye up and down the arm.

Men's Blue Koi Fish Tattoo

This is a gorgeous piece that makes use of a very interesting color palate for this black koi. The use of brown in the shading of the waves and the head of the fish is an interesting choice and helps set this piece apart from other similar designs. The yellow on the edges of the fish’s fins and the incorporation of several lotus flowers adds color and imparts another layer of meaning: lotus flowers are prized all across Asia for the way they grow out of murky water, only to rise above mud and bloom. They feature in the origin story of Buddhism and represent an individual’s enlightenment.

Traditional Men's Koi Fish Tattoo

Koi Fish Yin Yang Tattoo For Men

Red Koi Fish Sleeve Tattoo For Men

This stunning piece is a great example of a koi fish tattoo. While each tattoo’s meaning and symbolism is unique to the individual, in the world of koi red is often associated with an intense love as well as strength, power and bravery. The deep saturation of the colors helps this tattoo come alive. The incorporation of other Japanese artistic elements like the waves in the water and black and grey shading tie everything together and contribute to the overall composition. The blue in the eye of the fish is also a nice touch that adds a bit of contrast to this excellent piece.

3. Hikae: Chest and Upper Arm Koi Tattoo Art


Manly Red And Blue Koi Fish Men's Tattoo

Shoulder Dragon Koi Fish Tattoo For Men

Tattoo Koi Fish For Men

This is an interesting sleeve that that goes in a different direction from other, more colorful pieces. However, the lack of bright colors does nothing to diminish the quality of this tattoo. The upper portion features an Oni, a demon in traditional Japanese mythology, as well as cherry blossoms, another important symbol in Japanese culture. The black koi, placed on the forearm and often associated with overcoming obstacles, makes use of precise shading to create a lovely piece. When the two images are taken together, the symbolism of this tattoo could represent successfully working to overcome ones’ own demons. This is a great tattoo, full of interesting features and personal significance.

Shoulder Men's Tattoos Of Koi Fish

This intricate, black and grey piece uses a Japanese dragon as well as the koi fish to create a well-balanced tattoo. In Japanese mythology every koi fish that climbs up the waterfalls known as the “Dragon’s Gate” is transformed from a fish into one of these mythical creatures. The positioning of the fish, swimming up the arm, turning towards the chest could symbolize a transformation or rebirth of the wearer or prevailing over an obstacle. The use of white to highlight features of the dragon and the koi adds contrast and helps this tattoo pop.

4. Black and Gray Koi Tattoos


Koi Fish Tattoo Color Meaning For Men

Koi Fish Shoulder Tattoo For Men

Guy's Koi Fish Tattoo Ideas

Guy's Black And White Koi Fish Tattoo

This full arm sleeve takes the familiar elements of koi and cherry blossoms and creates an interesting piece. The change in tone and design from the wrist to the shoulder imparts a dynamic feel and a sense of movement that draws the eye up and down the entire length of the piece. The darker portion at the wrist could symbolize a difficult period or traumatic experience, with the fish swimming up and away, towards the lighter, more open section at the shoulder. The cherry blossoms on the upper portion of the tattoo further reinforce this interpretation: the beauty and transient nature of existence can be experienced despite the hardships inherent in life.

Small Koi Fish Tattoo For Men

Men's Koi Fish Arm Tattoo In Black Ink

This tattoo uses black and grey to great effect. The precision and consistency of the line work on the scales is excellent and the incorporation of the traditional waves serves as a backdrop and improves the composition of the piece. The koi, swimming upstream, often symbolizes continuing struggle and sometimes represents a wearer’s feeling of swimming against the current. The use of white to highlight parts of the face adds a depth to the tattoo and the white on the scales helps in their definition and allows this piece to standout despite the lack of color.

5. Koi Leg Tattoos

Men's Koi Fish And Lotus Flower Tattoo

Koi Fish Tattoo Meaning For Men

Here is a piece that takes a completely different approach to these meaningful tattoos. This piece uses an illustrative style to create a tattoo that feels almost like a gesture drawing. While the sketch is loose and minimalistic, thanks to subtle details like the broad hatching used for the scales and the conspicuous barbels, there is no doubt of what type of fish this is. Incorporating a lotus flower adds to the composition while the water color style perfectly complements the overall aesthetic of the tattoo.

Leg Sleeve Koi Fish Tattoo On Man

Koi Fish Tattoos For Guys On Legs

Men's Red Koi Fish Tattoo On Leg

Koi Fish And Dragon Tattoo Mens On Arm

Here is beautiful example of the style. It is hard to find any flaws in this tattoo: the colors are completely saturated, and the shading is expertly done. The flow that is created by the swirling, black water in the background perfectly frames the fish and improves the composition of this dynamic tattoo. The shading and color gradation on the scales, from black to red to orange to white, is flawless and the white highlights over the deep black in the water adds a depth to the piece that draws the eye in. This is wonderful piece that will draw the attention of novices and experts alike.

6. Upper Body and Rib Koi Fish Tattoo Art


Masculine Koi Fish Rib Cage Side Tattoos

This side piece features two koi, one black and one red and white as well as two lotus blossoms. Red often symbolizes power and strength, and black represents overcoming obstacles. The position of the fishes is also interesting. With one swimming up and the other swimming down they form a yin-yang, an Asian symbol for the balance and harmony of all things. The red koi also has a gold coin in its mouth representing good luck and wealth. The restrained use of color on this tattoo lets the line work stand out while the use of negative space to highlight parts of the koi as well as the waves helps make the image pop.

Man With Koi Fish Sleeve And Chest Tattoos

Koi Fish Tattoo Sleeve For Men

These two chest pieces work together to create a lovely and meaningful juxtaposition: koi are said to transform into dragon’s once the climb the “Dragon’s Gate” and this is represented with these pieces. The shading on the scales is precise and well executed and the white on the highlights helps to add depth to this piece. The black background, a common feature in Japanese tattoos, allows the colors to really pop. Another interesting feature of this tattoo is the details: notice on the fish, that the background is made up of waves crashing while the dragon has roiling clouds behind its head. Attention to details like these makes for a more interesting piece overall.

7. Koi Fish Back Tattoo Ideas


Colorful Koi Fish Men's Tattoos On Back

Manly Black And Grey Koi Fish Tattoo On Back

This back piece uses black and grey shading to depict four koi fish, swimming up-stream, symbolizing resilience and determination in the face of adversity. The artist also left the eyes blank, giving the fish a more ominous look that sets the piece apart from other koi design. The way the waves appear to flow over the fish thanks to expert highlighting is also an interesting feature and is a testament to the artist’s skill. Small details, like the grass in the bottom left of the tattoo as well as the bold line work on the waves help to make this one of a kind piece stand out from other similar tattoos.

8. Twin Sleeve Koi Tattoos

Men's Koi Fish Tattoo On Arms

Full Sleeve Japanese Koi Fish Tattoo For Men

Here is wonderful piece that stays true to the traditional style while taking advantage of a bright and vibrant color scheme. The simple design on the scales works well to avoid looking cluttered or messy while perfectly portraying these meaningful fish. The extensive black, grey and negative space swirls that form the background of this large piece uses expert shading to help the colorful fish and flowers standout. Another interesting design element can be seen in the way that the koi are swimming up one arm and down the other, forming a yin-yang that represents the balance and harmony in all things.

9. Upper Arm Black and Gray Tattoos

Yin Yang Koi Fish Tattoos For Men

Black Koi Fish Men's Tattoo Designs On Arm

Koi Tattoo Designs in Progress

Koi Fish Tattoo Design For Men

Best Koi Fish Full Sleeve Tattoo Males

This is an interesting sleeve that that goes in a different direction from other, more colorful pieces. However, the lack of bright colors does nothing to diminish the quality of this tattoo. The upper portion features an Oni, a demon in traditional Japanese mythology, as well as cherry blossoms, another important symbol in Japanese culture. The black koi, placed on the forearm and often associated with overcoming obstacles, makes use of precise shading to create a lovely piece. When the two images are taken together, the symbolism of this tattoo could represent successfully working to overcome ones’ own demons. This is a great tattoo, full of interesting features and personal significance.

Koi Fish Back Tattoo Designs For Males

Koi Fish Tattoo FAQs

What does a koi fish tattoo symbolize?

These lovely fish are an essential element in Japanese art and are packed full of meaning. Koi fish can represent a myriad of different emotions and themes in life, including familial or romantic love, overcoming adverse circumstances or simply good luck. 

Depending on the color and the orientation of the fish, different meanings can be assigned to these images. Fish swimming up can represent struggle and perseverance while koi swimming the opposite direction often represent having already achieved success and are now swimming with the current. In Japan, each koi is associated with a different member of the family. Red koi are often associated with an intense love as well as representing the mother of the family. Black koi often represent struggling and overcoming an obstacle and is also the symbol of the father. Black koi are common tattoos for people who have dealt with addiction or other traumatic events and managed to come out the other side.  

This is just a glimpse of the deep traditional meaning and symbolism associated with these remarkable fish. While every tattoo’s meaning is unique to the wearer, these fish have inherent significance, that with a bit of research can help someone find a koi to suit their attitudes and life experiences.

What does the combination of black, red, and blue koi tattoos mean?

On May 5, Japanese households hoist koi flags to signify their hope that their male children grow strong to rival heroic figure Kintaro (similar to Hercules), who once wrestled a giant carp.

In Japanese traditional back tattoos, the black koi (magoe) is the father, red koi (higoe) is mother, and the blue carp (kigoe) is the child, while other koi are linked with wealth, success, or love.


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+ Best Japanese Koi Fish Tattoos and their Meaning

Koi is a Japanese word that translates as carp and koi fish can also be referred to as cap fish. Koi fish tattoos have become some of the popular tattoo choices that one can consider settling for. The reason for its popularity lies majorly in its beauty and colourfulness.

Colours have a way of making any design that they are used on to pop and with an enhanced visual appeal. Wearing koi fish tattoo has a way of enhancing the wearer&#;s visual appeal.


Koi fish tattoos look great on both men and women. The actual fish are full of energy especially when found in their natural habitat. The fish are associated with a lot of meanings and symbolism that many people find to be relatable. The design below looks magnificent and has a beautiful colour combination.

Meanings associated with koi fish tattoos

Koi fish tattoos have been for several years been used as a cultural symbol by the Japanese. Various stories have been said of how these fish do climb waterfalls that have strong currents. The tattoos are symbolic of various qualities such as an ability to overcome adversity.

The Japanese also have a narrative about koi fish that reinforces its great qualities. It says that koi fish swam against the current that was in the yellow river and reached the dragon gate and then turned into a dragon.

Koi fish tattoo design below looks spectacular with the piercing yellow and golden colours bringing life to the actual design.

Many people have used koi fish tattoos as an inspiration for overcoming adversity. Koi fish represents perseverance, strength, tenacity, independence, and good luck amongst other virtues.

Wearing koi fish tattoo acts as a sign of bravery and a reminder of good luck.

Koi fish tattoos come in diverse colours and styles. The scales of the fish are also decorated with adorable patterns which look great when inked. One thing that makes koi fish tattoos to be popular with male tattoo enthusiasts is the great qualities the tattoo represents.

The design below looks cute and fits perfectly well on the arm where it&#;s worn. Koi fish tattoos are large and therefore require wide spaces if the design is to look perfect.

Colourful koi fish tattoo ideas

If you are a fun of colourful tattoos then koi fish tattoo is an ideal choice that&#;s worth considering. Koi fish tattoos have a variety of patterns, colours and scales and each blends quite well for a magnificent outlook.

Red colour is such an energetic colour and a great sign of masculine love. The design below has beautiful hues of red colour that combines well with other shades.

Colour red symbolises other things as well such as life for the colour of blood is red. Koi fish tattoo below has magnificent shades of colour that blend quite well. It takes a lot of expertise to come out with such an adorable piece of artwork.

Koi fish tattoo according to the Japanese is a symbol of masculinity. The flag with pictures of the fish even gets raised when a son is born in the homes. The different colours of the koi fish have different meanings as well. The black colour is a sign of tribute for overcoming change with a victory.

The blue colour as used n koi fish tattoo symbolizes challenge and reproduction. It also symbolizes the dragon that goes to the yellow river and ying-yang which symbolises balance.

Koi fish tattoo design below looks fabulous and o realistic. It can easily be perceived as an outfit on the wearer. The array of colours used in the design are great and blends perfectly well.

The symbolism of Koi Fish Tattoos

The traditional significance of koi fish tends to vary depending on the orientation of the fish. The significance is determined by the colour of the fish and the direction its heading to whether upwards or downwards.

Koi fish tattoos symbolize courage and strength which is associated with the Japanese and Chinese myth of koi fish becoming a dragon. As much as the use of several colours is common with koi fish tattoos, one colour can still be used. The design below looks beautiful with the dark colours used.

One is free to apply a symbolism that appeals to them as they settle on the ideal koi fish tattoo to ink. When the tattoo is inked while facing upwards, it shows that the wearer is in a battle and facing obstacles but opts to never give up. It also means that the wearer has overcome battles and has gained the necessary strength to progress against the current.

Koit fish tattoo design below looks beautiful and shows koi fish facing upwards which is an inspiring symbol of strength.

When koi fish tattoo is inked while facing downstream, its an indicator that the wearer still lacks the strength required to overcome the obstacles. It may also mean that the wearer has already faced the challenges and overcome them successfully.

The beauty of koi fish tattoos

One thing that makes koi fish tattoos to be adorable is the ability to adapt to different water conditions and climate. It&#;s inherent in the nature of koi fish to swim upstream which is a sign of strength, great determination and success.

Koi fish tattoos also symbolise things like;

  • Ability to overcome obstacles and realize goals
  • Inspires aspiration and advancement
  • Good luck, prosperity and long life
  • Independence, power, masculinity, friendship and passionate love.

Koi fish were originally bred for distinct colours and there are meanings that each of the colours are associated with. Some of the common colours of koi fish include;

  • Red
  • Black
  • White
  • Yellow
  • Gold
  • Blue
  • Grey
  • Cream

The below design is a dynamic blend of colours which also shows koi fish swimming upstream. The tattoo is a complex piece of artwork and looks adorable.

Koi fish tattoo is predominantly designed with black and blue colours. The tattoo looks spectacular with the direction of the fish symbolising strength and versatility.

Black colour signifies a successful triumph over obstacles. The colour is an expression that the wearer has undergone great obstacles in life and emerged victoriously.

Cool koi fish tattoo design ideas

The upper parts of the arm is a beautiful place for wearing koi fish tattoos. The one colour used in the design looks cool and blends well with the wearer complexion. The colour is also an expression of victory over obstacles.

Since koi fish tattoos are normally large in size, it really takes an expert artist to bring out all the key features beautifully. The tattoo is beautifully designed with every bit of feature expressing great precision.

Red is another dominant colour that&#;s common with koi fish tattoos. Red colour is an expression of love and a very intense one. Power and bravery are also symbolised by the red colour. The below design has a combination of predominant red and other shades of colours. The colours blend quite well and the design is quite eye-catching.

Koi fish tattoos also use a combination of yellow and golden colours. The gold colour is a symbol of wealth and fortune. The design below looks elegant and fits well on the upper arm where it&#;s worn.

Beautiful koi fish tattoo elements

There are several symbols and elements that koi fish tattoos comprise of. There is the yin-yang symbol, the dragons, water and fire elements and the lotus or flower elements. The elements when beautifully incorporated a way of enhancing the beauty and elegance of the design.

The tattoo design below expresses a combination of most of the elements that are used in designing koi fish tattoos. Use of flowers, colours and other elements has in a great way enhanced the visual appeal of the design.

Koi fish has been said by legends to have become a dragon by the end of its long and difficult journey. Wearing the tattoo is a perfect expression of transformation and can be very inspiring to the wearer.

The dragon koi symbolises strength and the will to endure all the odds until success is realized. Wearing a dragon-themed koi fish tattoo, therefore, reinforces the meanings associated with the design to the wearer.

Adorable koi fish tattoo design ideas

If you are looking into something that creates an instant appeal then inking koi fish tattoo is a good choice. The tattoo looks elegant in so many ways an with a professional artist, you are more likely to design something that&#;s extremely beautiful.

Incorporating lotus flower with koi fish tattoos brings life and beauty to the entire design. The tattoo design below looks quite adorable with the pink and dark colours blending quite well.

Koi fish tattoos are extremely beautiful and very intricately designed. It takes a lot of expertise to blend all the features as each part of the design require great attention. The combination of gold and blue in the designs below brings out such an eye-catching appeal.

Wearing koi fish tattoo is an expression of commitment and perseverance until success is realized. The array of beautiful colours used in the design express a rich meaning and symbolism. The downward expression of the koi fish shows that the wearer has endured it all, overcome the obstacles and gained success.

Nothing brings out the cool masculine features of men like adorning koi fish tattoo. The multicoloured tattoo design looks amazing one the chest and shoulder area its worn. The design is quite captivating and enhances the cool features of the wearer&#;s.

Placement of koi fish tattoos

Placement of koi fish tattoos is a key factor that should be looked into as one settles on the best design to wear. Some of the common places that many people consider wearing koi fish tattoos are the arms. The arm is quite ideal as it has sufficient space where the tattoo artist can ink without much interference.


The leg is another ideal placement for koi fish tattoos. The leg is not only long but also has a wider space which makes the increasing process to happen easily. Koi tattoo design below looks cute in the one colour used and fits well in the thighs.

The upper part of the back is another suitable place for wearing koi fish tattoos. The back has a large space and since koi fish tattoos are large enough, inking on the back is much easier. If you don&#;t want your tattoo to be seen by all then you can consider wearing your tattoo on the back.

Wearing koi fish tattoos at the rib cage looks magnificent just like the one below. The tattoo is beautifully designed and enhances the masculine features of the wearer.

Koi fish tattoo design below is a beautiful expression of yin-yang and blends well with the elements used. The incorporation of beautiful flowers and the colours used has a way of bringing life and elegance to the design.

Stunning koi fish tattoos for men

As much as koi fish tattoos can be worn by both men and women, there are designs that look great in men. The aspect of strength and perseverance is one thing that makes the tattoo design to be a great preference for men.

Even though koi fish are available in diverse colours, it&#;s still cool to have the tattoo inked in one colour. The below design is beautifully design and looks great in one colour.

Professional tattoo artists have great ways of combining elements to a design in a way that makes the entire design to pop. The combination of several features and colour looks epic and an ideal design for men.

The shoulder is a great place for wearing koi ink tattoos and looks great on men. The beautiful blend of colours and elements adds to the versatility of the design.

Inking a swimming koi fish tattoo represents determination and advancement. Wearing two or a variety of fish together expresses love and relationship. The design below looks magnificent both in size and style. The colour combination and other elements incorporated also blend quite well.

Lotus flowers are quite beautiful and work as a good blend for the koi fish tattoos. The design below looks fantastic and fits quite well on the am where its worn.

The significance of koi fish tattoos

Koi fish tattoos are adorned with beautiful colours with each colour having great significance to the wearer. An array of golden colours represent wealth. The design below looks adorable as the fish is shown swimming upwards which is a sign of triumph.

Black shades used in a koi fish tattoo also signifies adversity or the obstacles that one needs to contend with to realize success. The design looks cool and enhances the overall outlook of the wearer.

Koi fish tattoos that are inked in black tend to express the masculine features of men. The design is large enough and covers the entire arm of the wearer.

Koi fish tattoos may also be designed with some exaggerated features such as the scales and the eyes. The design below shows exaggerated eyes and all that works to enhance the overall outlook.

Colour is also used in a way that magnifies the actual koi fish tattoo and also creates an adorable outlook. The blue and golden colours make a perfect blend.

Such a beautiful artistic design of koi fish tattoos. The colour choice and combination of elements looksmagnificent and greaton the wearer&#;s arm.

Full arm koi fish tattoo design ideas

If you are considering wearing full arm koi fish tattoos then you can get some cool ideas below. The design below looks so realistic with the actual koi fish design bringing life to the entire design.

Apart from the full arm design, you can also consider inking the design at the rib cage as below. The tattoo looks fabulous and covers the entire rib cage area which is great.

You can consider wearing a large design of koi fish tattoos on the back. It looks elegant and expresses an intricate piece of artwork.

Water and flowers are beautiful symbols that bring life to koi fish tattoo design. The elements enhance the feminine features of the wearer and look great.

The downward swimming golden koi fish tattoo looks spectacular with the splashing waters. The design looks cool on the upper arm where it&#;s worn.

Choosing koi fish tattoos

Settling on an ideal koi fish tattoo to design is never a simple matter. There are a lot of considerations that should be taken into account before deciding on inking a design.

Ensure that you settle for a design that you will be comfortable with in the long-term.

If you prefer a larger design then you should settle for a place where the design can fit well. Large tattoos require a wider space that the artist can also be comfortable with.

Hygiene is very important and should be looked into when considering a studio to be inked in. The studio should be one that observes a clean work environment. Lack of proper hygiene can easily lead to infection and use of tools that are not sterilized.

Tattoos are personal and should reflect an aspect one&#;s personality or character that is unique to them.  When choosing a design to ink, you can also incorporate a few features that reflect your uniqueness.

You can consider incorporating elements that you find to be more appealing to you. Koi fish tattoos are elegant and the choice of one colour looks adorable.

Aftercare for koi fish tattoos

Koi fish tattoos are normally large and cover a wider area of the body. One should be aware of the right aftercare to give in order to avoid any form of contamination or infection.


Engaging in proper aftercare helps in ensuring that you don&#;t get any infection. Since the tattoo industry is not regulated in some areas, there are some vital things that can be ignored by the artist. one should ensure that they are well versed with the right aftercare to give the tattoos.

To protect the tattoo from infection, ensure that it&#;s covered in a layer of petroleum jelly and some bandage immediately after inking. You can then remove the bandage after 24 hours.

Once you have removed the bandage, wash the tattoo with soap and water then pat to dry. You can then apply some layer of antibacterial ointment at least twice a day.

Ensure that you wash the tattoo area several times a day with soap and water then pat to dry. You can then apply ointment once its dry.

Aftercare process should be repeated for between 2 &#; 4 weeks or until the tattoo is cleaned. You should also avoid wearing clothes that are likely to stick to the tattoo. You should also avoid exposure to the sun and swimming.

Yin-yang koi fish tattoo symbol

The yin-yang symbols are popular with koi fish tattoos since they complement the Japanese philosophy and also honours the highly esteemed koi fish.

The symbol of yin-yang helps in reinforcing the element of balanc. One gets to know that there is the positive side of every negative thing that they might be going through.

The koi fish tattoo design below is intricately designed and looks cool on the wearer. It also acts as a good cover for any design that one may want to do away with.

Wearing a golden koi fish tattoo that seems to swim upstream in water looks magnificent. It also expresses the effort one needs to put to realize the desired goals.

The green colours used in the design below highlights the feaures of the tattoo in very dynamic ways.

The blue-eyed koi fish tattoo looks magnificent with magnified eyes and blue shades.

Red is such a beautiful colour and has a way of making the entire design to pop. Each of the elements used in the design adds to the intricacy of the design.

Elegant koi fish tattoo ideas

Such a magnificent piece of artwork with the dark coloured koi fish tattoo looking so adorable.

Bright colours have a way of enhancing the visual appeal of a design. The flowery shades of orange and green are so cute.

Combination of dark and red colour has a way of enhancing the beauty of a design. The one below looks elegant as the koi fish splashes through the water.

Coloured koi fish tattoos have a way of enhancing the feminine features of women. Wearing such in the thighs expresses such an adorable and sexy outlook.

A pair of koi fish tattoo is a symbol of good luck and also synonymous with happiness and harmony. The placement of the design is also perfect.

Nothing can hinder one from showing off the adorable pair of koi fish tattoos. The design is elegant and looks great with a backless top.

The details applied in this piece of artwork is just breathtaking. The golden colours makes the design to pop which is quite eye-catching.

Gold koi fish tattoo ideas

The symbol of gold in koi fish tattoo designs is one thing that many people find t be adorable. The shades of gold reinforces the feeling of wealth and success that&#;s associatedwith the design.

Even as you incorporate gold shades into your design, you should consider a combination of elements that blend well.

Application of gold shades in koi fish tattoo designs enhances the awareness of success. The dark shades may come as a hindrance but the awareness of success is enough to propel one to victory.

Gold colour is adorable and the place its worn enhances that feeling of opulence that come with the design.

Intricacy and elegance are the best words that describe koi fish design below. The sparkling gold colour is extremely beautiful.

Having dominant shades of black with a blend of lotus flowers makes the entire design to look so adorable.

Magnificent koi fish tattoos

Add some life and elegance to your koi fish design by incorporating a range of elements

The dark shades used in the design looks great and hghlights the beautiful colours used on the actual koi fish dsign.

The design below is quite magnificent with the coi fish tattoo expressed as swimming upwards.

Incorporating a range of colours and elements like in the design below adds to the intricacy of the design.

Cute Shoulder koi fish tattoos

The multicoloured koi fish tattoo design loo spectacular on the shoulder where its worn. The design is epic with all the features blending so well.

Bold and sparkling shades used in the design below expresses such an adorable look. The bold gold and orange colours used in the design looks spectacular.

Cool and simple koi fish tattoo design with very well defined lines is what describes the design below.

This is a bold koi fish tattoo with the scales looking so magnificent.

Koi fish tattoo is one design that men proudly wear without minding about the colour combination.

You can choose the size of the tattoo depending on what appeals to you. use of one colour also brings an element of uniqueness.


Realistic koi fish tattoo ideas

Create some illusion of reality with artistically designed koi fish tattoos.

Koi tattoos have such a sense of mysticism that makes the entire design to be quite intriguing. It&#;s quite eye-catching with a good blend of colours.

Koi fish tattoos are extremely beautiful and the features tend to pop regardless of the colours used in the design.

The golden colour is a sign of wealth and success. Wearing koi fish tattoos with dominant golden colours acts as a constant reminder in pursuit of wealth.

Such a realistic depiction of koi fish tattoo design. It looks beautiful with a cute combination of different colours.

Strength and determination are key values that koi fish tattoos symbolise. The design below shows koi fish wading through the dark shades that represent obstacles towards victory.

Such a cute dragon themed koi fish tattoo with beautiful blue colours that blend quite well. The design looks cute on the arm where it&#;s worn.

Let your cool masculine features pop with adorable koi fish tattoo design. The colour combination looks great and blends well with the wearer.

Amazing koi fish tattoos

From the colour choice to the elements the koi fish tattoo design below looks spectacular. The golden shades add to the beauty of the design.

Apart from settling for a design that appeals to our need, you can consider adding some unique features. The combination of elements in the design below expresses a fascinating piece of design.

Wearing sleeve-length koi ink tattoo is not for the fearful. The design looks adorable and highlights the wearer&#;s personality.

What a chic way to wear koi fish tattoos. The design is visually appealing and blends well with the wearer&#;s complexion.

Elements of fire and the dragon enhances the complexity and beauty of koi fish tattoos. The design looks fabulous on the wearer with masculine features beautifully expressed.

Beautiful koi fish tattoos for men

Colourful tattoos are not only a preserve for women, men can also try out these beautiful designs. The combination of pink flowers and the blue blends well with the koi fish design.

Colourful koi fish tattoos are quite charming to look at as the colours outline each of the features beautifully. The colourful flowers used in the design below blends well with each of the element in the design.

The vivid colours used in the design creates such a breathtaking outlook that cannot be ignored. The golden and fiery qualities express triumph and success which is great.

Full-sleeve koi fish tattoos are quite adorable and have a way of magnifying the sexy side of men. The design itself is not only captivating but also oozes a sense of strength and power.

The design below is remarkably fantastic going by the beautiful array of scales and other features. The magnified eyes enhance the overall outlook of the design.

The design below shows koi fish swimming against obstacles which are expressed in dark colours. As much as the obstacles may seem insurmountable, the koi fish has sufficient strength and determination to sail through.

Exceptional koi fish tattoo design ideas

Koi fish are known to show a great level of independence just as demonstrated in the design below. The full-sleeve design looks exceptional with the one colour used enhances the outlook.

If you are not scared of life problems and require some motivation to keep going then koi fish tattoos are the best choice. The below design is a beautiful artwork that expresses sophistication and elegance.

Wearing koi fish tattoos does not only express strength of the body but of inner strength. Wearing the tattoo acts as a constant reminder that one has the ability that&#;s required to overcome life obstacles.

The beautiful colours used in the design looks soft and adorable. The design is cute and expresses cool feminine features.

Covering the entire leg with koi fish tattoos expresses one&#;s love and appreciation for the art. The combination of colours create such an eye-catching appeal on the wearer.

Colour has a way of bringing life to a design and the swimming koi fish tattoos look epic on the face of the wearer. The design is quite bold and one needs to take various factors into consideration before wearing a tattoo on the face.

Koi fish tattoo has a rich symbolism in Chinese and Japanese culture. The symbolism stems from the ancient legends and how they related with the fish. The design below is artistically designed and look great.

Sours: https://www.inkme.tattoo/koi-fish-tattoo/

Koi Fish Tattoo Designs & Their Meaning

The traditional Japanese koi fish tattoo has many meanings, from prosperity to love and resilience. There are many ways to include koi in your tattoo. You can go from simple black and grey ink to colorful designs. Adding color to your koi fish adds to its symbolism. Other traditional Japanese elements, from demons to lotus flowers, will help you make the tattoo truly yours.

Meanings of Koi Fish Tattoos

The koi is a colorful fish that descends from the carp. They’re a highly esteemed species in Japanese culture thought to represent good fortune, and people often keep them as ornamental species in artificial ponds. 

Koi fish tattoos carry a lot of symbolism, such as masculinity and independence. Both the color and the position of the koi are important to define the meaning of this tattoo. 


A koi fish often symbolizes masculinity in Japan. Blue and white koi, in particular, are associated with male attributes and even reproduction. In a family, the blue koi is a symbol of the male son.


Red and pink koi represent femininity. Red is for the mother of a family, and pink is for the daughter.

Love and Passion

The red koi is also associated with love, especially the intense kind. It’s also associated with power and masculinity. If you want a reminder of your strength and passion, this color would be a great choice.


The golden koi symbolizes prosperity and good fortune. It’s one of the more popular colors, and it’s easy to understand why. If you want to attract material wealth, make sure your koi is golden or yellow.


Koi are often associated with overcoming difficult times. If you’ve had to struggle to overcome diseases, addictions or other hardships, you can represent it with a black koi. It can also mean you’re not afraid to confront hard situations head-on.

Another option is to depict the koi swimming upstream. This is considered a symbol of resilience, as the fish battles the currents to feed and spawn, the same way you battle to overcome hardships.


A koi swimming downstream implies the adversities have already been overcome. It indicates an independent spirit who’s capable of handling life’s obstacles. If you’re one of those people who march to the beat of their own drum, this is a great choice. 

Elements to Add to Your Koi Tattoo Design

Koi are usually surrounded by waves and splashes of water, but you can also design the fish on its own. Here are some ideas for other traditional Japanese elements you can add to your ink.

Lotus Flowers

The lotus flower is a symbol of purity and rebirth. It’s a beautiful and delicate flower that thrives even in the dirtiest water. Lotus flowers are a great tattoo for a person from humble beginnings or someone who has had to overcome major obstacles.

Cherry Blossoms

Cherry blossoms are a very short-lived, light pink flower that brings in the spring. They symbolize rebirth and new beginnings, but they also remind you to always live in the present.


Peonies are also known in Japan as the King of flowers, and they symbolize prosperity and good fortune. You can place them around your koi fish to bring you even more good luck.


The dragon in Japanese and Chinese cultures is a well-meaning creature associated with water, rainfall and fertility. It also represents wisdom, strength and prosperity, which is why the koi and the dragon go well together.

In Japanese tradition, koi were believed to morph into dragons if they reached the Dragon’s Gate waterfall of the Yellow River. However, only the strongest fish were able to swim upstream all the way there. 

That’s why many people include a dragon in their koi fish tattoos. It symbolizes the strength and persistence needed to reach your goals. 


The Japanese demon oni is sometimes included in a koi tattoo, as well. Oni is a fearful, evil creature that usually has horns and sometimes three eyes. They are the guardians of hell who torture sinners.

You can incorporate the oni in your koi fish tattoo to represent the evil forces or hardships you’ve overcome.


Kintaro is a mythical samurai, the Golden Boy of Japanese legends. In one of the most famous stories about him, Kintaro wrestles a giant koi and finally defeats it. 

Tattoos of Kintaro and the koi tend to be very large, even covering the full body. It’s important to convey the two in the middle of an energetic battle. 

These symbolize strength, courage and above all, perseverance, all attributes of the samurai parents wish for their children.

Yin and Yang

Sometimes, two koi fish, one white and one black, are represented as yin and yang. They represent balance, masculinity and femininity, and some use them as a symbol of a happy marriage.


Fire and water together symbolize balance and a union of opposites. This could mean the different sides of your personality in perfect harmony. It can also symbolize your union with another person who completes you.

Placements and Colors

Koi fish tattoos tend to range from moderate to large. They look better in bigger sizes, so most people choose wider areas of the body for this tattoo. 


The most common placement for a koi tattoo is on the arms. It’s easily visible there, and you have a decent-sized canvas to work with for even more complex designs. 

You can design a small fish swimming up or downstream on your arm. If you want it to be unnoticeable but always present for you, use the inside of your wrist or your forearm. These designs look good in either black and white or in color.

Men usually do a full sleeve with a koi together with an oni or dragon to portray their strength and persistence. Many choose darker colors, even depicting the water in tones of black and grey.

Women who go for the sleeve often choose peonies or lotus flowers floating on the water alongside the koi. This can help brighten the colors with some pink and purple, but also adds to the symbolism.


One option is to place a moderate-sized koi on your calves, or a small one on your ankle. You’ll get the symbolism you want, but at the same time, you’ll keep it subtle.

Some choose a bigger koi, or include it as part of a full-body tattoo. If this is your case, you can add plenty of different elements and koi of all sizes. It also looks good if you want to add some color to your ink.

Shoulders and Chest

You can place the koi right on top of your shoulder, crossing from one side to the other. Another option is to continue it directly from the sleeve, over your shoulder and the chest. This kind of tattoo looks especially good if you perform it on both sides of the body.

If you go with a demon or a dragon with your koi fish, this is one of the best body parts. You can consider placing the demon on top and the fish at the bottom, swimming towards them. This means you’re not afraid to take on the toughest challenges.

The most common tones for these kinds of tattoos are black and red. They convey the symbolism of strength and courage.


The back is the perfect place for really large-scale koi tattoos. A giant koi with Kintaro is one option to occupy the entire back. Another possibility is a slightly smaller fish in the middle of your upper back.

Cover your back with many different, colorful koi to symbolize your multiple strengths and challenges in life.

Best Koi Fish Tattoos

Sours: https://authoritytattoo.com/koi-fish-tattoos/

Fish tattoo koi water

Koi fish represents one of the most iconic symbols of Asian tradition and traditional Asian tattoos. This wonderful symbol carries many incredible meanings and can be adjusted for breathtaking tattoo design.

If you want to get a Koi fish tattoo, we recommend you continue reading for a better understanding of the symbolism and how the fish fits you, and the tattoo design you may have in mind. So, without further ado, let&#;s get started!

What Is A Koi Fish?

What Is A Koi Fish?

Koi fish has a long history and an incredible impact on the culture of China and Japan. Its name, Koi fish, originates from the Japanese name Nishikigoi, which translated means &#;brocaded carp&#;.

The fish was and still is, kept for decorative purposes in outdoor ponds or water gardens, characteristic of the Japanese royal and wealthy tradition. The color variations this fish can have all stems from genetic mutations lasting millions of years.

The distinguished coloration, pattern, and scalation have made the Koi fish a suitable centerpiece of many Asian legends and traditional stories. The Koi fish can have color schemes including white, orange, red, black, blue, yellow, and cream.

Because &#;Koi&#; in Japanese is a homophone for another word meaning love and affection, the Koi fish is often a symbol of love, friendship, and commitment in Japan.

Koi Fish And The Golden Dragon Legend

Koi Fish And The Golden Dragon Legend

Koi fish is one of the main symbols of Asian legends and traditional stories, old as much as thousands of years.

However, the very legend of Koi fish originates from China, or the more specific the river Huang Ho, also known as the Yellow River.

At this river, the Koi fish were known to grow incredibly strong, since they managed to swim against the current.

According to the Chinese and Japanese myth, thousands of Koi fish continued to battle the current, until they eventually reached a waterfall on the Yellow River.

Upon seeing the waterfall and recognizing that this obstacle is impossible, many fish gave up and return to swimming with the current.

However, a small number of Koi fish was determined to reach the top of the waterfall.

Meanwhile, demons saw the fish battling the waterfall, and decided to make the waterfall larger and even more challenging.

At last, only one Koi fish managed to reach the top after years of trying. Upon reaching the top, the gods rewarded the fish by transforming it into a golden dragon.

Because of this myth, Koi fish is regarded in Chinese tradition as a symbol of determination, perseverance, and the ability to reach any goal.

Also Read: 14 Best Dragon Tattoo Designs: Mesopotamian, East Asia Or Europe?

Koi Fish Tattoo Meaning

The Direction In Which The Fish Swims

The meaning of what Koi fish represents can be numerous. It varies from one person to the other, but some symbolism and meaning are set in stone when it comes to Koi fish tattoos.

Here are some of the main meanings and symbolism of a Koi fish tattoo in regards to the direction in which it swims;

  • Koi fish swimming upstream &#; such a depiction of a Koi fish can carry a load of meaning. Some of the symbolism includes battle, struggle, obstacles, perseverance, and commitment to the goal. It can also represent strength and ability to go against the current, no matter what it takes.
  • Koi fish swimming downstream &#; this usually carries a meaning that you&#;re in a process of deciding what is it that you want in life and that you may not yet possess the strength to go against yourself and the current. But, it can also mean that you&#;ve already reached the &#;top of the waterfall&#;, and now you&#;re enjoying the slow swimming down the current, enjoying your success and the fact that you fought the obstacles successfully.

The Color Of The Koi Fish

The Color Of The Koi Fish

Koi fish can have numerous colors. The fish have been originally bred to have multiple, distinct colors, and truth to be told, the colors tend to be breathtaking.

So, each color of the Koi fish carries a different meaning and symbolism. In regards to each color, here&#;s what a Koi fish tattoo can mean;

  • Red Koi fish &#; the main symbolism of a red Koi fish is love, power, strength, bravery, and motherhood. This is one of the most common color choices for a Koi fish tattoo since it is striking and enhances the tattoo design.
  • Black Koi fish &#; the black color for a Koi fish tattoo is usually chosen by men, since it represents masculinity, and often fatherhood. However, it can also symbolize overcoming struggles and winning battles in life, which is something everybody experiences and can relate to.
  • White Koi fish &#; a white Koi fish tattoo symbolizes success in one&#;s career and business endeavors. It can also represent a powerful transformation, growth, and a sense of rebirth after a significant event in life.
  • Blue Koi fish &#; the blue color of the Koi fish tattoo symbolizes masculinity and fertility. However, it can also carry the meaning of calmness (as in calm, blue waters), peace, and serenity.
  • Gold Koi fish &#; the golden color, or the variations of gold with orange or yellow tones symbolizes the actual transformation of the Koi fish into the golden dragon. From there, the meanings can include prosperity, strength to overcome obstacles, good fortune or luck, wealth, etc. Because of the symbolism and meaning, gold is the most common choice for the color scheme of the Koi fish tattoo.

The Design Style Of Koi Fish Tattoos

There are 3 main design styles of Koi fish tattoos. Each design style furthers the meaning of the tattoo and makes it more unique and personalized. Here&#;s what the traditional design styles include;

The Dragon Design

The Dragon Design

Because of the traditional legend of the Koi fish and its transformation into a golden dragon, both have become the staple when it comes to Koi fish tattoo designs.

Both Koi fish and the dragon carry their own separate meaning, but the design where they&#;re brought together in one image often depicts strength, power of will, perseverance, commitment to the goal, and similar characteristics.

Of course, such imagery as a whole symbolizes transformation, improvement, growth, a fresh start, and rebirth.

The dragon design is most suitable for body parts like the shoulder and arm area (called &#;a sleeve&#;), the chest, the back, and the upper thigh. Mostly, we can say that larger body areas are the best for such tattoo design since they comprise a lot of imagery, detailing and can fully come to life in larger sizes.

However, if you do decide to get a dragon Koi fish tattoo on any of the mentioned body parts, bear in mind that the tattoo sessions might last longer or even be split into several sessions. The sleeve tattoo might hurt the least, while the chest and back tattoos could hurt the most since they&#;re more close to sensitive areas with a lot of nerve endings.

Koi Fish Yin Yang Design

Koi Fish Yin Yang Design

The combination of the yin yang symbolism together with Koi fish often present strong imagery and meaning. The yin yang represents the good and bad, the duality and harmony of life, while the Koi fish shows perseverance, struggle, and ability to reach goals, which is also an important aspect of life.

The yin yang Koi fish tattoos often feature 2 Koi fish placed in a circle, depicting the yin yang symbol. However, the circle isn&#;t the only shape the fish take; there are often variations of yin yang Koi fish tattoos where the fish form the infinite symbol too.

The yin yang Koi fish tattoos are often black and white, to be as truthful to the yin and yang symbol as possible. However, there are colored variations as well, where 2 colors carry different meanings, often personal to the owner of the tattoo.

Such tattoos are suitable for different body parts, but it seems people mostly place them in the abdominal area, inner arm area, forearm, behind the neck, or the shoulder area.

Depending on the size of the tattoo, you can expect pain fluctuations. The most painful areas would be the abdomen, the neck, and the inner arm, due to numerous nerve endings and thin skin.

Lotus Design

Lotus Design

Another common Koi tattoo design involves the lotus flower. Just like the Koi fish transformed into the golden dragon, the lotus transforms from a plant in the mud to a breathtaking flower.

That is why these two symbols are often paired together to create an even deeper meaning of growth, transformation, rebirth, and overcoming struggles to reach your final goal.

The lotus Koi fish tattoo can also carry the meaning of masculinity, power, independence, love, and friendship. So, this is a rather relatable tattoo design that surely speaks to almost every person out there. That is why the lotus Koi fish tattoo design is highly sought after and preferred by those wanting their tattoos to have a deeper meaning.

When it comes to this tattoo design, the majority of people tend to place it somewhere on the arm or leg. The extremities seem to translate the beauty and the fish movement the best, so the tattoo appears more tangible and alive.

The color of the lotus tattoos can vary, but the majority of people go for some color combination, just to enhance the beauty of the lotus and the meaning of the Koi fish.

The Best Koi Fish Tattoo Design Ideas

Best Small Koi Fish Tattoo Ideas

Best Small Koi Fish Tattoo Ideas
Small Koi Fish Tattoo Ideas 2
Small Koi Fish Tattoo Ideas 3
Small Koi Fish Tattoo Ideas 4
Small Koi Fish Tattoo Ideas 5

Best Sleeve Koi Fish Tattoo Ideas

Sleeve Koi Fish Tattoo Ideas 1
Sleeve Koi Fish Tattoo Ideas 2
Sleeve Koi Fish Tattoo Ideas 3
Sleeve Koi Fish Tattoo Ideas 4
Sleeve Koi Fish Tattoo Ideas 5

Best Lotus Koi Fish Tattoo Ideas

Lotus Koi Fish Tattoo Ideas 1
Lotus Koi Fish Tattoo Ideas 2
Lotus Koi Fish Tattoo Ideas 3
Lotus Koi Fish Tattoo Ideas 4
Lotus Koi Fish Tattoo Ideas 5
Lotus Koi Fish Tattoo Ideas 6

Best Dragon Koi Fish Tattoo Ideas

Best Dragon Koi Fish Tattoo Ideas
Dragon Koi Fish Tattoo Ideas 2
Dragon Koi Fish Tattoo Ideas 3
Dragon Koi Fish Tattoo Ideas 4

Best Yin Yang Koi Fish Tattoo Ideas

Best Yin Yang Koi Fish Tattoo Ideas
Yin Yang Koi Fish Tattoo Ideas 2
Yin Yang Koi Fish Tattoo Ideas 3
Yin Yang Koi Fish Tattoo Ideas 4
Yin Yang Koi Fish Tattoo Ideas 5
Yin Yang Koi Fish Tattoo Ideas 6

Best Koi Fish Tattoo Designs For Men

Koi Fish Tattoo Designs For Men 1
Koi Fish Tattoo Designs For Men 2
Koi Fish Tattoo Designs For Men 3

Best Koi Fish Tattoo Designs For Women

Koi Fish Tattoo Designs For Women 1
Koi Fish Tattoo Designs For Women 2
Koi Fish Tattoo Designs For Women 3

Final Thoughts

We hope our little insight into the world of the Koi fish tattoos was helpful. The tattoo designs we recommended are based on the current trends, the best classic design ideas, and what we overall think would suit the majority of people and style preferences.

Getting a Koi fish tattoo is always special and meaningful, so make sure to do thorough research and find the design that will suit you the best.

Also, if you have low pain tolerance, we recommend you go for a smaller tattoo, and body parts like the shoulder area, outer arm, upper thigh, calf, etc. If you can handle more pain, then the bigger tattoos will suit you better, especially in places like the upper or lower back, the chest or abdomen, or the whole arm (also known as the sleeve).

Also Read: The Ultimate Tattoo Guide & Resources ( Update)

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50 Koi Fish Tattoos For Men

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