Koi Fish Tattoo: Ancient History, Meaning, Ideas And Designs

The koi fish tattoo craze has been going strong for a while now. And there are several, various causes for it. The koi carp has been an increasingly common tattoo design, with meanings varying from beautiful and charming tattoo designs to inspiring koi fish tattoo ideas. The wide use of the Koi fish tattoo is increasing and gaining popularity each day.

Choosing the most suitable tattoo piece is crucial since being inked isn’t a choice you can make quickly. Fortunately, getting a tattoo of a koi fish is a great idea. These patterns come in a variety of forms, each with its own special significance. A guy can have it tattooed to symbolize strength and change after being moved by the legend of the dragon koi.

The koi fish is indeed a metaphor with deep significance for individuals who decide to put it on their tattoo designs. If you’ve been thinking of having a koi fish tattoo, take some time to learn about their significance initially. Make sure the significance of your koi fish tattoo is obvious.

Ancient Story Of The Koi Fish Tattoo

Koi fish tattoo history


Koi fish are a well-known icon of the eastern civilizations of both Japan and China because of its exquisite look, color combinations, and profound symbolic value.The above-mentioned regions are mainly the birthplace of the Koi Fish , and it has always been a part of their folklore, culture, and aesthetics.

The koi fish tale is said to have originated in China’s Yellow River, in which the fish developed their strength by trying to swim against the flow. A fleet of fish swam upward against the flow until they reached a cascade at the river’s mouth. The boldest koi carried on and made an effort to jump towards the top of the cascade while the majority of the fish turned back.

Evil spirits mocked the koi’s endeavors and made the falls a greater, more difficult hurdle as they kept trying to climb the rising waves. One by one, the fish started to give up gradually. After many centuries, only one koi fish remained. The koi fish worked hard to get to the top, and the gods honored it by turning it into an enormous magnificent golden dragon.

Interpretation Of A Koi Fish Tattoo Meaning From The History

Koi fish tattoo meaning


For individuals who want to incorporate the koi fish as part of their tattoo design, it is a metaphor with especially compelling significance. Make an effort first to familiarize yourself with the significance of koi fish before you start thinking about having one as a tattoo. Based on the hue and direction of the fish, a koi fish tattoo’s traditional meaning can change. You need to make absolutely certain that the concept of your koi fish tattoo is clear.

In Chinese Culture

As the full story is discussed in the ancient story section, it is clear that in Chinese culture the fish symbolizes an inspirational character, that once it starts something, it will not stop until it’s finished. It has a special feature of determination.

In Japanese Culture

In Japanese folklore, the koi fish has almost a similar story with the chinese version, but in this case, the Koi fish transformed into a Dragon which was actually a reward from the Gods for its endless efforts and success.

Direction Of The Fish

Particularly in Japanese culture, the image of a koi fish flowing upstream has a profound connotation. It stands for the fortitude and bravery required to overcome challenges and advance.

On the contrary, a koi fish going downhill just doesn’t portend bad things. They stand for liberty and self-determination, therefore.

Color Variations

In popular Chinese and Japanese traditions, the color red is frequently seen as a representation of monarchs and monarchy. It has the same significance in this setting as well. Moreover, the hue represents concepts like boldness and maternity.

Much like water in which they reside, the blue koi fish stands for calmness and harmony. A black koi fish  stands for conquering challenges. It also denotes success.

In Numbers

Often, two koi fish are arranged such that one glides upward whilst the other flows downward to reflect the yin and yang signs. It stands for life’s symmetry. Moreover, three koi fish stand for oneness, balancing, and power.

Amazing Designs Of Koi Fish Tattoos

Koi fish tattoo designs


The koi used as the yin yang symbol will appeal to people who value togetherness. Your tattoo color is just as significant when selecting whether to have a koi fish mostly as design also as elegance. For instance, a black carp signifies difficulty and attracts an individual who has conquered suffering in their existence, whereas a crimson carp stands for ardent love.

I have personally researched this special tattoo, doing the Japanese and Chinese traditional tattoos. The Koi fish tattoo designs came up most of the time. The significance of the tattoo is huge and as it is a historical tattoo, so it has infinite designs but some clear motifs are unchanged through all these years.

Here I have collected all the possible designs and ideas for an ideal Koi fish tattoo. From all other experts all around the world, I have managed to gather their special designs here with respective meanings. Hopefully you will find your desired tattoo design at the end of the article!

Japanese Koi Fish Tattoo

Japanese koi fish tattoo 1


Japanese koi fish tattoo 2


In Japan, the koi fish is viewed as a representation of strength of character, perseverance, wealth, and success. A fish appearance will appeal to men who value these qualities, but your choice of clothing can also have a strong impact. Irezumi, or traditional Japanese body art, are characterized by their strong lines and vibrant colors.

The Japanese Koi fish tattoo is the most renowned design in the world of tattoos. People are getting to know about the interesting meanings of this tattoo each day and the more they learn the more they are into this design.

Here the tattoo is located on the arms and as a pure Japanese gesture, there is red sun in the background of the design which is visible almost in all other Traditional Japanese tattoos. Different colors and shades are must for this tattoo, bigger placements are suitable just like the one in the image.

Yin Yang Koi Fish Tattoo

Yin Yang Koi fish tattoo


Koi fish and yin yang are blended through one emblem to represent everything’s dual nature. The image illustrates how opposites are constantly linked together. It conveys a feeling of balance and calm. The meaning is mostly accepted widely for the design.

The design of the tattoo is particularly bigger so a wide or long space will be very much suitable. Use of the design can be of many means, and you can add additional meaningful subjects to the required design as well.

The tattoo here in the image shows the Yin Yang koi fish in the thighs, and with it the duality symbol is also added for making the meaning more strong and useful. Though these designs are mainly colorful, monochrome designs can be made like this one.

Small Koi Fish Tattoo

Small koi fish tattoo


A small tattoo may be all you need if you desire a subtler style to tattoos or are looking for something that’s easy to hide at any time. Because of its adaptability, small ink is now a preferred choice for both men and women.

Small tattoos have the advantage that it can be used in almost any position in our body due to its comfortable size. Since they’re discrete yet stylish, little objects are also intriguing.

As it is very easy to get, so people who are looking for their first tattoo, try the Small koi fish tattoo designs as well. You can place the tattoo anywhere you want as the placement doesn’t matter due to the size of the design.

Black And White Koi Fish Tattoo

Black and white koi fish tattoo


The Yin Yang Koi fish often comes in black and white design as the two fishes symbolize two male and females swimming side by side. Besides, one can use the Koi fish and can have the black and white colors for design.

Perfect example is shown in the image here, where a single Koi fish is swimming upwards and the full design comes in black and white. The design is quite large and it is placed in the right spot, the Arms. Placements are important for a Black and white tattoos. you should do it in an experienced hand for better results.

Forearm Koi Fish Tattoo

Forearm koi fish tattoo


The forearm is a convenient spot for koi fish tattoos because it provides a large, aesthetically pleasing area for the extended fish, which really is particularly popular among men. Forearms have always been the favorite spot for tattoo lovers. Everyone goes for this particular spot for their special tattoos.

You can actually utilize the full design of the Koi fish in the forearms as you can see in the image above. The design is quite complicated though it has been finished really well. I would personally suggest using colorful hues as the design will look very attractive. As the forearms spot is fixed, the design will only vary with the shape of the tattoo.

Koi Fish Tattoo On Sleeve

Koi fish tattoo sleeve


Those who have enough knowledge and experience on tattoos, they think mostly about the tattoos on sleeves. Sleeve tattoos are popular mostly for the huge space it covers from the shoulder to the wrist. A whole scenario could be brought up through these designs.

Such a suitable design for the sleeves are the Koi fish tattoo. The meaningful tattoo can share many mythical scenarios which can be beautifully portrayed on the sleeves.Usually Koi fish tattoos of sleeves are colorful and the koi fish history is brought up in the designs.

Koi fish tattoos on sleeves are mostly colorful and the designs are not easy to get. Just like in the picture above, these are the general designs for the Koi fish tattoos. Experts’ touch and advice would be great for a sleeve tattoo.

Dragon Koi Fish Tattoo

Dragon koi fish tattoo 1


Dragon koi fish tattoo 2


The koi fish tattoo also has the same meaning as the dragon tattoo. Intense domination is the result of the two working combined. Traditional tattoos frequently symbolize bravery or sturdiness. This tattoo represents enormous power, comparable to how the koi fish really does have the will to swim upstream, as we can see once again.

Here on the arms the dragon and koi fish are combined in design where the dragon is bigger in size and the koi fish is comparatively small but together they make a significant difference on the meaning.

These designs are undoubtedly colorful and the lines should be accurate for the traditional speciality of the tattoo designs. Bigger space is suitable for a design like Dragon koi fish tattoo like shoulders, arms, legs, backs etc.

Koi Fish Tattoo On Arm

Koi fish tattoo arm


Arm is another prime spot for a koi fish tattoo lover. Due to its explicit position and the meaning of the tattoo is so firm that the spot fits perfectly for the design. Though the shapes and designs both depend on the size of the bearer.

As in the image here, the tattoo is so colorful that it can be seen from quite a distance. The lines and the shades are perfect enough to portray the koi fish accurately. Usually the colors are the main attraction of the Koi Fish tattoo on Arm.

Red Koi Fish Tattoo

Red koi fish tattoo


Red frequently denotes power or desire, however in the case of the Koi fish tattoo, it additionally possesses the potential to denote boldness and maternity. Tremendous courage is displayed by the koi fish’s capacity for swimming upstream and accomplishing a waterfall. This determination is depicted by the red koi fish tattoo.

So now you know why the particularly Red Koi fish is more popular and demanding in the Koi fish tattoo design category. The name is the color of the tattoo and is a must for the design. But you can use different types of shades as you like.

Leg position is selected here on the design, such places are actually suitable for the design. Also as the color is really attractive, you can try places where the tattoo can be visible any time.

Koi Fish Tattoo On Back

Koi fish tattoo on back


Often, bigger is best! This is why a lot of guys choose back tattoos. Like if you’re interested in a huge, specific design, you need a location big enough for it to appear properly. The location’s more personal atmosphere is also another tempting feature.

You may flaunt your assets whenever you choose, yet you can also keep your shirt on and have it to oneself. But, given its size and the length of time required to create your work, you could feel little difficulty in this spot. It’s also important to keep in mind that the pain will increase the closer you get to the bone.

I would personally suggest you to go for a traditional design also it would be best to maintain a theme of the Koi fish. The designs are bigger here so an expert hand will be required for the perfect touch.

Koi Fish Armband Tattoo

Koi fish armband tattoo 1


Koi fish armband tattoo 2


Mainly guys are very much fond of armband tattoos. There was a trend nearly 15 years ago, wearing bands on the wrists, but the armband tattoos have a long history, culture and stories. Red Indians, Africans, and many more natives used the Traditional armband tattoo as their culture and tradition.

As the design comes in a circle so the tattoo is different from the other designs and the perspectives should perfectly be understood. And the koi fish must be inked curved for mixing with the curves with the armband.

Traditional Koi Fish Tattoo

Traditional koi fish tattoo


The koi fish is a sign of wealth and great fortune in Japan, as well as resolve and endurance. Men who respect these traits will go toward a koi design, but somehow the layout you pick may have just as much influence. Traditional Japanese tattoos, or Irezumi, have a unique appearance distinguished by strong lines and brilliant colors.

Colorful appearance is the main attraction of the Traditional koi fish tattoo. Bigger spot is perfect for a standard traditional tattoo. You may see the image here for better assumptions on the design.

 Koi Fish Tattoo On Leg

Koi fish tattoo on leg


If you’re looking to express your personality, a leg tattoo is a great choice since it may be big and colorful. The skin area is big enough for substantial details, so you may be innovative with how it’s placed and how it looks.

The fact that this location is rated as mild on the tattoo pain rating is its strongest feature. Therefore, the more agony you may anticipate, the closer the tattoo is to the kneecap or the ankle.

Koi Fish Tattoo On Thigh

Koi fish tattoo on thigh


You should think about your way of life before getting a tattoo. Although the perception of tattoos is evolving to become increasingly widespread and accepted, some industries still demand you to cover up your tattoos.

Consider getting a tattoo on your thigh in order to cover anything up. The skin is sufficiently big to accommodate intricacy, and as an added benefit, getting tattooed on the upper outside thigh isn’t too uncomfortable!

Pisces Koi Fish Tattoo

Pisces koi fish tattoo


Koi fish are frequently linked with several other signs and pictures, such as the yin and yang and the lotus flower. Having said that, Pisces, the horoscope sign, may also be represented by the living creatures. Pisces Koi fish is such a kind of tattoo design to consider.

Two fish traveling in reverse make up the logo. A design like this might be dualistic or communicate the sense that the user is divided between two ways, while considering the rich significance of the koi. Take the image here as the best example of the Pisces Koi fish tattoo.

Simple Koi Fish Tattoo

Simple koi fish tattoo


There is no justification for obtaining a large, intricate tattoo when making the decision to have one. Many guys like the more straightforward strategy since it is subtle but somehow still profound. Simple Koi fish tattoo is one of the most used designs in the Koi fish tattoo category.

The above installations are often simple and concentrate on fundamental edges and forms. While obtaining any type of body art, it is essential to take your lifestyle into account. A little, simple tat is simple to hide. If this is your first tattoo, you might find these designs particularly intriguing.

Black Koi Fish Tattoo

Black koi fish tattoo


Koi fishes are among the most vibrant creatures in existence, and their distinctive patterns set them apart. They have now been cultivated to have distinctive hues, and every hue has a special meaning. The black koi is symbolic of perseverance and struggle. Anyone who has conquered suffering in the previous, whether it was anxiety or a challenging connection, finds it alluring.

The tattoo’s rich meaning makes choosing to get tattooed with it incredibly intimate. The person will most likely pick a prominent location to be persuaded of its significance. Special spots are actually picked for the Black Koi fish tattoo designs.

Blue Koi Fish Tattoo

Blue koi fish tattoo 1


Blue koi fish tattoo 2


The blue koi fish tattoo represents natural balance and inner calm. It is a popular tattoo for guys and may also be seen as a representation of dominance. Beyond just how stunning it is, there are several motivations you would choose to have a blue koi tattoo.

First of all the serene color blue is itself attractive and the design looks really stunning in a bright skin tone. Beside the places where the tattoo is mostly visible is taken for the Blue koi fish tattoo designs.

Watercolor Koi Fish Tattoo

Watercolor koi fish tattoo 1


Watercolor koi fish tattoo 2


Making a tattoo pop out upon your skin is easy with watercolor tattoos. Your artwork will spark attention because of the variety of colors that have been skillfully combined to resemble a painting. A koi fish is unquestionably fashionable and chic, and the pattern blends nicely with the patterns of the natural world.

It is important to remember that this method seems to disappear more quickly than conventional tattoo designs, so if you want it to survive as long as reasonable, try to select a location on the body that won’t be revealed to daylight constantly.

Lotus Flower And Koi Fish Tattoo

Lotus flower and koi fish tattoo


A strong tattoo is made when a lotus flower and a koi fish are combined. As now we know the meanings of a Koi fish tattoo, on the other hand, Lotus flower represents stability and refreshments. These two things coming together can represent hope and progress. An individual who has experienced adversity in the earlier and emerged tougher from it might find this work appealing. Those who know the meaning distinctively go for this Lotus flower and Kois fish tattoo on comparatively bigger locations.

Koi Fish Tattoo On Shoulder

Koi fish tattoo on shoulder


A simple tattoo of either a koi fish carries out other stylish macho qualities in males. The multicolored tattoo looks beautiful when applied on the upper body. The design is highly alluring and brings out the wearer’s great characteristics.

Koi ink tattoos look wonderful on males and are a terrific choice for the shoulder. The elegant blending of parts and colors increases the design’s adaptability. Both genders are fond of the shoulder placement of the Koi fish tattoo. Colors look inevitably great on the design specially on the shoulder area.

Koi Fish Spine Tattoo

Koi fish spine tattoo


As the spine happens to be one of the most challenging and painful places to obtain a tattoo, spine tattoos serve as a symbol of an individual’s tenacity. However due to its distinctiveness and stunning aspect and layout, some people decide to get a tattoo on their spine.

As the whole back side can be included in the spine design, so many related concepts can be added in the design as well. As for example you can see the image where there are flowers and the many other designs and all of them are in red colors.

Realistic Koi Fish Tattoo

Realistic koi fish tattoo


Tattoos which seem real at a first glance and have a 3D appearance are mainly known as realistic koi fish tattoos. These types of designs are mainly done in somewhere always visible. As the designs are modern and a bit different, the realistic koi fish tattoo is trending day by day.

Colors are the main attraction of realistic tattoos, so the use of various colors are useful for the tattoo design. This design is actually a fusion of ancient tattoo designs and the  modern touch.

Koi Fish And Cherry Blossom Tattoo

Koi fish and cherry blossom tattoo


A koi fish and cherry blossom tattoo could appeal to anyone if you happen to be of Japanese descent or if you simply love the tradition. These two components are significant in Japanese culture. The blossoms are short-lived, acting as a reflection of how transient life may be, and are frequently connected with survival and elegance.

The koi fish also stands for good fortune and wealth. These two photos work well together because of their rich meaning. It’s additionally a striking and artistically appealing solution for tattoos.

Koi Fish Tattoo On Chest

Koi fish tattoo on chest


Chest tattoos are very much popular, especially in the male community. It usually represents courage and confidence, though the design depends on the symbol. Koi fish is a perfect design for the chest tattoos as it goes perfectly with the meaning.

Usually the males do the koi tattoo on the side of the chest, with a tribal touch. Colors and different shades are used especially on the side of the chest.

Koi Fish Tattoo On Hand

Koi fish tattoo on hand


Hand tattoos are extremely visible and it is one of the most painful areas of the body. Though people are fond of hand tattoos very much. Simple and easy designs are suitable for a Koi fish tattoo on hand.

Those who are looking for their first tattoo, they should avoid the hand area, though it looks really attractive. But if you really want to go for the hand design of a koi fish tattoo, then you should go for something easy and simple.

Koi Fish Cover Up Tattoo

Koi fish cover up tattoo


A little tattoo is ideal if you want a simpler style to tattoos or want something that you can cover up anytime you choose. Even with its adaptability, small ink is now a popular pick both to men and women. You have no restrictions on where you can receive your pattern, so you’re able to get it all behind your ear or on your wrist, for example. Since they are discrete yet stylish, little objects are also intriguing.

As the design is quite a size to consider, you can try the koi fish cover up tattoo somewhere where you need the design most. Any types of shades or colors are suitable for this particular design.

Tribal Koi Fish Tattoo

Tribal koi fish tattoo


Tribal tattoos frequently symbolize bravery or sturdiness. This tattoo represents enormous power, comparable to how the koi fish has the courage to move ahead, as we can see once again. Tribal tattoos mostly represent the heritage and culture of a certain society. These tattoos have special patterns and have a significant design.

Colorful shades look really beautiful on the tribal koi fish tattoo. Besides they require someplace bigger for proper representation of the design.

Koi Fish Rib Tattoo

Koi fish rib tattoo


Rib tattoos are one of the painful spots for a tattoo and it looks really exotic. Koi fish is a meaningful tattoo and a bigger design is suitable for the Koi fish design, so rib is a perfect spot. Though this spot is sensitive, it is better to use a simple or easier design. Simple shades and less color is suitable for the Koi fish rib tattoo. Experienced artist should be appointed for a rig tattoo.

Purple Koi Fish Tattoo

Purple koi fish tattoo


If you have a purple koi fish on the arm or anywhere else on your skin, you have a motivating sign that will cheer you up when you’re down. In other terms, this tattoo represents tenacity. Being persistent in your efforts to accomplish a purpose in the face of overwhelming demands to give up or change course. The purple koi fish tattoo denotes your fighting spirit and resolve to persevere regardless of the face of adversity.

Koi Fish Couple Tattoo

Koi fish couple tattoo


It’s a pledge to keep the bond strong for as much as the tattoo. For a variety of explanations, partners get matching tattoos. Some people get a tattoo together to commemorate an important date in their relationships or to appreciate an experience. Some couples do it to have a physical representation of their union. As the koi fish also has a design of two fishes, so the couple use the design and have an identical one in their skin.

Koi Fish Tattoo On Foot

Koi fish foot tattoo


Koi fish in the foot is also a popular choice for the users, but it is a painful spot. So those who are looking for their first tattoo, they usually don’t go for this particular design as the design is quite big and complicated. Though foot tattoos are painful, the result is quite fascinating, so girls usually go crazy for the koi fish tattoo on the foot.

Golden Koi Fish Tattoo

Golden koi fish tattoo


The Golden Koi Fish tattoo has a separate history which is related to the golden dragon from Japanese mythology. After the connotations might range from assets to good chance or success to happiness, power to conquer challenges, etc. Gold has become a popular color combination for such Koi fish tattoo’s color combination due to its connotation and interpretation.

Abstract Koi Fish Tattoo

Abstract koi fish tattoo


This beautiful koi tattoo design is certain to attract your attention if you enjoy abstract art. This painting has a distinctive feel because of the harsh lines and brushstrokes. The soft shading gives the scene a hint of mystique. This sophisticated style will easily fit on your forearm, arms, legs, shoulder etc. Abstract koi fish tattoos are gaining popularity each day and the designs are coming in different shapes.

Tiger And Koi Fish Tattoo

Tiger and koi fish tattoo


Tiger is the symbol of confidence, courage and power. So combining the design with the koi fish is a perfect idea and the design is quite meaningful with the appearance. The colorful shades are the most attractive part of the tattoo. As there are two subjects, the design is comparatively bigger so a spacious spot is suitable for the Tiger and Koi fish tattoo.

Chef Koi Fish Tattoo

Chef Koi fish tattoo


Many of the chefs use this design as the symbol to represent the success from downwards to upwards. People who achieve success through hardship, usually use the koi fish tattoo for a reminder of their struggle. Many chefs around the world have struggled enough to achieve their success, they use the chef koi fish tattoo designs as a reminder.

Koi Fish Tattoo Behind The Ear

Koi fish tattoo behind the ear


Small and simple tattoos are suitable for the koi fish tattoo behind the ear. As the spot is very sensitive, it is better to avoid complicated designs and go for a small one. Different shades should be avoided for betterment of the tattoo. Behind the ear tattoos look very alluring and attractive.

 Koi Fish Matching Tattoo

Koi fish matching tattoo


This tattoo signifies that you are trying to maintain balance with reality. The yin and yang koi fish tattoos stand as symbols for the stability of existence and the balance of the cosmos. A yin yang koi fish tattoo can be created in complementary opposing hues, such as red and blue, or in black and white.

Colorful Insights Of A Koi Fish Tattoo!

Traditional koi fish tattoo designs are the most demanding in the tattoo industry. Here is a perfect example of a colorful Koi fish tattoo design on the legs. Here all the hygiene has been maintained and all the necessary precaution steps have been discussed firmly. So check out the following videos for all the necessary insights of a Koi fish tattoo.


Though all the necessary insight of a Koi fish tattoo has been discussed, still there are some questions that come frequently in our mind. Lets’ have all the answers to the frequently asked question regarding the Koi fish tattoo.

Q: Is it unlucky to have a tattoo of a koi fish with its head down?

Ans: Koi fish are frequently depicted swimming upstream and are thought to bring good luck. A tattoo of a koi fish with its head down is considered unlucky.

Q: Why are they called yin yang koi fish?

Ans: The yin and yang koi fish tattoo represents both a harmony inside existence as well as its elements. While there is endurance in becoming capable of navigating the positive and negative things in life, it also symbolizes courage.

Q:What does a tattoo of two koi fish mean?

Ans: The balance of the conflicting forces in life is represented by two koi fish. Often, two koi fish are shown in a yin and yang arrangement to symbolize the equilibrium of duality.

Final Verdict

Japanese cultures have been well trending in the modern world for quite a period of time. The exceptional design of Japanese or Chinese culture is much adapted in society nowadays. As this is the age of fusion. Some People around the world combine a lot of designs with each other for a meaningful purpose of the tattoo. Such an exemplary tattoo is our Koi fish tattoo.

A koi tattoo has a certain particularity to it. They are very beautiful, the best choice to choose, and typically hold a lot of significance inside someone’s life. The tattoo works really well as a reminder for someone who is struggling with his life. So I always suggest this kind of meaningful tattoo to the people who have seen a hard life.

Hopefully you have found your desired Koi fish tattoo with enough ideas and designs to follow. When you could learn about the tattoo properly, then it becomes easier to choose the design along with the placements. Thank you for staying this long, Happy Reading!

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