Japanese dragon mythology was heavily influenced by Chinese culture, so their dragons do tend to look quite similar. Often, the only noticeable difference is that Japanese dragons are more likely to have three toes instead of four or five.
Japanese Dragon Meaning
Japanese dragons are also associated with the the mythological Ryu which was a large horned lizard. Therefore, the frills and mane around a Japanese dragon’s face tend to be longer and sharper looking.
Japanese dragons are associated with water, so they look great in tattoos combined with koi fish. In many tattoos of Japanese dragons, the dragon will either be blue or be surrounded by blue waves to emphasize its connection to the water.
Dragons are also tattooed alongside samurai to symbolize honor and power. Dragons frequently show up in traditional Japanese tattoos that are notable for their level of detail and their large size.