Bunshin Tattoo Museum

Museums & Attractions


Curated by Horiyoshi III (pictured above in his younger years), a renowned master of traditional Japanese tattooing, this private collection is packed with materials related to the culture, customs, history and present-day state of skin art. Here are a few things you’ll learn when you visit:

  • The word ‘bunshin’, which appears in some of the earliest official records of Japanese history, is the ancient word for tattoos.

  • Prehistoric clay figurines discovered in the country testify to the fact that primitive-pattern tattoos existed before the Common Era.

  • While the Edo period gave birth to a vivid tattoo culture described as ‘living ukiyo-e’, several factors led to skin art being viewed in a negative light (hence the banning of tattoos in onsen). These factors include the use of tattoos as a form of punishment, laws banning them, the assumed connection between tattoos and organised crime (which grew out of the ’60s yakuza film boom) and the influence of Confucian morality. Standing against such prejudice, the Bunshin collection shines a light on millennia of tattoo history, as well as on the global tattoo moment of today.


1-11-7 Hiranuma, Nishi-ku, Yokohama

Transport Tobe Station (Keikyu Main line), Hiranumabashi Station (Sotetsu line)

Telephone 045 323 1073

Open 1:30pm-6:30pm daily / closed on the 1st, 10th and 20th of every month

Admission ¥1,000


Please note: All information is correct at the time of writing but is subject to change without notice.


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