Hayao Miyazaki has captured the hearts of millions with his anime film studio Studio Ghibli. Anime fans, and even those who just dabble in the world of Japanese culture, are amazed by the magical, and inspiring films that the studio puts out. From Spirited Away, to Nausicaa and Totoro, the films have always received great accolades for their continual devotion to telling great stories with incredible animation. We've collected this collection of Studio Ghibli tattoos in hopes that they'll spark your imagination, or at least make you giggle with how cute some of them are!
Some of these Studio Ghibli tattoos are portraits of favorite characters, Haku and Chihiro being favorites, while others are highly detailed compilations of almost all the films in one tattoo! Just check out Oozy's Studio Ghibli tattoo for example; this particular piece features tons of different characters from each film...workers at the bathhouse of Spirited Away, Forest Spirits, Soot Sprites, Cat Bus and more! Oozy's known for their absolute attention to detail, and the linework they use to complete their pieces is always gorgeous. Another of these Studio Ghibli tattoos is a compilation by Chinese artists Pikkacoolcool, who is known for doing fun, vividly colored, super kawaii cartoon tattoos.
It's no wonder that Studio Ghibli continues to inspire. Their storylines almost always include a strong female hero who is out to save the world, or right some serious wrongs. The characters usually have an insanely cute animal friend to support them along the way of their fantastic journey, and there's always a Forest Spirit or other magical presence that emotes a fantastical aspect to average life. These Studio Ghibli tattoos prove how incredibly powerful these works of animation are; whether black and grey or full of bold colors, these pieces show the connection people have to characters that may be drawn by pen, but have a true presence and life beyond the screen.
Top 10 Studio Ghibli Movie Tattoos
Studio Ghibli has made over 40 films but there are certainly some favorites that we see much more often than others. Below is a list of the top 10 Studio Ghibli movies that have inspired tons of terrific tattoos. It definitely doesn't include some of our favorites like Only Yesterday or Tales From Earthsea, but we hope you'll find of your fave flicks on here!
Spirited Away Tattoos
Perhaps one of the most magical of Hayao Miyazaki's movies, Spirited Away has captured so many hearts around the globe. This particular film is full of characters that resonate with audiences on many levels such as Chihiro, a young girl who finds her strength through her adventures in the bathhouse. Then, of course, come Haku, Yubaba, Kamaji, Boh, No Face, and tons of different yokai, Japanese spirits and ghosts, that perfectly enhance the enchanting quality of this movie. We see tons of Spirited Away tattoos and each one is so special!!
Princess Mononoke Tattoos
Many of Hayao Miyazaki's movies have a very eco-political stance and Princess Mononoke is one of these. This film captures the heartbreaking damage that humans cause to nature by abusing the earth's natural resources. San is one of the main characters and we often see her likeness depicted in stunning Princess Mononoke tattoos; sometimes she's accompanied by the wolves who raised her. We also love seeing Kodama and Forest Spirit pieces because it immediately shows not only a love for this film but a love for nature as well.
Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind Tattoos
This is another Studio Ghibli movie that is placed in the distant future where the environment has become so toxic is some places that humans can no longer live there. As the surrounding ecology becomes further destroyed, Nausicaa does what she can to save her people and the animals she loves. Nausicaa tattoos are some of our favorite pieces because it usually shows the strength of character that she possesses and that inspires us so deeply!
My Neighbor Totoro Tattoos
One of Studio Ghibli's oldest movies, My Neighbor Totoro premiered in 1988 and quickly began an iconic film for children and adults alike. While the plot may not be as advanced as some of Hayao Miyazaki's other films, the charm of Totoro is his ability to spark the fires of imagination. Just as recognizable a Hello Kitty, Totoro tattoos are depictions of a global superstar that inspires love and happiness.
Howl’s Moving Castle Tattoos
Another ultra magical movie with scores of awesome characters to adore, Howl's Moving Castle tattoos are easily some of our favorite pieces. Whether they depict Calcifer, who is easily one of the most popular Studio Ghibli tattoos to collect, or they depict Howl and Sophie, this flick is a perfect way to get inspired for some seriously cool Japanese anime tattoos.
The Tale of the Princess Kaguya Tattoos
This Studio Ghibli movie is actually inspired by an ancient Japanese folktale called The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter. Directed by Isao Takahata, The Tale of Princess Kaguya tattoos that we see usually embrace the feeling of transience. Some do this through use of cherry blossoms, the particular animation style of the film, or simply by showing Princess Kaguya in one of her happiest moments. A beautiful homage to Buddhist philosophies, we promise you'll love Princess Kaguya if you have a poetic heart.
Laputa: Castle in the Sky Tattoos
This is the second feature film Hayao Miyazaki ever created and it's definitely a fan favorite, perhaps due to the final scene of the film that shows Laputa in all its glory. The floating kingdom has been overgrown with moss, flowers, and trees while sweet little animals play within the foliage under the watchful eye of Laputa's robot protector. Another perfect example of how Studio Ghibli is ingenious for capturing the imagination and hearts are the amount of Laputa tattoos we see out in the wild!
The Cat Returns Tattoos
Studio Ghibli certainly knows how to reach cat lovers...there a cute kitty in almost every single one of their movies. But The Cat Returns takes it to a whole new level with a trip to the land of the cats. Ever wish you could turn into a kitty? The Cat Returns tattoos usually show Haru transformed from a human into a feline bride, but we've also seen tons of Baron and Muta tattoos that we love too!
Kiki's Delivery Service Tattoos
From the countryside to the city, we follow Kiki, a brand new witch, as she adventures towards a whole new life with her best friend and familiar Jiji. Kiki's Delivery Service tattoos usually have both characters together, which we adore. Sometimes you'll see Jiji alone or hanging out with his cute lil lady cat, but no matter what, Kiki's Delivery Service is an awesome flick that will inspire you to get a Studio Ghibli tattoo. We promise!
A very cute flick that watches as a sweet baby fish explores the world outside her oceanic bubble, Ponyo tattoos are always super cute and heartwarming, much like the film itself! We also noticed that although Ponyo and her friend Sosuke are usually the ones depicted in this particular Studio Ghibli inspired tattoo, their lovely ham and ramen dinner is another iconic tattoo we love so much!
Top 30 Studio Ghibli Tattoo Motifs
No Face tattoo
This particular character is one of the most popular Studio Ghibli tattoo motifs we see around...and that's definitely not a bad thing. Perhaps because he literally has no face, and has to wear a mask, so many people are able to resonate with this character. No Face tattoos are also usually great at capturing this characters loneliness and deep sense of wanting love or acceptance...something almost everyone has felt at one point or another.
The Haku tattoo may be popular because, let's face it, who doesn't love dragons? Especially Japanese dragons. This particular piece blends ancient Irezumi iconography with contemporary anime pop culture. Plus, Haku is beautiful in any style.
As we mentioned above, this cutie is the most iconic character in Studio Ghibli history. You'll even see his face in the opening credits of any Studio Ghibli film..that's how important he is to the history of this film production company. But even more than that, a Totoro tattoo is a super awesome way to let the world know how much you love anime.
This lil guy from Howl's Moving Castle isn't just a character, he's an integral part of the plot. No spoilers, but if you haven't seen the film yet...go do that right now. Calcifer tattoos are so broad in style, mood, and design..sometimes he can look happy, angry, or ravenous for bacon and eggs. All of which, we just totally love.
Princess Mononoke tattoo
With a San, or Princess Mononoke tattoo, it's a very powerful way to show that you not only love anime and Studio Ghibli, but that you're also in touch with that inner strength and hope. It may also be a perfect piece for you if you love the environment and if the plot resonates with you since it is really very close to our own reality. Princess Mononoke would be totally pissed if she saw all the damage we're doing to the beautiful planet Earth.
This cute patootie came from the depths of the ocean to the far reaching islands full of houses and ham to fill our lives with glee. A very sweet movie, a Ponyo tattoo definitely captures a different side of Studio Ghibli and usually those who get pieces inspired by this movie love water and the feeling of freedom. That's what's so great about any Studio Ghibli tattoo: they always mean something really special.
In Spirited Away, we watch as a young girl grows and becomes stronger. She even becomes a better friend, daughter, and human. A perfect embodiment of childlike curiosity and youthful ignorance, a Chihiro tattoo captures these qualities while also embracing the qualities of strength, patience, and love through hard work and a little bit of risk for those she loves!
Porco Rosso tattoo
Ah, the scarlet pig. A Porco Rosso tattoo is a basically like an homage to the quintessential anti-hero. He rescues kidnapped children and stops the bad guys from stealing, but all for the price. Bounty Hunters are hella cool. So we can only assume that anyone who gets this tattoo is hella cool too!
Kitties are often characters in Studio Ghibli films..the Japanese love their cats, after all. Jiji is one of these awesome cats who shows up as a familiar in Kiki's Delivery Service. We love him because he's super cute, but also a lil salty. Which is basically how most cats we know act. A Jiji tattoo comes in many different shapes, sizes, designs, and styles...plus, you can never go wrong with a cat tattoo anyway!
Soot Sprite tattoo
Soot sprites!!!! Who doesn't love these fuzzy lil bubbys? We first saw them in My Neighbor Totoro. Nanny tells Mei and Satsuki that to make them vacate the attic, they have to laugh, shout, and make their presence known. But perhaps our favorite Soot Sprite tattoos are taken straight from Spirited Away...they can be playing with their star food, or holding hunks of coal...either way, we absolutely adore these. And they make great fillers or can enrich an old tattoo too! Just check out the design below!
She's definitely scary, sometimes a lil sweet, but always wise and super clever. A Yubaba tattoo will tell the world of your love for Studio Ghibli and anime, but can also show that you resonate more with the ancient souls of that world rather than the cutesy characters.
Radish Spirit tattoo
If you haven't noticed, Spirited Away is full of inspiration for tattoos...and here we have another character who may be perfect for you! A Radish spirit tattoo pays homage to the spirit of compassion and support. His scenes in the film may be short, but they're super memorable and totally unique. Who doesn't love this chubby lil bubby?!
Princess Kaguya tattoo
Many of the Princess Kaguya tattoos we see use the original style of the film and we love that. Fans of watercolor, painterly tattoos, and fluid illustrative work will really gravitate to this particular character.
Perhaps one of our favorite parts of Totoro, or Studio Ghibli films in general, is the Catbus!! So cute and ferocious, a Catbus tattoo captures one of the most iconic pieces of anime history. It's just a shame no one has actually created a real cat bus for us to ride around in...oh wait, just kidding. That's totally a thing!!!
Many of Studio Ghibli's films feature a female in the lead, which is just another reason to love this particular animation group. A Kiki tattoo captures another young girl who goes through so many changes before our eyes to become even stronger, more resilient, and full of love for her friends and family. Add a lil Jiji, and you're good to go!
Forest Spirit tattoo
For those who have seen Princess Mononoke, you obviously know there are some parts of this film that are heart wrenching. The beautiful and stoic creature called the Forest Spirit is certainly part of that. We love a Forest Spirit tattoo, and it's definitely a character that we wish we could carry with us wherever we go as reminder of how important nature really is.
If you do get a Forest Spirit tattoo, it's a great idea to add in a Kodama tattoo, too! These lil cuties are so sweet...they make great details, fillers, or can be their own big design as well. These characters denote the health of a forest, and if you think about it...don't you want your body to be a healthy flourishing forest of compassion and love? Maybe a Kodama can help.
Howl's Moving Castle tattoo
Another place we'd love to be! A Howl's Moving Castle tattoo has to be given to a tattoo artist who really knows their stuff, because it's a super detailed piece! But we promise that this is one epic design you'll love forever...plus, it'll let everyone know how much you love adventure!
Laputa Castle and Laputa Robot tattoo
Studio Ghibli film's are masterful at bringing us to places we desperately wish we could visit in real life. Laputa is one of those places, and the kind metal giant who protects baby animals, birds, and flowers would totally be our bff. Whether you get a Laputa castle tattoo or a Laputa robot tattoo, we know this is one design you'll never want to leave.
Our favorite lil guy!!! These Teto tattoos make us wish that we could go straight to the pet store or pound to pick up our very own. But since Teto's are hard to come by, why not get some ink and carry him with you wherever you go? He made a great companion for Nausicaa...he'll make a great companion for you too!
Animals are such a big part of Studio Ghibli, but cats definitely take up a large part of that. A Muta tattoo is taken from The Cat Returns, which is every cat lovers dream. Except for the whole...forced marriage part and terrifying labyrinth chase. But everything else was awesome.
Studio Ghibli food tattoo
The fantastic feasts within Studio Ghibli films is like nothing else. Japan has a real reverence for food and the ritual of eating. Studio Ghibli food tattoos highlight not only a great aspect of these films, but Japanese culture in general. And the artists who pull of these pieces, are so incredibly good at what they do!! Don't these just make you crave ramen and bento?
Baby Boh tattoo
What a chubby lil bubby. He may start out as a terrifying baby, but these Baby Boh tattoos show a transformation that isn't just skin deep. Like Chihiro, Boh comes into his own through building friendships by working hard to make sure they are safe and happy. Also....he just makes a really really cute mouse.
This particular character definitely is for people who feel a real connection to their animal counterparts. Pet portraits are great, but there are also animals we don't personally own who resonate with us. By the way, you can't really "own" an animal, but you can earn their respect and love. This is why a Yakul tattoo is perfect for people who truly understand that.
Bath House tattoo
Okay, again Spirited Away is so on point with this: so many great characters all brought together within great spaces, one of which is the bath house. A Bath House tattoo is a perfect embodiment of a place we all wish we could visit! Who wouldn't love to hang out with ducks, radish's and other yokai in giant steamy baths while being fed delicious food? No one. Because everyone would love that.
A Shikigami tattoo, in this case, denotes an illustrative homage to the tiny paper people planes that try to destroy Haku. A Shikigami is actually just a supernatural spirit, or being, from Japanese folklore, which means it could be any yokai at all. But here you have the most famed Shikigami from Studio Ghibli!
Many people who get an Ohmu tattoo aren't just in love with the movie Nausicca, they also love nature, science and eco-politics. This particular film, and character, perfectly puts fantasy, dystopian futures, sci-fi, and anime altogether for an incredible adventure.
For those of you who remember the Borrowers, you may have also grown up making tiny little living quarters for the tiny little people living under your floor boards. Arrietty tattoos are perfect for those of you who have a deep nostalgic connection to this particular plot line.
Pom Poko tattoo
A Pom Poko tattoo will actually feature one of the oldest and most revered icons in Japanese mythology: tanuki's. This can be really confusing for Western minds, but a tanuki is not a raccoon or red panda. It is actually a racoon dog...which is a real thing. They are a hugely important cultural aspect of Japan, so getting a tattoo inspired by this movie will always be a good way to go.
Aogaeru tattoo aka the frog from Spirited Away tattoo
We haven't counted, but we're pretty sure that a Spirited Away tattoo is way up there on the most popular. But if you love the movie, and want to get a different character than most people gravitate towards, how about getting an Aogaeru tattoo? This froggy friend gets into trouble, but in the end stands up for Chihiro and her parents! What a pal.
And if you can't really choose which movie or character you love best for your Studio Ghibli tattoo, then why not get the whole crew?
So why do we love Studio Ghibli tattoos so much? And the movies that inspired them?
Perhaps its not only the magic of Studio Ghibli films, and the effort behind each release, but it's also that each plot is usually based on something really important. There is a huge philosophical or political background and foundation to almost all of the stories, especially if Hayao Miyazaki is behind it. He, in particular, is very passionate about spreading awareness when it comes to eco-politics, anti-war philosophies, and practices of kindness and love. You can tell how much he cares about nature and family, and many of the Studio Ghibli tattoos in this collection are in tribute to those very ideas!
Studio Ghibli tattoos celebrate so many things about Japanese culture that we love, in general. Otaku, a term for Japanese people who are super obsessed with anime and manga, and Kawaii, a term that means 'ultra cute' basically, are sort of part of the Studio Ghibli obsession. Kodama, the forest spirits so many people love in the Princess Mononoke film, are definitely super kawaii, but theres also deeper meaning here. The Japanese people have a lot of reverence for nature, and there are tons of ancient legends about the spirits that reside there!
With so many levels to why these films and characters, it's no wonder we see so many tattoos inspired by the works of Studio Ghibli and Hayao Miyazaki. We hope you feel inspired!