The Tattoo Museum was open in 2000 by Horiyoshi III and his wife who run and manage it.
On show are photos and illustrations of intricate tattoos and an array of skin-art souvenirs, running the gamut from British and American tattoo-shop stencils to traditional tools used by Maoris and African tribes.
Among the more shuddersome exhibits are some ominous-looking hand-made tattoo tools from prisons, and some delightful etchings by Horiyoshi of decapitated heads decorated with what looks eerily like real blood.
Tattoos have long been relegated to the shadows of society. People often connect them to the yakuza and there is an automatic fear against people sporting body art. But Horiyoshi, who himself has a full-body tattoo, stressed that people with tattoos should not automatically be regarded as criminals. “People with tattoos are not (necessarily) criminals . . . (nor are all) yakuza,” Horiyoshi said. “There are some yakuza or people with tattoos who do bad things, just as there are people without tattoos who commit crimes.”
“Tattoos are a sign of power, and power equals violence — that is the (theme) depicted in the movies and by the media,” Horiyoshi said. “These fearful images are planted in our heads in our daily lives or on TV.”
Tattoos used by tribes of current Japanese island Hokkaido was also a part of their culture. The Ainu ethnic and Okinawan women had tattoos on their faces or hands as a sign of adulthood (which are exhibited in second floor of the Horiyoshi tattoo museum).
Many exhibited items are original artworks by famous tattooers like Ed Hardy, The Leu Family, Mick Tattoo, Luke Atkinson, Hanky Panky, Lal Hardy, George Bone and many more.
Some of Horiyoshi III’s books, clothes and other merchandise along with original artwork create unique experience for each visitor.
Directions: From Yokohama station take the Keikyu line to Tobe station. Turn right out of the exit and then take the first left (just after the fire station and big police station). Walk over the bridge, keep going and it’s on the right.
Opening hours: daily from 1PM till 6:30PM
Admission: 1000 Yen
Address: 1F Imai Blg, 1-11-7 Hiranuma,
Phone: +81 323 1073