Friday’s Tattoo studio
Photograph: Courtesy Friday’s TattooFriday’s Tattoo studio

The 11 best tattoo studios in Hong Kong

Don’t be sad – go get a tattoo!

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Even within our relatively conservative Asian society, tattoos have very much become mainstream. You’d no longer see older generations clutching their pearls at the sight of inkwork on someone who might otherwise be seen as a ‘good, respectable girl’. Depending on the industry, most workplaces will also not kick up a fuss if their employees sport tattoos – but this wasn’t always the case.

For a long time, tattoos carried much negative social stigma in Asia and were often associated with gangsters. But such body art gradually became more mainstream when celebrities would flaunt their ink from the early noughties, and Hong Kong has now progressed to hosting annual tattoo conventions. Of course, we also have no shortage of talented tattoo artists and cool studios – here are the best places to get inked up around town.

RECOMMENDED: If you prefer more conventional artistic mediums, then check out the most interesting art exhibitions and displays around town

The best places to get tattoos in Hong Kong

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  • Tattoos and piercings
  • Causeway Bay

One of our favourite studios for being entrenched in Hong Kong’s youth underground subculture, Mofo has just celebrated their 10th anniversary and moved back to Tsim Sha Tsui from Causeway Bay. We think this is one of the most entertaining and stylish studios in town, complete with pet guinea pigs that squeak when people approach their enclosure. Mofo’s stellar lineup of artists work in styles ranging from fine line and dotwork, to brush calligraphy and cute cartoons. The bathroom in their old Causeway Bay location is one of the best we’ve been in, so you’ll have to visit their new store to see if there are any surprises as well.

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  • Sheung Wan

Blackout’s core philosophy is that tattoos should be personalised instead of coming from a book of bog-standard designs, so the majority of their work is custom. With three talented artists in house, guests can expect a lot of classic and ornamental styles with great shading work. They don’t all have to be full-arm sleeves as well; owner and artist Rob Kelly is happy to also do small, subtle tattoo art.

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  • Causeway Bay

Patrons of Star Crossed might recognise Mike Kam, who has since branched out and opened his own studio Tennin in Causeway Bay. Alongside artists Jonathan Tsang and Ray, the trio all have different styles but are each vastly talented in their respective ways. In general, Tennin deals with Japanese-style tattoos and Asian motifs. For fans of this style, Kam’s work is stunning and well worth having as permanent art.

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  • Sai Ying Pun

Duck into a little Sai Ying Pun alley to find Galaxy, founded by the talented Dust ‘Horitsuki’ Wu, who was mentored by Nicckuhori, godson of legendary tattooist Horiyoshi III. Wu is well-known for his dragons, Japanese hannya masks, and koi fish, while his team of resident artists also do fine lines, realism, and brushwork styles.

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Mei Wah Tattoo

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Mei Wah’s founder Nic is a Hong Kong tattoo legend, running a tight shop at this Kowloon studio. Apart from Nic’s large-scale, Asian-style pieces that often depict cultural and religious symbolism, the Mei Wah team also does abstract lines, brush stroke work, geometric patterns and tribal styles, and delicate fine line work. The devil is in the details, and he sure is present in this tattoo studio.

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  • Wan Chai

Tucked away in the quiet, trendy Star Street precinct, Star Crossed is the brainchild of South Africans Rich Phipson and Ross Turpin. You probably would’ve already seen Phipson’s bold-lined, bright-coloured illustrations even outside of a tattoo capacity – his distinctive aesthetic can be rendered in Japanese, semi-abstract, classic, or even slightly comical styles. The other talented tattooists here also specialise in old-school American style, nature-inspired designs with fine shading, and smaller delicate pieces.

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  • Causeway Bay

Established in 2016 by Wang Pang and Jamie Kam, Friday’s has two locations in Causeway Bay and Kwun Tong. Their flagship Causeway Bay store isn’t the easiest to find, but when you do, it exudes a slightly grungy, hipster cool, no doubt helped along by its neon sign and the motorbike parked outside. Kam mainly does hyperrealistic monochrome pieces and Pang does more of a dreamy painting style, while the rest of their team can also provide traditional Japanese, old-school, cartoonish illustrations, and fine line work.

Mini Tattoo

Hong Kong tattoo artist Mini Lau is allegedly the first artist to bring the delicate art of micro tattoos to Hong Kong after learning the craft in South Korea. Expect plenty of soft flowers, pastel tones, tiny portraits of pets, popular cartoon and animated characters, and more. We also particularly like the tiny but still detailed series of food, drinks, and snacks from resident artist Ruth – think packets of Calbee crisps, glass bottles of soju, a portion of egg waffle in its paper bag, and more.

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Mirror Tattoo

This studio in the heart of Central was founded by artist, music producer, and entrepreneur John Ip. He mainly does abstract pieces, while his team of about 10 artists have been gathered to create a wide range of fine line, black and grey, ornamental, geometric, neo-tribal, Asian-inspired, and hand poke tattoos. And, hey, it might interest you to know that musician Dermot Kennedy as well as Zach Filkins from OneRepublic have stepped through Mirror’s doors before.

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  • Tattoos and piercings
  • Mong Kok
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There’s no talking about tattoos in Hong Kong without mentioning Jimmy Ho, who had learnt the trade from his father, James – the first tattoo artist in Hong Kong, we’re told. Throughout his 40 years in the industry, Ho has inked up countless customers and big shots, from gangsters to film stars. Since Jimmy’s retirement in 2019, the shop has been run by Jimmy’s experienced protege Justin Ng. If you’re going to come here, then go for a design that honours the history of the shop’s masters and Hong Kong’s tattoo culture – old-school, Hong Kong-style dragons and snarling tigers are a tried-and-tested favourite over the years.

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