INK: Inkrat Tattoo, inkrattattoo.com
Any Tokyo tattoo trip worth a rusty yen would include a Horimono hand-poke tattoo. Every year, countless ink enthusiasts make the pilgrimage to Japan in hope of experiencing the country's traditional tattoo. On your trip to Japan, do something different and get yourself a fine traditional American tattoo done right in Japan's capital. In a Far East twist on tradition, Inkrat Tattoo in Tokyo specializes in classic U.S.-style artwork. “The Japanese style is still very popular here, but we love American traditional tattoos,” says Inkrat artist Hata, who works alongside Rei at the two-man shop. “We wanted to show people how great American traditional tattoos are, and we do our best every day.” The Inkrat studio is located a few blocks from the Koenji train station in Koenji, a Tokyo neighborhood known for used clothing shops. An hour of work will cost you 15,000 yen (about $140), and appointments are best booked two months in advance. Inkrat regularly features guest spots from top artists from around the world, including recent appearances by Mario Desa, Uncle Allan, and Chad Koeplinger. And don't worry about getting lost in translation. Hata and Rei both speak basic English, as does the Inkrat staff.
STAY: Shibuya Hotel Excel Tokyu, $200 to $250 per night, tokyuhotelsjapan.com Tokyo's youth culture is twisted and weird, like an '80s cartoon on acid. The Shibuya Hotel Excel sits sandwiched between two gathering places for Tokyo's flashiest: Harajuku Station, where girls dressed as Goth Lolitas and magna characters hang out, and Yoyogi Park, where clusters of rockabilly dancers get down. The hotel is also close to shopping and several subway lines, and staggering distance from a string of bars and clubs. Just don't stumble into the street: The mind-boggling traffi c at Shibuya Crossing makes it one of the busiest intersections in the world.
SEE: The Graves of the 47 Ronin, free The Sengakuji Temple is famous for its graveyard, resting place of the famed 47 Ronin. When their leader was forced to commit suicide after an altercation with a court offi cial, 47 loyal samurai spent a year plotting revenge. In 1702, the team stormed the offi cial's house, cut off his head, and returned to Sengakuji Temple to place the severed head on the grave of their leaderand later commit ritual suicide. The temple grounds are a two-minute walk from the Sengakuji subway station and include a museum and the graves of the samurai and their leader. Be sure to check out the blood-splattered stone where their leader committed suicide.
DRINK: Garage Land, mm.visia.jp/garageland/index.php
Tokyo is home to some of the best rock ‘n' roll bars on the planet, one of them being Garage Land. Its sign, a knock-off of the Sex Pistol's Never Mind the Bollocks cover, lets you know what waits inside. With punk and rock ‘n' roll spinning, boozers sit at a long bar or around a handful of tables underneath video screens playing vintage clips of The Clash and The Damned. Draft beers will cost you about $5, a relative bargain in pricey Tokyo. But pace yourself— Garage Land doesn't close until 5 a.m
Inkrat Tattoo : http://www.inkrattattoo.com/
James Samuela's Moorea Tattoo : http://www.mooreatattoo.com/
Tattoo Peter : http://www.tattoopeter.nl/
Hotel Arena : http://www.hotelarena.nl/
Bulldog Coffeeshop : http://www.bulldog.nl/