Oahu Tattoo Shop Guide
For over two thousand years, tattooing (kakau in Hawaiian) has been a part of Polynesian cultural tradition. The highly trained and revered master, or kahuna in Hawaii, would use their sacred knowledge to design geometric tattoos – each with multiple meanings appropriate to the individual person. Traditionally, Hawaiians used needles made of bird bone, turtle shell, bamboo, and occasionally shark teeth to cut the skin and inject the ink.
Today on Oahu, the tattoo culture has evolved as the island has diversified, but many people with incredible tattoos can still be found. And from Waikiki to Haleiwa, an abundance of tattoo shops and talented artists are available to achieve your dream design.
South Side Ink Tatau. 91-2078 Old Fort Weaver Road. Go see Levi, Al, Darren or another one of the talented artists at this Ewa Beach tattoo shop. The friendly staff will explore your tattoo visions and gently draw a tattoo piece. Since they have a number of artists, they are capable of working with a number of ideas – small or large – and drawing to your desires.
808 Tattoo. 46-018 Kamehameha Highway. This popular Kailua shop specializes in full body as well as small tattoos. They have many professional artists, whose abilities range from Polynesian designs to modern masterpieces. The shop is clean and sanitary, and the staff is personable and communicative.
Ink Pit Tattoo. 1095 Dillingham Boulevard. Located in Kalihi, Ink Pit Tattoo has calming staff who do excellent work at reasonable prices. They specialize in custom designs as well as coverups. The shop is also a popular piercing place.
Banzai Tattoo. 945 Kamehameha Highway, Suite 7. See Mike, Sonny, Chad, Micah, or other artists at this Pearl City shop. The professional staff can create custom work and conversate to comfort clients along the way. The friendly shop accepts walk ins as well. Cash only.
Aloha Tattoo Company. 68 Wilikina Drive. This cool shop in Wahiawa can do incredible line work – for Polynesian designs as well as other styles. The comfortable shop climate is complimented by the artists who can chit chat while designing. They can do smaller tattoos as well as full body designs and cover ups.
Tattoo Hawaii. 1430 Kona Street, Suite 201. Near Ala Moana, this affordable shop does excellent work and can accommodate larger groups in addition to individuals looking for some body art. They have an array of artists who are able to add timeless touches to your desired tattoo.
Black Moon Collective. 45-556 Kamehameha Highway. The artists in this Kaneohe shop are kind, comforting, and create incredible art. They accommodate various appointment requests with their many talented artists and can design exactly what you want, whether Polynesian or another style. The super clean, somewhat secluded shop is located next to Ace Hardware on Kamehameha Highway.
Polynesian Tattoo Factory. 66-470 Kamehameha Highway, Suite B. In the heart of Haleiwa, the artists at Polynesian Tattoo Factory can perform detailed designs and fix previously flawed tattoos. The clean and refreshing shop welcomes clients as family and does small designs as well as elaborate Polynesian artwork.
Priestess Ink. 94-333 Waipahu Depot Street. This welcoming shop in Waipahu produces meaningful masterpieces that exceed clients expectations. The shop is spacious and clean and offers snacks and beverages while you wait. Their talented artists, Kala and Josh, do fine line work for tribal tattoos and more.
Skin Deep Tattoo and Piercing. 2128 Kalakaua Avenue. This Waikiki shop with caring artists can create almost anything you have imagined. They respond quickly to appointment requests and can efficiently produce incredible work with fine lines and perfect shading.
Tattoo Licious. 1909 Ala Wai Boulevard. Located in Waikiki, this shop welcomes walk-ins and offers free consultations. They have been in business for nearly 20 years and specialize in many styles including Japanese tattoos, tribal, black and gray, portraits, color, fantasy, and Polynesian tattoos. Their eleven artists on staff can complete the most difficult design.
Working Class Tattoos. 3454 Waialae Avenue, Ste 7. This locally owned Kaimuki shop offers professional and personal service. Owner Steve provides creative collaboratives for unique and well-executed tattoos.
High Power Tattoo. 1051 Keolu Drive. Specializing in custom tattoos, this Kailua shop can do realism, color, and traditional tattoos. Browse through their art collective and gallery for inspiration before allowing awesome artists Dani and Javi do their work.
Inks Landing Tattoo. 85-993 Farrington Highway, Waianae. One-on-one customer service makes you feel comfortable in this newly opened shop. Owner, Sarah, has a decade of experience with the ability to freehand amazing designs and deliver dreams.
2 Thumbs Tattoo. 95-026 Kamehameha Highway, Ste A, Mililani. This sterile shop specializing in custom tattoos, is a popular place recommended by community members. You will be greeted when you walk in the door, making it a great place for first-time tattoo patrons to go to feel welcomed and comforted.
Rising Tide Tattoo. 177 S Kamehameha Highway, Ste 101, Wahiawa. This shop has a group of artists who specialize in different styles. Everything is medically sealed, including the Q-Tips, and they have plentiful parking and private rooms for piercing. Owner Donovan, as well as the other artists, have rave reviews. Check out their First Friday specials!
Oahu boasts an abundance of incredible tattoo artists, with the above highly recommended by locals. When deciding which shop and artist is right for you, consider what you want, the difficulty of the design, recommendations, cleanliness, and the artist’s personality. Hawaii is one of the homes of traditional Polynesian tattoos and remains the home of talented tattoo artists today.