Jaillan Yehia

Travel Tattoo Stories: Going Dutch On Tattoos in Japan

Written by Jaillan Yehia

Post Categories: Asia | Continents | Europe | Holland | Japan | Savoir Ink

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Travel Tattoos Stories

Savoir Ink is a new section where I meet real travellers who got inked in international locations, and hear the true story behind their travel tattoo…

This week to kick off the series, and as it’s ♥ Valentine’s week ♥ we meet cute travel blogging couple Roxanne and Maartje, the Dutch duo behind Once Upon A Journey.

Me and this cute travel buddy are buddies in life for three years today ♡

A post shared by Once Upon A Journey (@onceuponajrny) on

Where are you from – and where are you based now?

Born and raised in The Netherlands, but currently on a world tour! We’re house sitting on Penang, Malaysia, for five weeks now.

And what do you do?

Travel tattoo stories

We travel basically, haha 🙂 We have our travel blog and our instagram, and we write for a Dutch newspaper in order to not only lose money while we are on the go!

Now, Tell Us About Your Travel Tattoo!

Travel tattoo stories


How long were you considering getting a tattoo before you actually got one?

Maartje: I always knew I wanted tattoos, but my mum totally freaks out about it – even piercings, so I knew I had to be super sure what I wanted – or be far away from mum haha.

Roxanne: I got enthusiastic when Maartje showed me a design of a tattoo that symbolizes our relationship, but also my relationship to my parents.

So, is this your first / only tattoo?

Maartje: Yes it is my first and no (sorry mum), it will not be my only one!I want to have more: something with my siblings, something travel-related and something to cover up my scars from an Achilles-surgery I had when I was a baby.

Roxanne: For now, yes, this is my first and only. Maybe I’ll get excited when Maartje shows me a new design though, haha…

Did you do any research before getting your tattoo?

A little bit, but we already had the idea and design ourselves so we only checked online to see what else what out there.

In which country/ city did you get your travel tattoo? Was there a specific reason for this choice?

Travel tattoo stories

Yes, we chose Japan!

The original design was ready two years before but it is such a big deal to get your first tattoo! So in Japan we thought: let’s do it. After Japan we were going to be in places with sun and beaches; so we would never get it there. It was the perfect time, and the Japanese tattoo artists are good!

What’s the name of the artist/shop who did your tattoo? Would you recommend them?

Travel tattoo stories

Yes! We got our tattoo at Sol Design Studio in Nagoya, Japan. It was a very comfortable experience, though I feel like we could have discussed the design a bit more.

We produced the design ourselves, but of course we are no tattoo-artists. I feel our tattoo-artist could have suggested some cool line-ideas or whatever but it looks super cool and it is pretty minimalistic, so we love it.

What was the inspiration for this tattoo?

Our inspiration is our bond, our relationship. Both friendship and romance. Yes, we know some people would say ‘don’t do it’, but we have been so important to each other already; that will never change.

We decided to make a design that combines both our zodiac signs – really symbolic and not immediately obvious. For Roxanne this resulted in a deeper meaning: just like her, her mom and stepmom are born Cancer, and her dad and me are born Aries.

How did you come up with the exact design – and were you torn between any different options?

Travel tattoo stories

Yes we were torn between options, which is also possibly why it took so long before we got it.

Maartje decided to go for a different design last minute. Instead of the traditional zodiac signs, she decided to make it the signs in the stars, so it would be a map that can be expanded!

Is there anything about your tattoo that you would change?

No, luckily!

Finally, What piece of advice would you give someone else considering getting a travel tattoo?

Travel tattoo stories

Really think about it! Choose something that fits you, not just an arrow or compass because that symbolizes travel in general. Choose something that symbolizes YOUR travel. For us it’s our bond together that is so important for us while travelling.

Any other interesting details to add?

Funny thing: in Japan tattoos are considered for-yakuza-members-only, so getting a tattoo is NOT DONE, unless you’re Japanese mafia.

We actually asked our couchsurfing host in Nagoya if he knew a tattoo shop and he didn’t. He was super nice though and searched with us. And because of us he went into a tattoo shop for the first time in his life!

After we got our tattoos, he was surprised a tattoo could be so cute 🙂

Follow Once Upon A Journey’s Travels (and maybe more tattoos) On Social Media below…

We are young ♥️

A post shared by Once Upon A Journey (@onceuponajrny) on

onceuponajrny on Facebook
onceuponajrny on Instagram
onceuponajrny on Twitter
onceuponajrny on Pinterest
onceuponajrny on Youtube


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