Getting Inked in Shanghai

OCA Opinion Editor Sarah Tahir reports on where to go and what to note when getting a tattoo in Shanghai.

If you are considering getting a tattoo in Shanghai, make sure you pick a reputable shop and follow OCA’s tips on how to make the process a little less painful.

Option 1: Boobies Tattoo
Boobies Tattoo & Art is a Japanese tattoo brand on Shanxi Nan Lu. This option is definitely the most expensive of the three, with a 500 RMB art deposit. A large calf tattoo will set you back around 1800 RMB. But, what it lacks in price range, Boobies Tattoo makes up for in artistry and hygiene. The tattoo artists at Boobies are some of the best I have ever encountered – their lines and coloring are pristine (check out the photograph featured above!). They specialize in custom pieces, so if you have a general idea and want to talk it out with an artist, this is the place for you. Their art style ranges from traditional Japanese to old school American.

Boobies Tattoo & Art
Jiashan Market,
B201, No. 25, 550 Shanxi Nan Lu

Option 2: Shanghai Tattoo
Shanghai Tattoo is one of the most popular tattoo parlors in the city. They are generally quite active in the Shanghai art scene, promoting local musicians and events. Their shop is probably one of the coolest I’ve ever been to. Hidden inside a dingy office building, with green backlit walls, a pool table, bar and movie theatre, it is definitely a great place to hang out and meet other expats. Boasting one of China’s most well known tattoo artists, Zhou Dan Ting, it is also a great place to get inked. They are the most expat friendly option of the three, with great bilingual service. Their prices range from 500 for a small forearm tattoo to upward of 1000 for larger pieces. Shanghai Tattoo is a great option if you have a set design or style in mind already.

Shanghai Tattoo
4/F, 1 Maoming Nan Lu,
near Yan’an Lu
茂名南路1号4楼, 近延安路

Option 3: Ok Tattoo
Ok Tattoo is comprised of one artist in a shop right by the Academic Building. It is the most affordable option of the three. A small wrist tattoo will only set you back 200 RMB. His pricing may be much cheaper, but his work is just as good. He does a range of styles and can even develop great original designs. I have not experienced this option personally, but many NYU Shanghai students have vouched for his hygiene and artistry.

Wechat ID: oktattoo

Quick tips before you get a tattoo (Anywhere):
– Make sure you know what you want or have a general idea – you need to be able to talk to the artist about your plans
– Take note of their sterilization standards
– Give yourself a week (or more) to think about it before you actually get inked. If the tattoo is worth it, it will be the longest week you have ever waited through!

This article was written by Sarah Tahir. Please send an email to to get in touch.
Photo Credit: Sarah Tahir

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