Japanese Nail Art Pic Spam

I’m still in my noisy hotel (complete with a rich variety of nighttime activities) and have no goodies to show, so I’ve looked through my favorite Japanese nail art salons to find some pictures to try and cheer myself up a bit.

In general, Japanese nail art seems to have gotten a bit more “respectable” with the introduction of gel polishes. Natural nails in shorter lengths seem more in fashion, as opposed to those amazing go-go 2-inch Shibuya-style tips with every bit of the nail covered in giant 3-D sculpture. There are still salons doing those crazy 3-D deco nails, but the trend seems to be on the wane for now. That, and it’s darn hard to go about daily life with humongous rhinestones stuck to really long nails.

So here’s some pics until I get myself up and running again. All credit goes to the listed salons, not to me.

Gradation with gel marbled hearts- these have been very popular for quite a while. Note most Japanese nail art is upside down to the wearer- I always do my hearts in the opposite way, so they’re facing upwards. I have no idea why, I just prefer it that way. Nail Design, Tokyo.


A clean white gradation (this is VERY difficult to do well) with rhinestones and confetti of various sizes and colors. I really like this look- it’s a lot of fun without being too over-the-top. Nail Salon Blisst.

A beautiful handpainted set with pastel marbling and black highlighted detail. Someone has a very steady hand! Nail Design, Tokyo.

And for those wacky nails we all know and love, some art from Nail Salon Dear. These are photos from the 15,900 yen course, so these designs will set you back around $180 USD.  But hey, this is classic Japanese 3-D nail art!

My Melody Japanese nail art on long, pointy nails. This is the shape of choice for deco nails now, rather than the square or flats. My Melody is not quite as well-known as Hello Kitty, but still has its followers.

And…some Hello Kitty action! Not quite as dramatic as MM above, but certainly kawaii enough to cause a meltdown. The very fine silver chain is an interesting touch.

This photo is a little dark, but I’d say these have it all: bows, engagement rings, giant Swarovski crystals and crowns. Wow. I’d say this gal got her money’s worth, because that is a LOT of bling going on.

So if anyone’s looking for a classic over-the-top 3-D manicure, I’d advise you to head to Nail Dear Salon in Tokyo. I have never been there, but the pictures speak for themselves. Just be sure to bring plenty of cash and a lot of patience, since these can take several hours to complete.



About nevertoomuchglitter

Nail artist. Wanderer. I'm a color-holic, in fact, it was my love of color that brought me to the nail art world. Well, that, and the fact I was too cheap to pay crazy Japanese prices for nail polish while living in Tokyo, so I had to start mixing my own. That's how NTMG began.
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14 Responses to Japanese Nail Art Pic Spam

  1. joan barker says:

    Interesting stuff! Hope u get news((sprung) soon!

    • nevertoomuchglitter says:

      Looks like there might be a light at the end of the tunnel- visa allegedly went through, but we’ll have to wait the weekend and go to the Immigration on Monday and see what’s up.

      • Tanya says:

        Hi there, I’d love to get my nails done while visiting Tokyo next month – can you recommend somewhere I can get crazy nail art…maybe with English- speaking staff? Nail Design looks awesome but I can’t find it’s location. Help would be very much appreciated. Thanks so much!

      • nevertoomuchglitter says:

        Hi there! Hmm, it might be tricky to find an English speaking salon- they are few and far between and generally only have one or two staff that speak English. Your best bet is to bring a photo of what you’d like and go with that, just in case they can’t speak English well. Ask “ikura desu ka” (ee-koo-ra dess kah) to ask the price. Then have them write the price down (and be prepared for a shock!)
        One salon I’ve heard recommended is called Pinky, the owner can speak English.

        If you want some crazy 3-D nail art, try Shibuya, Ikebukuro or Harajuku. You can generally just walk right in and show them what you want, especially on a weekday morning.

        Unfortunately, I always do my own nails so I have no good first hand experience with local salons. Have a blast in Tokyo! 😀

      • Tanya says:

        Thanks so much for the information! I checked out the English Menu at Pinky Salon and you’re right about the prices! I don’t know when I’ll be in Japan again, though – gotta do it! I might search around on foot one morning, but if I can’t find anything now I know I can go to Pinky. Thanks again!

      • nevertoomuchglitter says:

        My pleasure- have a blast in Tokyo! If you can, bring a photo of what you like or look through their books and get the price confirmed before you start. Have them write it down on a piece of paper just to be sure. I’ve found it’s very rare for Japanese folks to try and actively cheat clients of any sort, but there is a lot of confusion over numbers since they use a different base system, so if they’re not good at English, it’s very easy for them to say “1800 yen” when they really mean “18,000 yen.” Most of all, have fun!

  2. Sonia says:

    Super inspired by the Japanese nail art spam post! How bad ass is the white gradient? So good… Come on 🙂

    • nevertoomuchglitter says:

      Yeah, that takes some talent- it’s one of those things that looks easy but is really difficult!

    • nevertoomuchglitter says:

      Glad you liked it- I miss being in Japan and able to see all this crazy stuff on a daily basis!

      • Sonia says:

        Living on Oahu I’m stoked to see the really new and funky manicures that the Japanese visitors have. It’s like art work. Actually it costs as much as art work….because they pay $200 per mani. lol

      • nevertoomuchglitter says:

        Ah, brings back memories! I went to UH-Manoa way back in the day- I’m so jealous, I’d love to live there again but dang, it’s pricey. Yes, the Japanese will usually spare no expense on accessories. Last time I was in town, there was a small Japanese nail salon in the Don Quixote (that used to be Daiei, behind Ala Moana) which has some crazy manicures on offer.

  3. Mika says:

    Cool post. I’m new here so if there is a place for this info I humbly ask your guidance *bow* but I am interested in doing my own 3d nail art, but have become attached to the gel polish I am using now (I do pretty decent regular manicures and french on myself, but I want to kick it up a notch or two). My question is 1) do I have to use acrylic to do 3d and attach the extras? and 2) if not, what type of supplies do I need? Thank you again and sorry if this is in the wrong place >.< (Also, I am going to be living in Japan in like 3 weeks, so if it is easier to talk in reference to there it is fine).

    • nevertoomuchglitter says:

      Hi there! Thanks for stopping by. 😀
      3-D is going to require acrylics, which need monomer liquid and acrylic powder in the colors you want. Be prepared- the smell is awful! You’ll also need a brush dedicated only to acrylic.
      You can do 3D acrylic over regular nail polish, gel, or on an acrylic base. For me, it seems it lasts best on an acrylic base since it can bond to itself better. You’ll have to sculpt the acrylic directly on the nail since it dries very quickly. It does take a lot of practice to get good so don’t get discouraged! Have fun. 🙂

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