Traditional Tattoo Festival

Hawaii’s first Traditional Tattoo Festival will be held right here in beautiful Kohala Oct. 25-Oct. 28, 2019. This four-day event features demonstrations by master Indigenous tattoo artists from Pacific and Arctic cultures, a ticketed opening evening of celebration, a free all-day cultural fair with traditional arts demonstrations, music, food alongside an admission-free tattoo documentaries film festival and a ticketed symposium designed for traditional tattoo enthusiasts and practitioners alike.

Oct 25, 2019, 6:00 PM – Oct 28, 2019, 12:00 PM

Friday night's ticketed Grand Opening event will be held at The Blue Dragon Tavern with live music, food, dj's, dance, libations and a meet and greet with the artists.


Saturday is a free all ages Arts And Culture fair held at Kohala Village Inn and Hub featuring live music, tattoo demonstrations, workshops, food trucks and a film festival.

The pinnacle event is a symposium beginning 6 pm, Saturday, Oct. 26, and concluding at 1 pm, Mon., Oct. 28. The GRACE Center at Kohala Institute, Kapa`au, will host.  

The platform for this symposium is unique:  In the days leading up to this event, each guest artist will lead a pre-selected traditional tattoo enthusiast and volunteer through the sacred journey of traditional tattoo–from envisioning and purpose to the making of the patterns and marks on the body.

During the symposium, each visiting presenter will then share their insights of traditional tattoo within their culture. The artist and his/her volunteer model will also share the experience of their vision and journey of choosing and creating the individual’s marks and patterns.
Sacred rituals and Saturday and Sunday evening fireside gatherings with `awa are additionally scheduled.

The symposium continues Monday morning with an opportunity to gather on the lands of the ahupua`a where the symposium takes place. Participants will experience the mana of the lands of King Kamahemaha as well as the powerful cultural traditions unique to Kohala, the district of his birth. 

We are thrilled to be offering a
Full Symposium pass which includes:

• Entry passes for the Symposium Saturday through Monday

• Meals
• Tote bag

• Temporary Tattoo

• Event booklet

• 10% off Grace Center or HUB accommodations during the weekend

*** Tickets for the FULL Symposium pass are $250 ***

October 25, 2019 - 6:00pm

Grand Opening Celebration

at Blue Dragon Tavern

61-3616 Kawaihae Rd, Waimea, HI 96743

October 26, 2019 - 9:00am

Free Arts And Culture Fair

at Kohala Village Inn & Hub

55-514 Hawi Rd, Hawi, HI 96719

October 26-28, 2019


at the Grace Center, Kohala Institute

53-580 Iole Rd, Kapaau, HI 96755


Support provided by Hawai‘i Tourism Authority through the Community Enrichment Program and a grant from the Hawai'i Council for Humanities.


The Traditional Tattoo Festival is hosted by the following businesses and non-profits:

Kohala Institute, Blue Dragon Tavern & Cosmic Musiquarium, and Kohala Village HUB.


The Kohala Institute

53–580 ‘Iole Road
KAapa’au, HI 96755


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Directions from Kona Airport:


61-3616 Kawaihae Rd, Waimea, HI 96743

• From airport turn left on HI 19 (26.1 mi)

• Turn left on HI 270 (1.4 mi)

• Destination will be on your right


55-514 Hawi Rd, Hawi, HI 96719

• From airport turn left on HI 19 (26.1 mi)

• Turn left on HI 270 and in 1.5 mi turn right to stay on HI 270 (17.7 mi)

• Turn right on Hawi Road and your destination will be on your right.

53-580 Iole Rd, Kapaau, HI 96755

• From airport turn left on HI 19 (26.1 mi)

• Turn left on HI 270 and in 1.5 mi turn right to stay on HI 270 (20.6 mi)

• Turn right onto 'Iole Rd and about .7 mi you will arrive at your destination

© 2019 Traditional Tattoo Festival and Kohala Institute