Full Body Japanese tattoo takes 250 ~300 hours total, and the artist will charge anywhere from 10,000 ~ 25,000Yen per hour. Some artists are afraid to be associated with Yakuza, so most artists do the work by appointment.
As for the meaning, most people probably interpret them however they feel. Dragons and tigers always look tough. I know Carp Fish swimming upward against the current means "Good Fortune". These are originated in Chinese "Fen Shui" philosophy.
I once met a track driver with Kan-non Buddha tattoo, and he told me that the face of the Buddha was drawn after his deceased daughter.
Tattoo used to be very Japanese thing with the 5000+ years of history. The Samurai era Tokyo judge, Toyama no Kin-san, was wearing Sakura Blizzard tattoo (it is likely a fictional :). For I know, King George V of the United Kingdom was wearing Red/Blue dragon tattoo done in Japan during the trip in 1881.
However, Yakuza overused it last 60 years or so, and itfs becoming taboo in Japanese society. As you can read comment above, most Japanese despise them, and appreciation as an art is not there at all. You cannot go Onsen or public swimming pools if you have them, and it seems like you cannot be public workers anymorec.