Explore Onsen & Hot Springs in Japan


Explore Onsen & Hot Springs in Japan


Curate the best hot spring experiences in Japan for English-speaking travelers and locals. Allow people from diverse cultures to find tattoo-friendly facilities.


We’ve designed, built, and launched a nascent app that helps you explore the onsen scene in Japan.

What we did

  • Product Strategy
  • Creative Direction
  • Content Creation
  • User Experience Design
  • User Interface Design
  • App Development

Now available on the App Store.

A need to soak

Expats in Japan face a conundrum. Many have a small tattoo, a harmless thing.

But Japanese locals fear them because they’re associated with the yakuza. A tattoo-bearer is denied entry from many a public hot spring.

Kathryn Yokoyama wanted to remedy that. She has tattoos, but loves Japanese hot springs. She decided to take matters into her own hands, and came up with the idea of Ofuro and its logo.

Conclusion: let's help fellow English-speakers find some hot springs.

“There are so many websites in Japanese! But if you can’t speak the language, you’ll miss a lot of these local treasures.”

Bath facility listings on Ofuro

Diving deeper

While locals can access all information in Japanese, for those with only English and a cursory knowledge of onsen, we can start with a few basics.

Am I allowed in? What kind of facility is it? How much does it cost? And do I need to bring a towel?

Category UI for Ofuro

Even in the niche of hot springs, there are sub-niches. The local bathhouse sento and the popular traditional inns called ryokan could be appealing to tourists. And how about just some nice views?

Making a splash

In a month’s time, we had something up and running on the App Store.

In the spirit of launching a new product, we set up all the marketing avenues: ProductHunt, social media, The Best Japan, newsletters, and more.

Images for ProductHunt

Relaxing should be fun

We have a version 1 down, but we’ve only scratched the surface. Next up: gamification. Onsen aficionados have been to plenty of these onsen, and are searching for new relaxing experiences. Why not turn it into a fun game? Gotta dip in ‘em all.

Granted, we’re not thinking of putting any leaderboards in this one. That would stress us out.

Gamification with a level up
Ofuro website on a Mac

Ready, set, relax...

Curious about the bath scene in Japan? Check it out.

Download on the App Store