Enbound’s Onsen Musume project turns famous Japanese onsen sites into anthropomorphic onsen girls. And now, it seems that they’re even getting government support!

In a press release, the project, which seeks to revitilise several onsen towns across Japan, has announced that they are getting official support from the Japan Tourism Agency. The press release states:

” Onsen Musume Project, a cross-media project that launched in earnest in March 2017, has gained the official support of the Japan Tourism Agency. Onsen Musume is represented by a native of Fukushima Prefecture, who planned the project in the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake. The project’s aim is regional revitalization. It was started up in order to revitalize not only the Tohoku region, which has experienced a decline in tourist numbers, but also spas and regional cities all over Japan.
With the increase in visits to local cities by fans who are visit pilgrimage sites—places that have appeared in anime (anime tourism)—and due to smartphone-based games that operate using location information, the project aims to use the power of entertainment content to make regional Japan bright and lively, to liven up the entirety of the country, rather than just focusing on specific areas. The Onsen Musume Project has been operating for about two years so far.
Two things are needed for the revitalization of regional Japan: first and foremost is recognition; the second is having people actually visit regional areas. Onsen Musume has thus partnered with a range of municipalities, organizations, and corporations, and over the past two years has held events in over 20 regional areas and in 13 prefectures other than Tokyo, working toward the expansion of “recognition and visits.” This year, events have already been decided for Atami Onsen (Shizuoka Prefecture) and Iizaka Onsen (Fukushima Prefecture).

To continue to promote ‘recognition and visits’ in regional cities and sightseeing areas, the project is working in cooperation with the Japan Tourism Agency, regional municipalities, and different spas to expand its activities in order to spread the word to a wide variety of generations and people around the world about onsens (hot spring spas), a world-class part of Japanese culture.”

The project aims to promote Japanese hot spring resorts through these moe school girls. Made in conjunction with Tokyo Otaku Mode and Dai-ichi Kangyo Credit Cooperative, Onsen Musume is actually a multimedia project. Of course, this includes a crowdfunding project via Makuake with the goal of reaching 5 million yen. Those who donate to this crowdfunding project will be given several goodies which range from CDs to concert tickets.

As for the Onsen Musume themselves, they include some of Japan’s most well-known hot spring resorts. Hakone Onsen is known as Saya Hakone, while Gunma’s Kusatsu onsen goes by the name Kusatsu onsen. Meanwhile, Hokkaido’s most famous onsen goes by the name Ayase Noboribetsu. The Onsen Musume also include several other famous Japanese onsen, like Nanako Akiu, Kanade Baden Yufuin, Izumi Dougo, and Mitsuki Gero. They also include the Arima sisters, Fuuko and Rinka, who represent Arima’s gold and silver hot springs. Together, the girls form an idol group called Springs, and their aim is to promote the many onsen of Japan. The hot spring god Sukunahiko apparently brought these onsen to life as anthropomorphic girls to form the idol group.

The project aims to expand to include other onsen as well. They also aim to get an anime and games for the series. As of writing, the project currently has 117 girls, with more coming. The series even gained a few animated music videos as well:

source: Press Release