This study examines the Kurokawa Hot Spring Cooperative in Japan because it is a consortium of small businesses that built a cooperative system to jointly improve the environment and market themselves at home and abroad. The case analysis was based on bibliographic data (including existing research papers, the Cooperative's website and Facebook page, three publicity and information materials acquired during the survey in Japan, five reports provided by the Cooperative secretariat), and interviews with appropriate parties. The interviews primarily addressed the success factors and characteristics of the Cooperative. According to the analysis, the leading success factors were 1) establishment of a cooperation system based on leadership; 2) the ability to identify the needs of customers and to lead the trend based on experience earned in large cities; 3) visible cooperative projects such as landscaping; 4) unique features such as outdoor hot springs and tickets that can be used to enjoy any of the outdoor hot springs in the local area; and 5) projects to improve traffic accessibility and to foster international tourist attractions. In conclusion, this study gives its counterparts in Korea three suggestions. First, efforts need to be made to jointly develop products and services and to stage marketing campaigns for the benefit of all collectively. Second, further academic and policy research should be conducted to come up with concrete measures for ‘competition’ and ‘joint development’ as addressed by the interviewees. Last but not least, customized policy support is necessary to empower participants in cooperatives and to facilitate the operation of cooperatives.