The Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) has an office in Tokyo. The JNTO-affiliated International Tourism Center of Japan also has more than 140 counters/offices nationwide. Look for the sign showing a red question mark and the word "information" at train stations and city centers.
Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) Contacts
Japan National Tourism Organization/Tokyo (2–10–1 Yurakucho, 1–chome, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Kanagawa-ken, 100-0006. 03/3502–1461.)
Japan National Tourism Organization/New York (11 W. 42nd St., Suite 1250, New York, NY, 10036. 212/757–5640. www.jnto.go.jp. 340 E. Second St., Little Tokyo Plaza, Suite 302, Los Angeles, CA, 90012. 213/623–1952.).
Tourist Information Centers (TIC)
Tourist Information Center Marunouchi (1st Fl, Shin-Tokyo Bldg., 3–3–1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Kanagawa-ken, 100-0005. 03/3201–3331. www.jnto.go.jp. Arrival Floor, Passenger Terminal 1 Bldg., Narita, 282-0011. 0476/30–3383.Kansai International Airport, Ōsaka, 282-0004. 0724/56–6025.).
Online Travel Tools
Online cultural resources and travel-planning tools abound for travelers to Japan. Aside from the expected information about regions, hotels, and festivals, Web Japan has offbeat info such as the location of bargain-filled ¥100 shops in Tokyo and buildings designed by famous architects. Another good source for all-Japan information and regional sights and events is Japan-guide.com.
Urban Rail maintains a useful subway navigator, which includes the subway systems in Tokyo and the surrounding areas. The Metropolitan Government website is an excellent source of information on sightseeing and current events in Tokyo.
Check out the websites of Japan's three major English-language daily newspapers: the Asahi Shimbun, The Japan News, and the Japan Times. Entertainment information is available on the sites of Metropolis and Time Out Tokyo; both have up-to-date arts, events, and dining listings. In the Kansai region, Kansai Scene is definitely worth a look.
Avoid being lost in translation with the help of Japanese-Online, a series of online language lessons that will help you pick up a bit of Japanese before your trip. (The site also, inexplicably, includes a sampling of typical Japanese junior-high-school math problems.) Order Japan's tastiest dishes with confidence by checking translations on the Tokyo Food Page.
The website the Japanese Garden has photographic tours of more than 20 famous gardens and explanations about their history and design elements. Keep an eye on Mt. Fuji with the 24-hour live camera at Mt. Fuji Live. The Japan Sumo Association's website sets you straight with everything from the moves, the rankings, and even translated interviews with the wrestlers; tournament ticket information (but not booking) is also available. The Kabuki-za Theater in Tokyo has history, stories, and sounds of the ancient art form (with good information about costumes and makeup) at its website. Japan has a good share of places designated by UNESCO. Check them out at Web Japan, a site sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which includes some quirky information on new Japanese trends.
All About Japan
Web Japan (web-jpn.org.)
English-Language Media Sources
AJW by The Asahi Shimbun (www.ajw.asahi.com.)
The Japan News (www.the-japan-news.com.)
Japan Times (www.japantimes.co.jp.)
Time Out Tokyo. www.timeout.jp.
Tokyo Food Page (www.bento.com.)
Hitachi's "Hyperdia-timetable" (www.hyperdia.com.)
Jorudan's "Japanese Transport Guide" (www.jorudan.co.jp/english.)
Metropolitan Government (www.metro.tokyo.jp.)
Urban Rail (www.urbanrail.net.)